The May 21 primary will feature one campaign that has dominated local political headlines: the race for City Controller, the leader of the city’s financial-oversight office. PGN has endorsed incumbent Alan Butkovitz, who has a strong and proven record of representing the interests of all Philadelphians, and of being proactively cognizant of the needs of LGBTs.
But, that contest is not the only one the community should be aware of.
There is one opening on the Superior Court, as well as six seats on the Court of Common Pleas and three each on Municipal Court and Traffic Court. A slate of LGBT-supportive judicial candidates — each of whom would bring his or her unique experiences and diverse backgrounds to the bench — can be found on page 1.
Among the judicial contenders are three out candidates — Leon King, Inja Coates and Robert Tuerk. Electing LGBT officials has been shown to positively raise the profile of the LGBT community, and that trend does not need to be limited to legislative offices. Having out community members in all branches of the government — including the judicial — is an effective means of continuing to educate the community at large about what it means to be LGBT. And, it’s a prime motivator for younger LGBT generations who are able to see themselves reflected in these decision-makers and could use these examples to strive for greater potential.
This election may lack the pomp and prestige of the Obama-Romney head-to-head, but that does not mean it lacks importance. Each person elected to office Tuesday will be given specific duties to fulfill, and many of those obligations could have resounding impacts on the LGBT community. It is essential that we put the right people in office who can not only ensure that the LGBT rights and protections currently in place are being enforced but who can also further advance our community.
People often use work, school, errands and other daily chores as reasons for being unable to make it to the polls. But, each LGBT and ally should commit him or herself to — starting this election — getting into the practice of thinking of voting as another one of those obligations. Vote on your lunch, before class or in between picking up drycleaning and walking the dog. It takes just a few minutes but its impact will be longlasting.
And as of presstime, Tuesday is forecasted to be 78 degrees with a 10-percent chance of rain — so don’t try those weather excuses either.