Last night, gay and lesbian candidates running for office struck gold, winning more than a few elections across the country. Of the 75 gay and lesbian candidates endorsed by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, an organization that aims to get LGBT people elected to public office, 53 of them won their races.
One of these candidates was Alex Morse, a 22-year-old who ran for mayor in Holyoke, Mass. Morse, an openly gay man, grew up in Holyoke, moved away to study at Brown University, and came back after graduation to campaign, reconnect with his hometown, and communicate his desire to serve his community.
Alex is the founder of Holyoke for All, the city's first LGBT non-profit organization, and for three years was a member of the Massachusetts Governor's LGBT Commission. He served as president of the Holyoke Youth Commission, where he brought the National Kids Vote Program to Holyoke and started a basketball league for out of school youth in partnership with the Holyoke Parks and Recreation Department and the YMCA.
Reading about Morse's win in Holyoke caught my attention this morning because throughout this semester, I've been closely following the campaign of Svante Myrick, a 24-year-old graduate from Cornell University who ran for mayor in Ithaca, New York. I've been following his campaign with two of my roommates -- we're making a documentary about youth in politics, looking at the issue through the lens of his bid for the mayoral position. Last night, Svante, a Democrat, won the election with 53 percent of the vote.
If Morse's campaign was anything like Svante's, I'm sure that it was full of excitement, passion, and dedication -- from the candidates themselves, but perhaps more importantly from the rest of the campaign team. Svante's team boasted a 24-year-old campaign manager, a 21-year-old field director and a 20-year-old director of communications. These were people who cared about their city, wanted to see change, and thought that their candidate -- in spite of his young age -- could help to elicit that change.