Retired attorney and activist Mark LaChey was reelected to the post of first vice chair of the Michigan Democratic Party at the party's virtual State Spring Convention Saturday, Feb. 20. More than 1,300 delegates voted and Lavora Barnes and Fay Beydoun were also reelected to the positions of chair and second vice chair respectively.
This is LaChey's third term as vice chair. Prior to that, he was the chair of the Michigan party's LGBT&A Caucus. LaChey's ascension to vice chair of the party made him the first openly gay Michigander to serve on the Democratic National Committee. Now, with Democrats in control of the governor's office, Congress and the White House, LaChey said he's looking forward with much anticipation.
"It is very exciting," LaChey said. "I will be honest, my first priority as vice chair, as it has been in the past, is to continue LGBTQ representation in our state legislature. With the existing draconian term limits, among the strictest in the country, we always need to have new people running and get them elected. We have yet to elect an LGBTQ person of color to our legislature. That's a goal of mine. We have a woman who identifies as bisexual in our legislature, but we've never had a gay woman. So that's a goal of mine. Within my wheelhouse, that's a very high priority."
LaChey said he's been in a reflective mood since retiring from his practice.
"I spent 30-plus years as an attorney, so I'm just trying to figure out what's next. Politics continues to interest me. I bring several things to the table. I am the vice chair that is not in southeast Michigan. I am almost 65, so I bring an older – I won't say elder – perspective to the state party. And, I'm from a rural county. I bring all of that, in addition to being LGBTQ. So there are a lot of hats I wear in terms of interests of mine."
In the DNC, LaChey said he is the only member from Michigan who is a member of both the rural caucus and the LGBTQ+ council.
"I try to bring different perspectives to the state party here that may not be reflected by those who live in metropolitan Detroit," he said.
LaChey also said he is optimistic about Congress passing the Equality Act.
"I have not been following it as closely as I probably should, but the HRC is reporting that the House may vote on the Equality Act as soon as this week and, separately, they say a committee might take it up soon in the Senate," he said. "In my mind, we have the most LGBTQ-friendly president we've ever had. And if it makes it through Congress, I have no doubt the president will sign it.
"It would take care of any questions about the recent Supreme Court ruling, and it would negate any need for amending state statutes," LaChey continued. "So, it would be a real Godsend to the LGBTQ community."