Jefferson Republicans elect transgender municipal chairwoman

Jade Kohut unanimously re-elected after revealing gender identity

Jefferson Township Republican Municipal Chairwoman Jade Kohut.

Republicans in a Morris County conservative stronghold elected a 27-year-old transgender woman to chair their Municipal Committee on Monday.

Republicans in Jefferson, a town that Donald Trump won by 25 points in 2016 and that Jay Webber won by roughly nine points in 2018, have voted to award Jade Kohut another term as municipal chair.

Kohut had served as the local party’s chairperson for two years before revealing to Jefferson Republicans that she was undergoing sex reassignment therapy. She was re-elected unanimously Monday night.

“You’re never quite sure how people will react, but the Jefferson Republicans told me frankly that if I continued to do a good job, they would continue to vote for me,” Kohut said. “I don’t think it changes anything. The Morris GOP has always embraced diversity and different perspectives.”

It’s possible the move could upset some of Jefferson’s more conservative Republicans, but at least two GOP state lawmakers approved of the local party’s decision.

“If it was supported by the party, then I support their actions. I don’t have a problem,” Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R- Parsippany-Troy Hills) said. “If they put her there, then that’s fine with me. Their choice, and I’m going to support whatever they decide to do.”

State Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R-Montville), an honorary co-chair of President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, said much the same.

“I know Jade,” he said. “She’s going to be a great municipal chair.”

This article was updated with comment from Pennacchio at 1:44 p.m.

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