by Sean Kosofsky
All Politics is Loco
It seems like every year is an election year. Well, it is. Triangle Pride PAC, like other political action committees, takes a great deal of time surveying the political landscape in Michigan and deciding where to focus our energy. In odd-numbered years we focus on municipal races, not only because city policy affects LGBT people, but also because locally elected officials usually later become state legislators or members of Congress.
2007 has already seen a spike in LGBT people running for office, including several openly gay mayoral candidates. In Flint, Dale Weighill ran for Mayor, but did not advance to the general election. Ferndale Mayor Pro Tem Craig Covey is running for Mayor and so is veteran activist Tom Zerafa in Oak Park.
LGBT people should run for office. Recently Triangle Foundation partnered with the Victory Fund and the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute to screen “OUT Running” at the Reel Pride Michigan Film Festival. The short film focused on the stories of three successful campaigns across the country. We also offered a talk-back with openly LGBT elected officials so they could demystify the process of running for office. Our community votes in very high numbers, but are we voting for the right people? That is why Pride PAC works to educate our community about elections.
Pride PAC determines its endorsements based on our questionnaires, viability and the past record or reputation of the candidate. For more information about Pride PAC visit us at www.TrianglePridePAC.org.
Our 2007 Municipal slate is as follows:
Ferndale Mayoral Race – Craig Covey received our strong endorsement. Craig is being challenged by Thomas Gagne who helped lead the opposition to the human rights ordinance that voters approved in 2006.Gagne did not return our questionnaire. Ferndale City Council (vote for two) – Robert Porter and Michael Lennon both received a strong endorsement. All three candidates in Ferndale have been previously elected to city offices. Challenger Kate Baker had a good responses to our questionnaire but could not secure our endorsement. Learn more at http://www.CoveyForFerndale.com
Oak Park Mayoral Race – Tom Zerafa received a strong endorsement. Tom has been a veteran activist in the LGBT community and has been working very hard in Oak Park, knocking on the door of nearly every likely voter. As an openly LGBT candidate, Zerafa (like Covey) has been endorsed by the Victory Fund, America’s largest LGBT PAC. Incumbent Mayor Gerald Naftaly did not return our questionnaire. Zerafa has pledged to work for a comprehensive human rights ordinance in Oak Park, which Mayor Naftaly has not moved on, despite unanimous support from the local Ethnic Advisory Commission. http://www.TomForAChange.org
Flint Mayoral Race – Dayne Walling has secured a strong endorsement and is a rising star in progressive circles. The embattled city of Flint desperately needs leadership and vision and a welcoming leader. We think Walling will be that leader. www.VoteWalling.com
Warren City Council – Toni Moceri received a strong endorsement. There is a large GLBT community in Warren but city leaders have had a history of pandering to right wing fear. We think Toni Moceri is a good antidote to that culture of divisiveness. http://www.myspace.com/committee2electtonimoceri
East Lansing City Council – Nathan Triplett has received a strong endorsement. Triplett, though young and a straight ally, has been more visible on GLBT rights than most members of our community. He has been on the front lines of ballot measures, legislative battles and board leadership roles in our community. This young man is on a trajectory toward civic leadership and our entire community should support him. www.TriplettForEastLansing.org
Royal Oak City Council – Mitzi Hoffman and Arthur J. Makarewicz each received a strong endorsement.
Don’t forget to vote on November 6th and if able, take the day off and help some of these candidates get elected.