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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
May 25, 2007

Brunner enters Stonewall Democrats hall of fame

Columbus--Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner was inducted into the Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio Hall of Fame on May 17 at the group’s seventh annual wine tasting and silent auction fundraiser.

The event, held at Axis nightclub, raised more than $5,000 which will be used to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-affirming Democrats for office throughout the region. Approximately 150 attended.

Brunner has been an LGBT community supporter since before it was fashionable, even for Democrats. Stonewall Democrats president Russ Goodwin told the audience that the earliest public appearance in Brunner’s first campaign for Franklin County Common Pleas judge was the Stonewall Democrats.

Brunner was also the first non-federal candidate for office endorsed by the National Stonewall Democrats. Her 2006 secretary of state campaign was headed by former Stonewall Columbus director Kate Anderson and the agency’s former employees Patrick Gallaway and Kellye Pinkleton also worked on it.

Brunner’s Republican opponent tried with little success to make an issue out of her membership in the group and the number of gays and lesbians employed by the campaign.

After taking office, Brunner hired Gallaway, Pinkleton and gay attorney Brian Shinn and covered them with a non-discrimination policy in her office.

Previous Hall of Fame inductees include the group’s founding members Steve Shellabarger and Michael Council, and Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy.

Columbus mayor Michael Coleman also attended, as did Columbus city council members Charleta Tavares, Andrew Ginther, Priscilla Tyson and the newest member, Hearcel Craig.

Craig’s appointment to fill a vacant seat last month, instead of gay applicant Steve Farrell, has strained the relationship between the LGBT community and city council.

State Representatives Joyce Beatty, Ted Celeste, Dan Stewart and Tracy Heard attended, and were joined by 2008 House candidates Bev Campbell, Kelley Wenzlaff and John Carney.

Franklin County treasurer Ed Leonard and judges John Connor, Eric Brown and Richard Frey and judicial candidates Joseph Mas and Joy Harris attended, as did Columbus School Board member Shawna Gibbs.

“Franklin County and Columbus are trending more Democratic with the help of Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio and other Democratic and progressive groups in the Central Ohio area,” said Goodwin, adding that the group is eager to work with other Democratic constituencies in 2007 and 2008 to win control of the Ohio House and Senate and the White House.



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