Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog

Politicians–Local Hopefuls Pitch for LGBT Endorsements

It’s easy to trash politicians, and easy for me to think it’s merited.  Just turn on the national news or open the paper.  (Today I’d like to trash a few Supreme Court justices too.)  But when you look down at the local level, you see that they are just people, and most of them care a lot about their calling and their work.  And they all work hard.

Tuesday night I went to the first-ever endorsement forum of a brand new PAC (Political Action Committee) for the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce (which includes many LGBT-owned, -run, or -friendly area businesses).  I have not joined the Chamber so all I could do was watch and listen.  The PAC endorsed many office-seekers for seats on a local school board, the county board of supervisors, and state assembly.  Several of these folks came by; some of them are Chamber members (not necessarily LGB or T), but even they had to leave the room for the discussions (and hand their ballots in through a volunteer.

The dramatic highlights were three-minute speeches by those seeking office in three city council districts; the June election for these seats (and mayor) is non-partisan.  If nobody gets a majority in a given race, there will be a runoff.

All of the candidates were passionate, thoughtful, and articulate in describing their backgrounds, visions, and qualifications.  Some showed more expertise in the issues than others, some had more connections to leaders in the group (who made strong testimonies while the candidates absented themselves).  None is an incumbent, though some have held office before.  My response to the speeches did not always match the outcome of the vote, but this was the first time I met most of them.  The PAC’s rules state that a person must get 60% in order for an endorsement to be made, and in every case the vote was overwhelming and not close.

I am grateful to all these folks who dare to step forward and stand for election.  They all bring many talents, and already they have served their communities in significant ways.  Their willingness to walk neighborhoods, knock on doors, listen to anyone and everyone who wants to bend their ear–it’s so old fashioned!  It’s nearly an obsolete phenomenon, except in local politics.

Their generosity and commitment has revived Pastor Cranky’s idealism about the political process and the dignity of elected service.

Notable among those endorsed by an overwhelming vote is the young but smart, experienced, gifted and highly esteemed young man who is competing to be my city council member:  Steve Hansen.  When I get his sign for my window from him, I’ll bend his ear about the trashy lots in this neighborhood.


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