Rue Landau’s historic endorsement

Rue Landau. (Photo by Kelly Burkhardt)

This week, the Philadelphia Democratic City Committee did something historic: they endorsed Rue Landau for City Council at-large. But this was not simply an endorsement, they’ve done that before, but this was a full embracing of her candidacy and our community, and City Committee members voted for her because they believe in her as we do. THANK YOU.

Rue was able to go into the policy committee meeting, the group that chooses the nominees, and not only say that she was not only a proud member of the LGBT community, but also demonstrate that she earned their endorsement from a lifelong career of working in all communities across the city. Rue’s service and love for our city is overwhelming.

Her years of involvement crosses all lines and in every neighborhood on a broad scope of issues: fair housing, women’s health, fighting discrimination, public education, standing against gun violence, and giving communities the tools they need to fight violence.

I’ve been on this adventure with Rue since the beginning, maybe even before she knew she was on it. That should bring a smile to her face. We in the community all knew that Rue would one day step up and run for office, but she had another office in mind. It was my responsibility to explain to her that she’s a shining light of this community and she will be able to do even more good for the community as a member of City Council.

A personal note: it was my honor to walk Rue into the City Committee policy committee meeting. Sitting at the head of the policy committee meeting was my old friend and Democratic City Committee Chairman Bob Brady. The smile on his face when we walked in was as reassuring as I’ve seen it ever since the very first day we met some forty-five years ago. 

Back then, he as City Council sergeant at arms had to literally and physically carry me out of City Council chambers after I had disrupted and taken over the Council president’s chair in protest that they refused to pass LGBT non-discrimination legislation. We became friends after that, and our friendship allowed us both to help make change and have a front row seat to see those changes actually take shape. It’s a pleasure to be traveling this road with him, and it’s one that I’ll cherish. 

And to the policy committee, most of you I know personally, from my heart thank you for believing in Rue as I and my community do. She will make us all proud.

My opening words at that policy committee were “I’m befuddled, there are so many LGBT people asking for your endorsement this year.” They smiled and laughed since they all knew what I meant. Many of them remember a time when there were no LGBT candidates. Now they had a stellar candidate and they were as supportive as I’ve ever seen. Several of them actually got up from the table to stand with Rue, and others nodded their heads in agreement as she spoke. 

When I looked at that head table, my friend Bob Brady had purposefully arranged that sitting next to him at the head of the policy committee were two gay men, one his deputy, John Brady, and the other my old friend Micah Mahjoubian, Senator Sharif Street’s chief of staff. Although I hid my emotion, the sight brought me to tears, just like the chance that we may finally have a seat at the table in City Council. Thank you!