Amanda Simpson, the first known openly transgender presidential appointee in the United States, started work today at the US Department of Commerce. She is a senior technical advisor in the Bureau of Industry and Security. Prior to her appointment, Simpson was employed as the Deputy Director in Advanced Technology Development at Raytheon Missile Systems in Arizona. She is a certified flight instructor and test pilot and has degrees in physics, engineering, and business administration. Simpson told ABC, “I’d rather not be the first but someone has to be first, or among the first. I think I’m experienced and very well qualified to deal with anything that might show up because I’ve broken barriers at lots of other places and I always win people over with who I am and what I can do.” In a statement, Simpson also said, “as one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government, I hope that I will soon be one of hundreds and that this appointment opens future opportunities for many others,” reported Politico. Simpson was also the first openly transgender candidate to win a primary election in her 2004 bid for a seat in the Arizona state legislature. She later lost the general election, according to the New York Daily News.