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By Mark LaChey
First, what I don’t know: I can’t tell you that Kevin Howley is going to win in two weeks. But here’s what I can tell you and what I’ve been saying about this contest since early this year. Kevin has the resume and the message to be a great county executive and if he can get his name and message out to the voters, he can win. This has only gotten more true as the months have passed.
I am able also to tell you that he and his staff are campaigning like crazy (ask Kevin how many belt notches he’s gone down, for example, or how many cold slices of pizza Sarah, his awesome campaign manager, has eaten over the past months) and that from almost the beginning, they have had a smart and frugal campaign strategy that can result in a win on election night. The core of their strategy is simply that if just the folks who’ll already be voting for the President and Debbie Stabenow and either Congressman Levin or Peters then go on to vote for Kevin…he’ll be the next Oakland County Executive.
I can also tell you that Kevin has been a pillar of our LGBT community…ask the boards at Ruth Ellis and Affirmations. Then ask anyone with the local Democratic Party about Kevin and his efforts. As an officer of the Oakland County Democratic Party, I can certainly tell you that the local Democrats have embraced Kevin and his candidacy from the start. And not as a placeholder, but as a truly viable candidate and alternative to Brooks Patterson…who’s no friend of our Community and no longer in touch with the needs and issues facing Oakland County. Plus Kevin had no challenger in the August primary…not because no one was as foolhardy but rather because of the respect for him and his candidacy from fellow Democrats. Brooks Patterson can’t make the same claim, by the way.
It is probably also safe to say that Kevin had no idea when he was contemplating a run last December how all-encompassing, exhausting and grueling this campaign would be (or how large Oakland County actually is). You have to actually be intimately involved in such a race to know those things. But he’s never backed down or slacked off…whether it’s been fundraising (literally) nationwide or manning the phones, showing up at a blur of gatherings and parades or knocking on doors day after day…rain, sun, heat, cold.
Finally, I can also say that Kevin has been endorsed and supported from top to bottom in our community (where it counts the most)…from the Victory Fund nationally (who even sent in one of its staffers from DC last week) to Michigan’s Pride PAC and Between The Lines. As a member of the Victory Fund Campaign Board, I personally can attest that Kevin’s chances and campaign were scrutinized by people far more politically savvy than myself before he received their top designation as a Focus race.
Moreover, Kevin entered this race with the skill set to be a county executive and over these months has learned the issues that need addressing for all Oakland County residents. I have to admit that if you heard Kevin’s “stump” speech last Spring and then again more recently, as I did at an fundraiser for him in Kalamazoo, you would be impressed with his growth in terms of not only the problems facing Oakland County but presenting concrete ideas to begin solving them. Kevin would make an awesome Oakland County Executive…I have no reservation in saying that. Honestly, the fact that he would be the highest openly gay elected official in our state would just be part of the package.
So…if you’ve given to Kevin’s race so far, I sincerely thank you. Now please consider giving a few more dollars. If you’ve not yet (or have never given to any candidate other than perhaps Obama), now is your opportunity to make a real and realistic difference. None of this is “rocket science” but $25 or $100 to the President’s campaign versus Kevin’s is significantly different in its potential impact. When I last spoke to his campaign, they were attempting to raise enough dollars to get an ad for Kevin on targeted cable TV to show the voters of Oakland County that “yes Virginia” there IS a realistic alternative to Brooks Patterson. Please help them to do this. Go either to http://www.HowleyforExecutive.com or http://www.victoryfund.org and hit the “contribute” button.
If not us, who…if not now, when?
For a complete list of all endorsed candidates see the 2012 Progressive Voters Guide in this issue or go to http://www.MiVoterGuide.com.