Past and present affiliations, in part: Royal Oak Zoning Board of Appeals, lawyer, Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce, Steppin’ Out AIDS Walk
What made you decide to run?
Being a lawyer and a fan of our constitution and our founders, you really have to have a deep appreciation for civic involvement and volunteerism. I’ve always had – in my life since high school, and during my citizenship through Royal Oak – some sort of volunteer commitment for the betterment of the community. This is just one more area where I can be helpful to the city as a volunteer.
What issues are most important to you?
As a small business owner for 15 years in our downtown, I know first hand the issues facing small business. Jobs are the top issue facing Royal Oak, and I know that small business is the engine from which most jobs are created. I think that I have a unique perspective on what we need to do to create jobs in Royal Oak.
Customer service in City Hall is also a crucial issue in Royal Oak. We do not have a reputation as having the best customer service in our City Hall, and that really has to change. There’s no reason that customers coming to City Hall can’t be thrilled with the service thtat they get. And again, as a long-term business owner, I know first hand what it takes to provide excellent customer service to folks.
Why should LGBT people vote for you?
As a strong supporter of the LGBT community – and as a member of the LGBT community – I think that there are issues which affect us in a disproportionate way, in which I am extremely familiar. My firm has specialized for it’s entire existance in some of the specialty issues we have. I’m extremely familiar with those issues. And as a parent with my partner to two fine teenagers, i think I understand the struggle that families have – not just GLBT families, but all families – in balancing the things that you have to do when you’re raising kids and being a volunteer and keeping your house nice and all that. There’s a lot to do.
What do you love about your city?
What’s not to love? I selected Royal Oak in 1994 as the place to buy my first home and to found and locate my business, and I did that because Royal Oak completely rocks. It’s an amazing community. We have a a diverse and cosmopolitan downtown. It’s really a great place to live, work, dine and play.
The other thing I would say is that while our downtown is an amazing, walkable downtown, our neighborhoods are incredible. The sense of community that folks have living here is unparalelled. Our community is extremely safe, our neighborhoods are nice and tight-knit – you know your neighbors, they look out for you and it’s a wonderful experience.
What are your thoughts on the idea that there should be no such thing as a non-political LGBT person?
I don’t think any citizen should not be political. Our political process works best when our citizens get involved in it. Royal Oak runs on volunteers. All of our city boards are volunteer boards. The more people that are involved in our politics, our soccer leagues, our sandlot – we have incredible community involvement.
On the other hand, not everybody can be politically involved. By the time you have a couple of dogs and kids and a house and a couple of jobs, it’s really hard to also make all the meetings. But what I think GLBT citizens need to do is not be fearful of stepping out of the closet and letting their neighbors and coworkers and family members know who they are because in my experience, they’re extremely accepting of who you are. I think the only way to gain full equality in the U.S. is to make sure everybody knows who we are and who we love and what we’re up to, because it takes all the fear out of it.
For more information, visit http://www.rasorforchange.com.