Candidates reach out to LGBT community

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By Erica Zazo
Old Town Times Lansing Staff Writer

LANSING – 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 LGBT community.

Lansing Association for Human Rights and the Political Action Committee, LAHR and LAHR-PAC, hosted the event, which attracted over 50 members of the Lansing and Greater Lansing area.

Infographic created by Erica Zazo

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 each candidate’s campaign.

“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 about their campaign, their experience with the LGBT community and why they should receive a vote this coming election.

“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. They were 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.

Infographic created by Erica Zazo

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 the State House, 68th District. “I did pretty well and received a rating of very positive.”

Jake Davison, Republican candidate running for Ingham County Treasurer, expressed otherwise.

“Half of their questionnaire was about abortion,” Davison said. “Their rating system is a joke. 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, thought 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.”

Looking Forward

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.”

With elections just around the corner, each candidate also expressed the importance of reaching out to the public as much as possible.

“It was very beneficial for my campaign 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.”


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