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By AJ Trager
SOUTHFIELD – Jeremy Mosswon a seat to serve in the Michigan State House for the 35th District Nov. 4, a district that includes Southfield. He joins Jon Hoadley of Kalamazoo as one of two openly gay candidates elected into state office.
Moss has served Michigan for nearly a decade, when he started as a state intern, which turned into a staff position, for the representative for Southfield. Starting in January, Moss will be relieved as a Southfield City Councilman and join the ranks of the Michigan Legislature.
“This has been an incredibly long journey from when I first walked into this office, room 799 of the House office building in August of 2005,” Moss said. “It is remarkable that I sat in every desk in that office except for one. And it’s incredible that I will sit there in January. I have built my professional career in that office in many capacities.”
There is a lot of work ahead. The Republican party dominates control in the Michigan government as Moss joins the 45-member House minority.
“As a City Councilman in Southfield, issues that Democrats and Republicans have with the state are one in the same. There is a lack of money that has come down from Lansing; it is our tax payer dollars that we pay to Lansing that are supposed to come to the community that have been cut. Which is money for roads, firefighters and police,” Moss firmly stated.
One of his main priorities once he sits down in January is to work in a bipartisan model to get a predictable stream of money to come to Michigan communities. There is no doubt that he would like to see Lansing pass an amendment to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights act, but Moss plans to wait and see what can happen in the lame duck session before he decides his next step.
“There are people in Michigan who I think are not embracing of the LGBT community because they claim they don’t know anybody who is gay. No state legislator can say they don’t know anybody who is gay. I think Jon (Hoadley) and I will put a face to the gay community in everything we do,” Moss said. Moss doesn’t want to be known for his sexuality before his achievements, which reach far beyond the LGBT community. But there are plenty of people who still judge him based on his sexuality, beyond anything he has been involved in politically.
One of those people is Gary Glenn, candidate elect for the 98th District in the State House. Glenn is known for his work as the former president of the Michigan chapter of the American Family Association and his militant negative view of the LGBT community. Moss may have to work together with Glen on Michigan legislation when in Lansing. Moss says the two of them have never met and wonders how a legislator compromises with another when there is a big difference in acceptance of others.
“I can disagree with anybody on any policy issue and still find room for compromise and commonalities,” Moss said. “At what point will we compromise because he won’t interact with us? I’m not sure, and we will soon find out. I am hopeful that he is one of those people that just needs to realize that Jon and I are just like everybody else.”
Moss is hopeful that Glenn can turn around and realize that decades of hatred can be relinquished and acceptance can fill that space instead.
“Gay people can function and do function in everyday society and are an important piece in the American dialogue. Maybe he’ll open his eyes. I assume he didn’t become anti-LGBT over night.”
With two months left as a city councilman, Moss will be focusing on road funding and getting the roads fixed. He will work right up to the end of his elected term, adding to the conversation about electing Southfield’s new Mayor and figuring out how to smooth the transition to the new city council session in 2015.
Moss adds, “I think the ignorant will realize that Jon and I are like everybody else. I think that will be the most important thing we will bring to the legislature.”