WeHo City Council candidates iron out issues in virtual forum

By Karen Ocamb | WEST HOLLYWOOD — With just six weeks to go until the Nov. 8 midterm elections, Democrats are working hard to stop Republicans in MAGA from suspending democracy with the noose they backed for the then vice president. , Mike Pence, Jan. 6.

The possibility that GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wins the five seats needed to take over the House and the gavel of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has the power to shape the justice system with incitement from the Federalist Society – LGBTQ people, people of color and women could be ruled for decades by right-wing white supremacists of Trump.

The overturning of Roe v Wade, removing the right to bodily autonomy, is just the beginning of the dismantling of individual privacy protections, the dismantling of equal justice and the killing of democracy by the MAGA ideologues with the power to invalidate votes.

But all is not yet lost. The power is still in the hands of voters who prioritize true patriotism over fantasies about Trump’s big lie. And many of those patriots are LGBTQ candidates running for office across the country.

In this special episode of Race to the Midterms, we chat with former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, now President and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund and Victory Institute. The Victory Fund has now endorsed and promoted more than 450 candidates seeking congressional seats and state and local short-vote seats. Victory is also on the ground campaigning and getting the vote in states including Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Minnesota, Kentucky, New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Connecticut. .

Annise Parker (Screenshot/YouTube)

The Victory Fund, founded in 1991, endorsed two people that year, Sherry Harris, a candidate for Seattle City Council and Los Angeles-based attorney Bob Burke, who was running for State Assembly in California. “This year we have over 450 applicants, so you can see the tremendous growth,” Parker says.

Victory was able to identify over 1100 LGBT applicants but they also have a strict viability standard. “We try to push the limits. And surprisingly, our candidates are 30% more diverse than the general candidate pool. If you go to VictoryInstitute.org, you can check out some of our research” showing the demographics of all applicants in the United States and then LGBT applicants.

Victory’s Spotlight contestants, in particular, exemplify the essential intersectionality of LGBTQ contestants. “We are part of every community and we understand that,” Parker says. “But what is also happening is that more and more candidates of color from all political backgrounds are fully invested in their races. I’m not going to say it’s helpful to be openly LGBT. But let me be very clear – it’s not negative.

“Our contestants are winning at the same rate that all the other contestants are winning,” Parker continues. “When you monitor your experience and the demographics of the neighborhood and the quality of the campaign, which is a really good sign, and the fact that more and more people recognize their gender identity or their sexual orientation – for us, being in this game for so many decades with a single goal, for somebody to succeed, I mean, we want to see candidates win, but if they ultimately succeed at the polls – when they run as themselves, they are true to themselves, they’re comfortable in their own skin, it’s transformative, and we’re excited about the possibilities this year.

Although Victory has endorsed many candidates for Congress, our strength as an organization really lies in voting from there. No other national organization is running the ballot,” Parker says. Statehouse races are really, really important because “the really dumb stuff starts in the statehouse and the really bad anti-LGBTQ stuff starts in the statehouse and it can metastasize. In fact, there are organizations that are scrapping some of these really ugly bills like cookie-cutter, eliminating them, and sharing them with right-wing lawmakers, across the country, so we’re working really hard on that.

And there have been victories, including helping three black LGBT leaders win their primaries. “They will be the first black members of the Texas legislature,” says the woman who became a major city’s first lesbian mayor, tagging former Houston City Councilwoman Jolanda Jones to Houston, the longtime activist date from the HIV community and from Dallas Venton Jones, and in Beaumont, Christian Manuel Hayes.

Parker also notes that the Victory Fund is a nonpartisan organization and that we support Democrats — and Republicans. So we are not talking so much about “holding the House” as about “keeping the forces that want to harm us at a distance”. Parker mentions Sharice Davids as “not only a great example of an amazing member of Congress, but also an intersectional person – like an Indigenous woman, a Native American woman. This is her third race. She’s been elected twice, but the redistricting hasn’t been good for his district – he just got gutted in Kansas. It’s a tough state. So I’m a little worried about Sharice.

Redistricting and voter registration also run counter to the congressional re-election campaigns of Angie Craig in Minnesota and Chris Pappas in New Hampshire. There are also new candidates, like Will Rollins running in Palm Springs against anti-gay Ken Calvert, “who is not a friend of the community, voted against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, voted for the Defense of Marriage Act. They’re neck and neck there. For most voters, congressional races all revolve around these national issues – where people were on the 6th Januarye and the big lie about Trump and that he won the last election, that sort of thing. Ballot races are about local issues – and that’s why our candidates are doing so well.

Another interesting congressional race is New York’s Third District on Long Island. The victory endorsed Democrat Robert Zimmerman. But his Republican opponent, George Santos, is also openly gay. “They both have deep ties to the neighborhood. No carpet baggers. They are credible candidates. And they raise a lot of money. They have their party’s nomination,” Parker says. “Unfortunately, from our perspective, Santos was on the mall on January 6 and was part of the Big Lie trying to overturn the election, making him unfit for our endorsement.”

Parker also highlighted the races of three governors: Colorado Governor Jared Polis is up for re-election “and should be OK.” But we could take Massachusetts with Maura Healey and we can take Oregon with Tina Kotek. Maura is doing very well. Tina Kotek is in a three way race. Interestingly, all three are women: a Republican, a Democrat, and an Independent. Tina Kotek is the Democrat. Any of them could win.

Annise Parker closed the interview by talking about her intersectional family – she has been with wife Kathy Hubbard for 31 years and they have a black son Jovan and two bi-racial/black daughters and a third Anglo-Hispanic daughter.

Jovan, now 46, was a 16-year-old street gay youth when 17-year-old Treyvon Martin was murdered. “He was in and out of the streets of Houston and he was raised by his grandparents and they just – they kept trying to force the gay out and he was running away or they were throwing him back and forth,” Parker says. “And then we finally said, ‘Enough with that’ and invited him into our family.”

Parker had his own motherly response when Treyvon Martin was killed and President Obama said if he had a son he would look like Treyvon. In fact, Obama said at the time in 2012 that he looked like Treyvon growing up.

“When Obama said that, I couldn’t help but think my mom adored my son Jovan. My mom at the time lived in Charleston, South Carolina,” she says. “Jovan was about 30 years old. the first time he went to visit him alone and traveled to Charleston. And I had to have this conversation with him before he left. It’s like “this is an older white woman who lives alone “. Don’t let her give you a key. Be sure to knock on the door. She opens the door. Anyone walking past can see that you are entering. Let her welcome you. Just be very, very careful.

“And I shouldn’t have had that conversation,” Parker says. “Nobody should have to have this conversation. But it is still the reality of the world we live in.

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