Thanks to the awesome work of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund dozens of gay candidates were elected to municipal and state legislative office yesterday. The Victory Fund has endorsed 71 candidates for office in 2007 with 31 winning their races on Tuesday and three more winning enough votes to participate in run-off elections. 10 candidates endorsed by the Victory Fund won their races earlier in the year.
The work of the Victory Fund and the courage of openly LGBT people to seek public office is so important because no one can be a stronger advocate for LGBT civil rights than LGBT people. Having LGBT in positions of political power gives voice to our issues, begins to balance the anti-gay elected officials who can be found in the Democratic and Republican parties and allows us to have a vote on legislation that effects our lives.
As Victory Fund president Chuck Wolfe says:
This is the path to change. We are not content to sit on the sidelines and hope that others do the right thing for our community. We will step up and lead the fight for a more equal and fair America, and we will win.
Among the highlights Tuesday:
* Joel Burns, a candidate for the Fort Worth, Tex., City Council advanced to a December runoff election as the top vote-getter after being subject to anti-gay smears from an opponent.
* Craig Covey won his race for mayor of Ferndale, Mich., becoming the first openly gay mayor elected in the state of Michigan.
* Michelle Bruce, an openly transgender incumbent on the Riverdale, Ga., City Council was the top vote-getter in her race and advances to a runoff election.
* New Jersey State Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, who became the state’s first openly LGBT state legislator when he came out publicly during his current term, won re-election to his seat.
* Jeffrey Anderson was elected to the Duluth City Council, becoming the first openly gay elected official in northern Minnesota.
* Tim Eustace won his race for mayor of Maywood, N.J.
* Brian Bates, won a seat on the Doraville, Ga., City Council, becoming the first openly gay Republican ever to win office in the state.
* Lydia Lavelle won a seat on the Carrboro, N.C., Board of Aldermen, becoming the seventh openly LGBT candidate ever elected in the state.
Click here to see a list of the newly elected LGBT officials.