The LGBTQ community has a wealth of out candidates and allied incumbents running for office.
We at PGN do not endorse based solely on sexual orientation. Each candidate is judged on several factors, including their past support of our community’s equality and civil rights, the level of that support, their ability to create a political base, their experience, and their ability to do the job if elected.
This is also a historic election with a trans woman and trans man as viable candidates: One for City Council at-Large and the other for judge.
We also must recognize the community’s struggle to grasp new issues of equality. The Independence Business Alliance has made us aware of economic inequality, and Liberty City has made us aware of political inequality within the progressive spectrum. These are new issues where endorsements should play a role. And in one race, City Council at-large, all of these points came together.
Here are PGN’s endorsements for the May 21, 2019 primary election:
Jim Kenney #31
City Council at-Large
Incumbents Derek Green and Helen Gym have a good record as LGBTQ allies, but they’ve not been insistent that at least one of the 17 Council members be from the LGBTQ community.
There are two LGBTQ candidates at the top of the ballot this year. Adrián Rivera-Reyes is a relative newcomer to the community, and we look forward to his continued involvement. The other candidate, Deja Lynn Alvarez is a trans woman who has all the qualities one would expect of a Council person. She has worked with the most disadvantaged in our city and at times took the money out of her pocket to keep them afloat. She has worked with Council on legislation and is a community organizer.
With no LGBT representation on Council, we strongly endorse Reyes and Alvarez. We believe that both have a good chance of being elected, and we need to give them every opportunity.
This community has made the difference for candidates in previous elections, and we need to come out in full force for our LGBTQ candidates this year.
Vote for those two only, unless you feel strongly about another Council candidate.
Adrián Rivera-Reyes #54
Deja Lynn Alvarez #55
Judge of the Superior Court
Daniel D. McCaffery #2
Amanda Green-Hawkins #3
Judge of the Court of Common Pleas
Henry McGregor Sias #21
Tiffany Palmer #23
Carmella Jacquinto #24
Judge of the Municipal Court
David H. Conroy #29
City Council 2nd District
There is only one district Council race where an LGBTQ candidate or issue is on the ballot. District 2 pits incumbent Kenyatta Johnson against our newcomer Lauren Vidas. The issues in the district are gentrification, development and the soda tax. Liberty City voted to support Johnson for his years of support of this community, including his position on gentrification. We agree, and we endorse Johnson as well.
Kenyatta Johnson #85
Register of Wills
Ronald R. Donatucci #49
Over his political career, incumbent Jewell Williams was one of the first elected officials in Philadelphia to be an LGBTQ ally in Harrisburg at a time when few others would stand up on our behalf. As sheriff, he created a liaison to the LGBT community, and his office regularly holds food drives for homeless trans people and youth. His office also conducts outreach to multicultural communities and publications, including this one, the results of which have increased funds to the city’s tax treasury.
Similar to the Council candidates, his opponents have not embraced other LGBT candidates and have no past record on our issues. He has been endorsed by a host of labor leaders, black ward leaders and church organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police, District Council 33, Laborers Local 332, Building Trades Union, AFL-CIO and a host of others. For his 30 years of fighting for our community, we also endorse him.
Sheriff Jewell Williams #53
Omar Sabir #35 (D)
Lisa Deeley #36 (D)
Al Schmidt #106 (R)
One last point about endorsements: With two qualified trans candidates in this primary, both progressive in their views, how can Reclaim Philadelphia, an organization claiming to be progressive, not support at least one of them? While we would expect the Inquirer not to endorse trans candidates, we would certainly expect the city’s “premier” progressive organization to do so.
The endorsements this year don’t indicate that Reclaim is inclusive or appreciates diversity. It might be time to ask them the question: Are you transphobic? n