BOSCOBEL - Jennifer Ney, a native of Dubuque with ties to Boscobel, is running for president, claiming she is the first trans woman to do so.
In a exclusive interview with the Dial, she said she was inspired to action by the growing outspokenness of republican governors pursuing an anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ agenda.
“Mark my words,” explained Ney, 55, “with all these Red-State governors going after transgender people, it feels like ‘The Hunt for Red October.’ I want to be the answer.”
A traumatic past
Ney said her father worked at the Boscobel A&W for many years, and she still has family in the area. She entered the foster system, however, in Dubuque, after a traumatic brain injury that Ney said was caused by her mother.
But instead of a haven, Ney said she found more rejection and abuse at the hands of just about everyone she encountered—her birth family, her foster family, and at school.
She was seven years old, she remembered, when she was placed with a foster family with a girl about her age. “That was the first time I wore a dress, and I knew right then, uh oh, we got a problem,” said Ney.
As she grew older, Ney said she had to stash her women’s clothes in a secret hiding place at the public post office, or risk them being thrown away by hostile family members.
Ney credits Jim Fisher, a legendary local talk-radio host out of Davenport, with helping her to put her life on track: “I said to Jim Fisher, ‘Where would I feel the safest as a transgender woman?” He said, California first, and second, Minnesota.’ So I elected to move to Minnesota with my father, and I chose my favorite city of all times: Austin, Minnesota, Spam Town USA.”
In Austin, she found a more accepting culture, including a judge who assisted her with her name change, and in nearby Rochester, the doctors who helped with her gender reassignment work.
It was also in Austin that Ney made her first run at public office. She thought a local politician had done wrong by Ney’s veteran father, so she threw her hat in the ring for the senator’s seat in 2002, becoming the first transgender woman to run for senate in that state. She lost in the primary.
Around the same time, according to press reports and city council minutes for Austin, Ney was questioned by the U.S. Secret Service after she was identified as having shouted at then-presidential candidate George W. Bush.
Ten years later, she nearly threw her hat in the ring for the presidency. “I chickened out,” she said. But she committed to the 2024 election under her newly minted “Pink Party.”
What does a Jennifer Ney president stand for?
Controlling drugs: “People bringing fentanyl, drug dealers, into this country. They kill people in America? I want to give them the death penalty.”
Border defense: “Shut down the borders both north and south, and make people go through the standard criteria to come into America.”
Ukraine: “Biden is fostering this never-ending war. We’re giving these armaments to these strange countries like Afghanistan. Why can’t we be rational about these things? All we’re doing is just destroying our financial well-being.”
Energy: “My administration will make sure that we pump oil like there’s no tomorrow. Oil in America for Americans. Biden’s green stuff, that’s just talking trash.”
Gun control: “I’m going to make sure that all firearms that are in America have a serial number inside the casing of the bullet that is to be assigned to the individual that purchased ammunition, so that we can narrow perpetrators.”
School shootings: “I want to take our schools to a militarized zone to protect the safety and welfare of our children from these deranged school shootings. That should have been done a long time ago.”
Minimum wage: “Nothing less than $20 an hour, flat off the ball.”
Civil rights for LGBTQ: “The GOP is trying to demonize transgender people. We didn’t do anything wrong to anyone. I would strengthen civil rights for LGBTQ because we need to be protected from exploitation. Go to martial law if that’s necessary to protect us from exploitation. Remove state and local control and take it to the federal.”
Ney has no illusions about her chances, but she’s not a protest candidate, she said. She takes inspiration from Ralph Nader and Ross Perot, two outsider candidates who, in recent decades, have challenged the status quo in Washington. She said she’ll likely rely on write-in votes rather than trying to get on the ballot.
She’s also aware of the risks in throwing herself into the middle of the culture wars over trans people. Still, the effort is worth the risk.“I’ve been treated like garbage all my life because of people like these Red-State governors. Trans people have the highest suicide rates in the nation. They’re trying to push us to extinction. I’m not going to allow myself to be extinct,” she said. “A president has to lead by example. Even if it hurts.”