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Analysis: Election 2016 Could Deliver 5 Openly Gay State Reps to Lansing

By |2016-06-30T09:00:00-04:00June 30th, 2016|Michigan, News|

By Mark W. LaChey
With the Aug. 2 primary coming up campaigns need your dollars for mailers, yard signs and their GOTV efforts. Now is when they need your time for making calls, knocking on doors and your commitment to help on primary day.

Boom! Michigan’s LGBT community has five openly gay Democratic candidates running for the state house this year. No worries if you didn’t know before – most folks don’t (including those who consider themselves political insiders). But this column is designed to change that…and to help get all of them elected.
To first recap 2014, there were, at one time or another, six openly gay men and women vying for legislative seats. For a variety of reasons, we were only successful in electing two – Jeremy Moss and Jon Hoadley. The stellar service of both to their districts, as well as their fellow LGBT Michiganders, during these past two years clearly demonstrates the importance of having them there and the importance of adding openly LGBT legislators to their ranks.
So now in 2016, we have five LGBT Michiganders running in house districts across our state. They are:

State Rep. Jeremy Moss (35th – City of Southfield, Southfield Township and City of Lathrup Village)







State Rep. Jon Hoadley (60th – Kalamazoo, parts of Kalamazoo Township and City of Portage)






Jeff Chicoine (14th – Cities of Lincoln Park, Melvindale, Riverview and Wyandotte)






Brian Stone (15th – City of Dearborn)






Tim Sneller (50th – Cities of Burton and Grand Blanc; Townships of Grand Blanc and Mundy)






Given that Representatives Hoadley and Moss are facing no real opposition in their re-election campaigns, I will focus on the newcomers, Brian Stone, Tim Sneller and Jeff Chicoine. They are running on good progressive agendas and each would make a great state representative for their district. Equally important, all are running smart, viable campaigns (that’s political shorthand for having a realistic path to victory) and are working hard in both fundraising and getting their messages to the voters in their respective districts.
But why does any of this matter when summer has just begun, and the election isn’t until Nov. 8? Because in actuality, it is likely that all five contests will be decided by their primaries Aug. 2.
That’s just over a month from now, folks. Each of these five candidates are running in districts generally considered to be safely in the Democratic column, so in reality, the winners on Aug. 2 will be the next state representatives from those districts. The one possible exception is Tim Sneller’s race in Genesee County, but given that area’s historical voting record and the prospect for a large Democratic turnout this November, I am cautiously optimistic that Tim will be able to hold this seat for the Democrats once he gets past the primary.
With the Aug. 2 primary coming up campaigns need your dollars for mailers, yard signs and their GOTV efforts. Now is when they need your time for making calls, knocking on doors and your commitment to help on primary day.
Additionally, it is commonly understood on both sides of the political aisle that the real battle within Michigan for 2016 will be for control of the state house and that the Democrats have a realistic chance of regaining the majority. An LGBT legislative caucus of five within an overall Democratic majority would result in our community having a much stronger voice in committees and an enhanced presence on the House floor for our efforts to add proequality legal protections and to block enactment of additional, homophobicinspired legislation. This is why these candidates and their campaigns matter today.
Being candid, Michigan’s LGBT community has a pretty lousy record of supporting our own candidates for elected office. Most of us don’t write checks and we don’t sign up to volunteer. In spite of that reality, LGBT folks continue to run for office, not because of vanity or on a whim, but because they genuinely believe they can make a difference for our community in Lansing. So I’d ask you to begin by checking out the websites for these five (especially Tim, Jeff and Brian), then make a real difference to their campaigns by hitting the “donate” or “volunteer/contact” tabs. I guarantee you that any amount will be hugely appreciated by them.
Let’s start supporting our own. As President John F. Kennedy once said, “If not us, who? If not now, when?”

About the Author:

Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.
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