By Erica Zazo
Old Town Times Lansing Staff Writer
LANSING, MI – Lansing-area residents packed Tripper’s Bar on Thursday, Sept. 20, not to drink, but to hear 28 candidates outline their campaign views as they relate to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community.
LAHR and LAHR-PAC hosted the event, which attracted over 50 members of the Lansing and Greater Lansing area.
The event took place at Tripper’s Bar, in Lansing Charter Township. After the doors opened, the reserved room for the event quickly became standing room only.
Frank Vaca, LAHR board member and event planner, thought the event would be a great way to get the word out about the elections and the candidate’s campaigns.
“I care about LGBT issues, and I think it was a stroke of genius to come up with this event,” Vaca said.
Each candidate gave a three-minute elevator speech that informed the public on their campaign, their views towards the LGBT community, and why they should receive a vote this coming election.
The event was truly a hit, as more candidates showed up than expected.
“Although we only invited 20 candidates, 28 showed up whether they had an invite or not,” Vaca said.
Who is LGBT Friendly?
Each candidate was sent a candidate questionnaire prior to the event that asked questions about their views on the LGBT community, human rights issues, women’s reproductive rights and much more.
Joe Marutiak and other LAHR-PAC board members rated each candidate on a scale from negative to extremely positive based on their answers.
“I don’t know why people, especially Democrats, would ignore the questionnaire but still come to the event,” Marutiak said.
Every Democratic candidate who took the survey received a rating of positive or higher, while all Republican candidates received mixed or lower.
“I thought it was a good survey,” said Andy Schor, Democrat running for a seat in State House, 68th District. “I did pretty well and received a rating of very positive.”
Jake Davison, Republican candidate running for Ingham County Treasurer, said he was confused on why there were questions about abortion.
“Their rating system is a joke,” said Davison. “I don’t know what in the hell abortion has to do with the LGBT community.”
Another Republican, Phillip Hofmeister, running for Ingham County Commissioner, thinks he received a negative rating for other reasons.
“I don’t want the government to force private individuals and organizations to establish relationships with people that they don’t want to,” Hofmeister said, “That’s why I received a negative rating, not because I don’t like the LGBT community.”
All candidates interviewed gave great feedback and showed their support for the candidate night event.
“I would definitely attend another event like this,” Davison said. “It is part of your duty as a candidate to attend events like these.”
Each candidate expressed the importance of reaching out to the public as much as possible with the national election just around the corner.
“It was very beneficial to attend the event and speak about my priorities,” Schor said. “I liked talking about my experiences and views while sharing my support for the LGBT community.”