Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Will the Nov midterms also see a 'rainbow wave' of elected officials?

The LGBTQ community can make huge steps forward in the upcoming midterm elections.

Some people are predicting a "blue wave" in the November midterms, i.e. the idea that the Democratic party will benefit greatly from Trump's many missteps and get control of the House of Representatives and maybe the Senate.

I say folks should concentrate on making this happen instead of predicting. There is so much at stake. And now it's looking like the LGBTQ community could be a huge part of that.

According to the Democratic National Committee, there are more LGBTQ candidates running for office in November than ever before and all under the Democratic banner. There will be:

11 LGBTQ people for statewide office This includes 4 for governor (CO, OR, TX and VT), each of whom represents a different segment of the LGBTQ community.

13 LGBTQ people for federal office in both houses of Congress

All in all, LGBTQ folks are running for office in 23 states as diverse as:


 Lupe Valdez (Governor): Lupe Valdez became the first openly lesbian gubernatorial nominee of any major party. If elected, she would also be the first openly LGBTQ person of color to serve as governor and the first Latinx to serve as governor of Texas.  
Steven Kirkland (Texas Supreme Court): If elected, Kirkland will become the first openly LGBTQ member of the Texas Supreme Court and first openly LGBTQ statewide official in Texas. 
Gina Ortiz Jones (TX-23): If elected, Ortiz Jones would be Congress’ first openly LGBTQ woman of color and first openly LGBTQ Asian American woman. 
Eric Holguin (TX-27): If elected, Holguin would become Congress’ first openly LGBTQ Latinx congressman and the first openly gay Latinx man in Congress. 
Lorie Burch (TX-03): If elected, Burch would be among the first LGBTQ congresswomen from Texas. 
Julie Johnson (HD-115): If elected, Johnson will become the 3rd openly LGBTQ member of the Texas House of Representatives. 
Mark Phariss (SD-8): If elected, Pharris will become the first openly LGBTQ state Senator in Texas.


 Malcolm Kenyatta (HD-181): Kenyatta overcame an overtly bigoted smear campaign and if elected, will become the Pennsylvania House’s first openly LGBTQ person of color. Kenyatta also served a delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention hosted by the DNC. 
 Kristen Seale (HD-168): Seale is the first openly queer Democratic nominee in Pennsylvania. If elected, she will be the first openly LGBTQ woman in the Pennsylvania state House. 
 Daniel Smith Jr. (HD-12): Smith is challenging Republican Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, one of the most anti-LGBTQ state legislators in Pennsylvania, who sued to prevent a gay couple from marrying, introduced legislation banning same-sex marriage and said openly gay Rep. Brian Sims was a “lying homosexual” and “in open rebellion against God’s law.”

Felicia Stewart (HD-46): If elected, Stewart will become Alabama’s second openly lesbian legislator.      
Neil Rafferty (HD-54): If elected, Rafferty will become the only openly gay legislator in Alabama’s House of Representatives and the state’s first openly LGBTQ veteran legislator.

 and GEORGIA  
 Matthew Wilson (HD-80): If elected, Wilson will join numerous openly LGBTQ officials pushing back on Georgia Republicans’ anti-LGBTQ legislative agenda.
Georgia’s LGBTQ caucus is among the most diverse LGBTQ caucuses in the nation, including:  
Park Cannon (HD-58): first openly queer woman of color elected in Georgia
Renitta Shannon (HD-84): first openly bisexual woman of color to serve in Georgia.
Karla Drennan (HD-85): first openly lesbian member of the Georgia House of Representatives
Sam Park (HD-101): first openly gay Asian American elected in Georgia and first openly gay man elected to the state legislature  

So all of you LGBTQ folks talking about how you hate politics or running down elected officials, get off your shoulders, vote, and participate. It's nice when the courts rule our way but it's even nicer to have our own in the halls of power either making laws which benefit us or engaging in the debates which move public opinions.

And don't give me that crap about not being "a single issue voter." There is nothing wrong with wanting people of your own to have political power. Their power becomes your power. Their voice becomes your voice. And besides, when the issue is LGBTQ equality,  it's not simply a single issue. It encompasses a lot of other issues and folks, particularly our kids.

See the full list of LGBTQ candidates here.

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