Saturday, October 10, 2009

Gay, Lesbian Candidates In 2009 NYC Election

It's almost time to go to the polls again, and this year in New York City, it's historic, because it's the first time more than one or two gay or lesbian candidates are in the running for high office in city government. Of the several LGBT candidates running on the Democratic ballot, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Chelsea) is perhaps the most well-known. Representing District 3 (Chelsea, Hell's Kitchen, West Village), Speaker Quinn has been a pioneer in the Council during her tenure. As the first openly lesbian Speaker of the Council, Ms. Quinn has consistently advocated for LGBT rights, stood up for small businesses, worked with other Council members and Mayor Bloomberg on legislation vital to the functioning of the city, and been a strong supporter of our community. Ms. Quinn is currently running for re-election in her district, and the LGBT community will do well to return her to City Hall.

In Queens, Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) achieved a stunning upset victory in the Democratic Primary for City Council. An openly gay schoolteacher, Mr. Dromm has been a visible activist on LGBT issues, speaking frequently in support of gay marriage, hate-crimes legislation, and the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). That he won the nomination in highly conservative Queens speaks to the weather change among voters, who are less concerned with a candidate's sexual orientation, and more keen to look at his or her platform. Mr. Dromm sees the winds of political change in Queens as his opportunity to bring LGBT rights to the forefront of City Hall affairs.

Also in Queens, James Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) won in the battleground 26th district to become a City Council nominee. Mr. Van Bramer, the Chief Affairs Officer of the queens public Library, prevailed in a tough campaign which further reinforced the political transitions in the borough of Queens. He has served as a reporter for the Lesbian and Gay New York, the forerunner of today's Gay City News, and has lobbied tirelessly on behalf of the LGBT community. A lifelong Queens resident and gay advocate, Mr, Van Bramer hopes to bring lasting change to City Hall, and looks ready to join Mr. Dromm in representing us on Park Row.

Finally, back in Manhattan, Rosie Mendez (D-SoHo) won her primary race in District 2. Ms. Mendez is a strong civil-liberties proponent, seves as Democratic District Leader, and her record on animal rights is among the best in the city. An out, lesbian lawmaker with a progressive vision for the city, Ms. Mendez joins the other gay and lesbian Council candidates in making history in New York City. But none of it will happen unless you vote! Election Day is November 3, and wherever you live, a trip to the polls is your right and responsibility. Here in NYC, the better represented we are as gays and lesbians in government, the more our issues will be heard and addressed. Because all politics are local, it's of paramount importance for everyone who visits the FUTURE to vote, and remind their families and friends to vote, as well. See you at the polls!

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