Another mayoral candidate gets an LGBT endorsement
A few weeks ago only one mayoral candidate was profiled as the chosen candidate of the LGBT community. Well, now there are two.
On Wednesday several LGBT community leaders gathered to announce their endorsement for Mayoral candidate Anthony Williams, and praised him for his long-standing support for the community.
Among the local leaders at the event were Wade Albert, co-chair of the Liberty City Democratic Club’s endorsement committee; LGBT activist Antonio Boone; Jim and Ennes Littrell, founder and first director of Action Aids respectively, and LGBT activist and philanthropist Mel Heinfetz.
“He is a Harrisburg person, he is not as well known for his work in the LGBT community (here) but I’ve come to him with problems involving the gay community and he’s always been supportive,” Heinfetz said.
He added that most directors of the 501(c)3s would know him because Williams has supported them with funding. He highlighted Williams help in securing a $20,000 state grant for the Williams Way Community Center, as well as the development of the John C. Anderson Apartments, a complex created to provide affordable housing for gay senior citizens.
The only other mayoral candidate that has secured endorsements from the LGBT community is James Kenny, who a few weeks ago received endorsements from State Rep. Brian Sims and local leaders Mike Marsico, Kathy Padilla, Sharron Cooks, and Christina Kallas-Saritsoglou.
“I believe in the power of diversity and I believe Philadelphia is strongest when it embraces inclusion and equality,” Williams said. “For more than 20 years I’ve worked in the legislature and here in Philadelphia to push for equal treatment for all. I am proud to continue to lead on these issues.”
Williams released an LGBT agenda that includes establishing Philadelphia as a National Destination for LGBT travel and tourism; leading an LGBT-friendly city government working with the managing director, chief integrity officer and the director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs to perform an annual cultural competence review of every department, board and commission; and to develop plans to improve city services for LGBT youth and families.
He also included safety in public schools; asked the school district for greater accountability for data collection and for reporting on serious incidents and disciplinary action for homophobic bullying. He also proposes working with Philadelphia’s superintendent and the director of the Office of LGBT Affairs to create safe spaces in every school.
“The same issues that are of concern for the community at large are now, because of the changes we have seen and the progress we have made, the issues for the LGBT community,” said Kevin Burns, executive director of Action Aids. “We are all concerned about the same things: taxes, safe neighborhoods, good schools, jobs, and it is nice to finally be able to say that.”
“We stand on the shoulders of a lot of people who worked hard to get us there but is nice to be able to fully participate in that community dialogue. We are in the conversation now,” Burns said.
Last month the Liberty City Democratic Club (LCDC) released its 2015 Democratic primary election questionnaire, with questions that cover civil rights, health and social services, violence and policing, families and youth, and economic and community development.
The questionnaires were due March 9 and according to a spokesperson at the organization all mayoral candidates submitted their questionnaires, except Milton Street and Doug Oliver.
LCDC will be hosting a mayoral candidates’ forum tonight at 6 p.m. at the William Way LGBT Community Center. So far candidates Lynne Abraham, Nelson Diaz, Jim Kenney and Tony Williams confirmed their attendance.