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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
March 3, 2006

Ohio Democrats create a new LGBT caucus

 

Columbus--With an unprecedented amount of input from gays and lesbians, the Ohio Democratic Party announced the establishment of a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender caucus last month, along with its endorsed candidates for the May 2 primary election.

Newly elected party chair Chris Redfern told 80 of the 135 executive committee members that minority caucuses had been formed, including one representing LGBT interests to candidates and ensuring that Democrats are accessible to LGBT voters.

The caucuses are part of an initiative to reach out to natural Democratic constituencies that are underrepresented among those who set party policy and practice. The LGBT caucus is co-chaired by Patrick Shepherd of the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats and Russ Goodwin of the Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio.

The first test of the caucus� impact was that all candidates were asked their views on LGBT equality by the endorsement screening committee.

Former Stonewall Columbus director Kate Anderson of Powell served on that 25-member committee, which screened candidates on February 19.

Anderson, Joe Lacey of Dayton, who is the only openly gay school board member in Ohio, and gay Columbus attorney Brian Shinn voted on the endorsements, with Shinn acting as the body�s parliamentarian.

The party endorsed Ted Strickland and Lee Fisher for governor and lieutenant governor, Rep. Sherrod Brown for U.S. Senate, Jennifer Brunner for Ohio secretary of state, State Rep. Barbara Sykes for Ohio auditor, former senate minority leader Ben Espy and Montgomery County judge A.J. Wagner for the Ohio Supreme Court, Franklin County Treasurer Richard Cordray for state treasurer, and State Sen. Marc Dann for Ohio attorney general.

Brown, Brunner, and Sykes have no primary opposition.

Also seeking the Democratic nomination for governor is former state representative Bryan Flannery and his running mate Frank Stams.

Running against Espy for the Supreme Court seat now held by Justice Alice Robie Resnick, who is retiring, is Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court Judge Peter Sikora.

Running against Wagner for the Supreme Court seat now held by Justice Terrance O�Donnell is Eleventh District Court of Appeals Judge William O�Neill. O�Neill declined to be part of the endorsement process, saying, �It�s bad to endorse. Let the primary process take its course.�

Montgomery County Treasurer Hugh Quill will face off against Cordray for the treasurer�s bid. Lacey is also Quill�s campaign treasurer.

The most hotly contested race is that of former Cleveland law director Subodh Chandra, squaring off against Dann for the attorney general slot.

 

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