As we have been working to all year, we have to work the hardest we can (and then some) to protect our current elected officials, like Assemblymember Sam Hoyt, who have always been our most vocal and effective champions in Albany. We have to work to protect our Senator Antoine Thompson, who was the only “Yes” vote for Marriage Equality in the Senate late last year.
And we have to work to bring in the new class of officials, where there is a need for change, such as in the 58th District. The General Election will afford us tremendous opportunities in Senate Districts such as 56 and 59, where stellar progressive candidates like Robin Wilt and Cynthia Appleton are running to win Republican seats for the Democratic party—the only Party in NYS supportive of the LGBT community (though, of course, the Democratic Party is not without its problems.)
While there are a great many problems with the Democratic Party and current incumbents, let us not forget the good, effective fighters we have for our community in the NYS legislature. Champions like Sam Hoyt and Antoine Thompson, who brought us, through their dedication, the passage of the Dignity for All Students bill.
And we have a similar situation in the City of Buffalo Council, where we have the chance to retain Councilmember Curtis Haynes Jr., a pro-LGBT representative, who was vital in aiding the passage of city domestic partner legislation earlier this year. We also have Judge James McLeod, a longtime friend of the LGBT community, running for Erie County Court.
At the top of our state-wide primary ticket, I am proud that Stonewall is supporting Eric Schneiderman. Senator Schneiderman was vital in the passage of the Dignity for All Students bill, as well as an ardent supporter of Marriage Equality, Gender Expression Non-Discrimination and every other one of our issues in the NYS Senate. I know that he will continue his work as a true progressive leader in the office of Attorney General, and am proud to support him.
In the 144th Assembly District, Sam Hoyt is being challenged by an anti-LGBT Tea Party candidate who currently sits on the city council. As we have time and time again in the past, please come through for Sam Hoyt tomorrow. We cannot afford to lose the ultimate and true progressive champion he is in the Assembly. Send emails, use your Facebook status, or call friends and family on the phone to stress that Sam is the best kind of candidate the LGBT community can have in government, and that we need to help him to victory, so he can continue fighting for our issues, our rights and our families.
In the 60th Senate District, Senator Antoine Thompson is also running in a primary election. I implore you to do the same to spread the word about how Senator Thompson has, since his days as a city councilman, championed LGBT equality every chance he has been given.
Another vitally important election is happening in the 59th Senate District, where voters will decide the political future of Senator Bill Stachowski, one of our infamous “No” votes on Marriage Equality last year. With so many issues and complications involved in the primary, SDWNY was unable to endorse a candidate. I'm incredibly disappointed that Stonewall, and our community at large, is unable to support a candidate against Bill Stachowski. After years of lobbying and being strung along by the idea that Stachowski as our Senator was essential to the Democrats' survival in the majority, he proved last year where he is on the more important issue of civil rights and voted to deny our community and families the equality of basic civil rights.
Tomorrow, voters will chose.
Tim Kennedy is running a pro-LGBT campaign. At Stonewall Democrats meetings, follow-up meetings with officers such as myself and throughout the campaign, Tim Kennedy has pledged to support the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act and Marriage Equality. He is also pro-life, an issue which for many in the LGBT community is a crucial issue of human rights. And he is running an incredibly strong and serious campaign.
Michael Kuzma is also running a pro-LGBT campaign. Also at Stonewall Democrats meetings and throughout the year, Mike has pledged to support GENDA and Marriage Equality. Mike is pro-choice, and has the endorsement of NARAL Pro-Choice NY. Michael Kuzma is a proud progressive.
If you feel Tim Kennedy is the right candidate for our community, vote for him and help him get elected. If you feel Mike Kuzma is the right candidate—I urge you to do the same for him. But whatever the outcome may be, I know the LGBT community is ready to rally around a pro-LGBT Democrat to take on Jack Quinn, a member of the party that uniformly denied us Marriage hand-in-hand with Stachowski last year, and a candidate who has his own experience in bigoted voting in the Assembly.
But whoever our Senator may be come next year, in the 58th District and beyond, I hope that you join Stonewall and Outspoken for Equality in our lobbying efforts to bring GENDA and Marriage to pass; to work to change the minds of those who may not understand our issues, and work to help those who do work within the Senate to make these issues law-- in letters, in phone calls and in person lobbying in Albany.
Thank you for your time, and for being a committed Stonewall Democrat.