The female cyclist who flipped off President Trump’s motorcade last year will run for a local office in Northern Virginia in a bid to capitalize on the newfound fame.
Juli Briskman, 51, will seek to unseat Suzanne M. Volpe, a Republican who represents the Algonkian District on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, in the 2019 election.
The board has been consistently controlled by Republicans, despite that the county voting for Democrats in state or federal elections, the Washington Post reported. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won the county by 17 points in the 2016 election.
The woman captured headlines after she flipped off the president’s motorcade as an act of resistance to the administration.
Her stunt, however, came at a cost. After the picture of her quickly spread on social media, she told her bosses at Virginia-based Akima LLC that it was her in the viral photograph. The government-contracting firm immediately fired her and escorted her out for violating the “code of conduct policy.”
“We have a right to peacefully protest and criticize and express dissent toward our government,” Briskman told the Post regarding the controversy
“I’ve gotten some feedback that folks say you should respect the president. Even if you don’t like what they’re doing, you shouldn’t show this sort of disdain. And I simply disagree, and I think the Constitution grants me that privilege,” she added.
"I’ve gotten some feedback that folks say you should respect the president. Even if you don’t like what they’re doing, you shouldn’t show this sort of disdain. And I simply disagree, and I think the Constitution grants me that privilege."
Following her termination from the job, an individual on behalf of Briskman launched a GoFundMe campaign for her, which attracted nearly $140,000 in donations. In April, she announced that she would sue the company that fired her for violating her First Amendment rights.
Her case was later dismissed, which prompted her to launch her political career. “I made this decision, in part, because I feel I can more successfully effect change by serving in local government than by fighting an uphill battle in unfriendly courts,” she wrote in a post on her crowdfunding page.
“I decided not to appeal the dismissal of the wrongful termination count of my lawsuit even though I still believe firing me was a clear violation of my First Amendment Rights under the Virginia Public Policy,” she continued. “And have agreed to accept payment for my severance from Akima, LLC so that the suit could be settled.”
While Briskman may try to capitalize on her known opposition to the president, Loudoun County Board members are hoping the election will be about local issues.
"Right now, I’m focused on doing the job that my constituents elected me to do: improving our transportation, making our community safer, creating jobs, being fiscally responsible,” Volpe, Briskman’s opponent, told the Post. “Needless to say, I’ll focus on the race at the appropriate time.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.