May 5, 2013
At our Buffalo School Board Candidate Forum, our membership heard from the following candidates and issued the following endorsements, by district: North District: -Dr. Susan Gillick, candidate for the North District, ENDORSED. View her questionnaire here. -Dr. Wendy Mistretta, candidate for the North District. View her questionnaire here.
-Jason McCarthy, incumbent board member. View his questionnaire here. West District: -Ralph Hernandez, Incumbent Board Member, ENDORSED. View his 2013 questionnaire here. View a copy of Ralph Hernandez's Dignity for All Resolution passed by the Board of Education submitted with his questionniare.
-James Sampson, Hernandez's opponent, responded to our questionniare that he is not seeking the endorsement of group's that aren't entirely made of parents.
As of this writing, Ralph Hernandez will not be on the election ballot this Tuesday, and is running a write in campaign for the West District. East District: -Dr. Theresa Harris-Tigg, candidate for the East District, ENDORSED. View her questionnaire here.
-Rosalyn Taylor, incumbent board member, did not respond in any way to SDWNY's endorsement questionnaire. As of this writing, Rosalyn Taylor will not appear on Tuesday's ballot, but is waging a write-in campaign. Central District: -Bryon McIntyre, candidate for the Central District, ENDORSED.
-Mary Ruth Kapsiak, incumbent board member, did not respond in any way to SDWNY's endorsement questionnaire. Joseph Mascia, who had been running in the district and has since been removed from the ballot, also did not respond to our questionnaire. Park District:
-Neither candidate-- Carl Paladino or Adrian Harris-- running for this open seat responded to SDWNY's questionnaire. Ferry District:
-The only candidate in the Ferry subdistrict, Sharon Belton-Cottman, has not responded to our questionnaire. On May 3, in The Buffalo News, it was reported that Rev. Kinzer Pointer is being targeted by a write-in campaign to elect him to the district seat.
As he was neither an announced or filed candidate this year, he did not receive an update questionnaire. However, Rev. Pointer has not responded to our questionnaire when he ran for the seat previously in 2010.
Image: via YNN
Our schedule for our Wednesday night meeting where we will hear from candidates for the Buffalo Board of Education is as follows (subject to change):
6:00 PM: Call to Order /
Ralph Hernandez (West District, incumbent)
6:30: Susan Gillick (North District, candidate)
6:45: Dr. Wendy Mistretta (North District, candidate)
7:00: Jason McCarthy (North District, incumbent)
7:15: Dr. Theresa Harris-Tigg (East District)
*John Sampson, candidate in the West District, is not seeking endorsement from organizations, but will be completing our endorsement questioannire.
*In the Central Distict, none of the 3 candidates-- Joseph Mascia, Mary Ruth Kapsiak and Bryon McIntyre-- have responded to our endorsement questionnaire.
*The only candidate in the Ferry subdistrict, Sharon Belton-Cottman, has not responded to our questionnaire.
*All 3 of the candidates running in the North District have been scheduled for Wednesday night.
*The single candidate in the East District, Dr. Harris-Tigg, has been scheduled for our forum.
*Neither of the two candidates in the South subdistrict-- Adrian Fitzgerald Harris and Carl Paladino-- have responded to our questionnaire as of this writing.
***Attention everyone, we have had to reschedule our meeting for this Wednesday, at the same time and place, due to an unforseen circumstance that saw the Buffalo School Board schedule a meeting on Tuesday night which would have deprived us of nearly all our School board memebers and candidates. ****
This Wednesday we will be meeting an hour earlier than normal-- 6PM-- due to the start of endorsement season, as we will hear from and consider endorsement for the Buffalo Board of Education.
Due to the number of candidates running for district office (in the Park, East, Central, West, North and Ferry districts) to the Buffalo Board of Education, all endorsement interviews at our candidate forum will be scheduled in ten minute intervals. Interview will consist of a candidate’s presentation (no more than five minutes) and a question and answer portion (no more than five minutes.)
All candidates who have filed with the Board of Elections to run for the district seats have received endorsement questionnaires. As responses come in, they will be posted on our website and linked here, and candidates will be scheduled.
You are invited!
Stonewall Democrats of Western New York’s Spring Fundraiser Honoring Jamestown City Council President Greg Rabb
Come celebrate and honor Council President Rabb, as he receives the SDWNY 2013 Excellence in Leadership Award!
Date: Thursday, April 18, 2013
62 Allen St., Buffalo, NY 14202
5:30 – 7:30 PM
Suggested Donation: $20/per person / $35/couple
Sponsorship Levels Available: $35 - Ally / $50 – Advocate / $100 – Champion
Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served.
RSVP- Bryan Ball / Bryan_Ball@sdwny.org
This evening, SDWNY participated in the WNY Light the Way to Justice Rally, a national movement to rally and hold vigil while the Supreme Court hears the Proposition 8 and DOMA cases this week.
A special thanks go out to SDWNY VP Kitty Lambert-Rudd for planning the event, Jamestown Council President Greg Rabb for attending and speaking and everyone who came out and participated this evening!
During the program, I spoke on the non-partisanship of Marriage Equality. My prepared remarks are below-- we hope, if you are able, to see you tomorrow night at 5:30PM in Niagara Square as we continue our vigil for equality!
Light the Way Remarks; Tuesday, March 26, 2013
"'Gay rights are human rights. And human rights are gay rights' declared Hillary Clinton, as United States Secretary of State, to the United Nations a few short years ago. Speaking on behalf of President Barack Obama’s administration, that moment—“human rights are gay rights”—was a monumental moment in America’s history. We the people, through the leadership of President Obama, made a serious commitment to take the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people seriously; as a matter of both foreign and domestic policy.
These last few years have seen the culmination of the work of so many years by so many. When Proposition 8 was passed in California in 2008, and human rights were dealt similar blows across these United States, much seemed so hopeless. But we were not deterred. As Dr. King said, “the moral arc of the universe is long… but it bends toward justice.” Since Prop 8, since a majority was able to deny civil rights to a minority in California, our community and our allies have become stronger, and achieved victories we always knew possible. And the LGBT community could not have done this alone.
As the head of the Stonewall Democrats of WNY, a Democratic civil rights organization, I am proud of my party: the Democratic Party. I am proud of what my party stands and fights for. I am proud that my party considers me as a gay American every bit as equal as any other person. But what makes me all the more proud is when I see the issues of my party transcend partisan politics—because they are above partisan politics.
Here in New York State, we showed the nation—and the world—how civil rights victories are achieved. With our Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, our Republican Senate and Democratic Assembly—we showed the nation what you can do when you work in a bi-partisan manner, for the people. We have Marriage Equality here in New York not only because of the Democrats. And we have Marriage Equality here in New York not because of the Republicans. We have Marriage Equality as New Yorkers because of the Democrats and the Republicans working together in order to deliver a government truly by the people and for the people. New York showed when we passed our Marriage Equality bill through that divided legislature that civil marriage rights for all is a non-partisan issue. On the wave of historically soaring approval rates, national figures on both sides of the aisle have shown us what we knew all along: the idea that every woman and man is created equally, and should be treated as such under the law, does not belong to the Democrats, the Republicans, or any one group. It belongs to us all.
In recent weeks, much has been made over Rob Portman, the Republican Senator from Ohio, coming out in favor of Marriage Equality. And perhaps that is because his simple act—supporting the civil rights of his gay son-- says it all. As more and more of us live openly and proudly, and demand from our government that our families be treated equally under the law, we are heard. Our families hear us, our friends hear us, our representatives hear us and our children hear us. And when we are heard, we are not denied our place in the world. When we are heard, our families, our Senators, our Presidents take up our cause alongside us. And when that happens, great things are possible. When we are heard, our state legislatures protect families. When we are heard, we win referendums and votes on equality. When we are heard, we are free to create families and live our lives with the protections of any other. When we are heard, we send a message to every LGBT youth out there that they are real, valued people who will be treated fairly by their government. When we are heard, we can begin to create justice for Edie and Thea and the countless American families who have been denied equal rights and protections throughout our history. And when we are heard, we have leadership—of all gender, race, class, creed and party affiliation—our true leaders hear us, and stand for us.
Whatever decision the court reaches, there will be no single solution for the inequality of LGBT families. If DOMA and Prop 8 are ruled unconstitutional, legislation will have to be passed to repeal the whole of the DOMA legislation. The patchwork of civil rights laws that exist throughout our states will have to be made equal. Legislation will have to be passed at the national and state level to ensure that LGBT people be free from discrimination; equal in human rights, marriage, employment, tax and immigration law. But when the court decides our families have a right to be created and treated equally, it will make the work ahead –for both parties—all the more possible. I thank you all for your time, for coming out tonight and being a part of what it is to work together and light the way to justice. Thank you. "
NYS Assemblymember Sean Ryan, speaking at the Light the Way Rally this evening.
This week, National Stonewall Democrats announced they will be streamlining operations in the coming year, as they undergo a period a of restructuring and rebuilding
. As always, we stand together in solidarity with NSD, and our fellow Stonewall organizations throughout our great country, and look forward to the stronger, better National Stonewall Democrats organization that will be a result of this time of growth.
Although National Stonewall Democrats will be going through this time of change, the work they have helped to foster is clear to see throughout our county; in our local organizations, and in our victories as pro-equality Democrats.
Our organization, Stonewall Democrats of Western New York, has never been stronger. In terms of active members, influence, work, results, lobbying, educating and fundraising, SDWNY has never been stronger or more active in the counties of WNY. Together, we have made history, and will go on to complete the history that will bring equality to all.
Starting today, SDWNY is participating in an online social media campaign alongside our fellow Stonewall organizations, such as Stonewall Democrats New York City, that have-- because of the work of NSD and so many others-- never stood taller. On your social media-- Facebook, Twitter, any channel you have-- let it be known that throughout our country, we are #StonewallStrong. By using the hashtag #StonewallStrong, you are continuing to spread the message that our movement is strong, our movement is winning history-- and you, as a part of Stonewall are our movement.
You are strong, and together we are #StonewallStrong.
Stonewall Democrats of Western New York’s 2013 Inaugural Ball
Come celebrate with us the innaguration of our President Barack Obama! Monday, January 21, 2012
At El Museo Gallery / 91 Allen St., Buffalo, NY
5:30 – 9:00 PM
Suggested Donation: $10/per person
*Memberships and Renewals Available for $15/person*Food! Dancing! Music!
Drinks/light hors d’oeuvres will be served. The Stonewall Democrats of Western New York will be hosting our 2013 Inaugural Ball on Monday, January 21, 2013! Together, we will celebrate the history that will be made when our President Barack Obama takes the oath of office for his second term, on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. After you have spent the Day of Service On for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, join us for an evening of food, music, dancing and watching a replay of the Inaugural ceremonies! (Click here to find out more information on Service opportunities a number of us will be participating in on MLK Day.)
\ *SDWNY Memberships and Renewals will available for the discounted price of $15 at the door.*
Stonewall Democrats of WNY commends Congressmember Kathy Hochul on her campaign for the newly created Congressional District NY 27. Rep. Kathy Hochul has been a stellar public servant throughout her career, and has taken her service to historic lengths in Congress. Since her against the odds election, where she triumphed over partisanship and for the ideals of the people, Rep. Hochul and her staff have done incredible work, and been astounding advocates for New York and her district. During her time in Congress, Kathy Hochul has worked tirelessly for the needs of her district and our country.
“In Congress, Kathy Hochul has proven herself to be the impassioned, hard-working public servant we in WNY have always known was not only possible, but inevitable,” said Bryan Ball, president of Stonewall Democrats of WNY. “Kathy has won the hearts, minds and support of WNY throughout her great career, and built on that success in Congress far above how any expectation could have even hoped. I commend Kathy Hochul for the advocate she has been in Congress for WNY; with special consideration to the advocacy she has done for the LGBTQ community, as a co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act. Her service, spirit and dedication are of an undeniably singular caliber of the highest variety. We as a community are without question better for her service in the United States House of Representatives.
We congratulate Rep. Kathy Hochul on the painstakingly hard fought and noble campaign she waged for the new congressional district which was drawn by partisan minds in hopes the district would never afford her a chance at reelection. Kathy Hochul has proven those partisan minds wrong by rising above that divided way of thinking, and coming historically close to winning the district which is now the most Republican in the state.
It is my sincere hope that Chris Collins will be, in Congress, a person who learns to understand the value and duty of public service, the people he will represent and the inherent human dignity of all Americans.“
Dear Stonewall Democrats and Allies,
I know you know. Today is election day. And this election day, more than any other that has come before, there is more on the line for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender New Yorkers and Americans than ever before.
The history we have been a part of in these last few years is simply astounding. When I hear the question asked during the campaign "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" I cannot help but immediately think of each vicotry we as the LGBTQ community have made not only as part of the Obama presidency, but here in New York. In the last four years, we have passed Marriage Equality and the Dignity for All Students bill here in our state. And in the last four years, President Obama and his administration have made history by repealing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and making tremendous progress on issues such as hospital visitation for LGBTQ families. Absolutely, we have more work to be done before our task is completed, before we as LGBTQ Americans have full equality under the law. The work will not be finished until we have passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, repealed the Defense of Marriage Act, established Immigration equality and passed a transgender-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act. But we will finish the work we have started.
To finish our work, we have to reelect and elect our supporters. Never before has there been a starker contrast made for LGBTQ Americans. President Obama has become the first stitting president to support Marriage Equality; Mitt Romney supports a federal amendment banning Marriage Equality. Today, will America reelect President Obama- who will work to repeal DOMA- or will we elect Mitt Romney, who has promised to reverse the progress the LGBTQ community has made for our civil rights?
President Obama can't do this alone. He needs our help-- to help the country win. Please, if you are able, voluteer your time and support in any way you can between this moment and when the polls close at 9PM tonight. Do what you can to give President Obama and VP Biden a pro-equality Congress who will do their part to get our work done. Our great Congressmember Kathy Hochul is in an incredibly close race with her Republican opponent, disgraced former Erie County Executive Chris Collins. As in the presidential election, the election for NY 27 could not be a starker choice between two futures. I urge you to do all you can to reelect Kathy Hochul, President Obama, Rep. Brian Higgins and our slate of pro-equality candidates for the state legislature. Because we cannot do this alone. We are all in this together-- and no one will be left behind.
The Obama campaign has volunteer opportunities happening here in WNY now. Phonebanking will be going on at the UAW Region 9 Hall (35 George Karl Blvd. - off of Wehrle Dr) from 9AM-9PM; and a bus will leave from the Hall Tuesday at 6AM (returning at 11PM) to take volunteers to Cleveland, Ohio for GOTV. In addition to the Obama campaign, there are opportunities to volunteer for Kathy Hochul, and you can sign up for a volunteer shift here.
Our local pro-equality candidates here in WNY can also use your help; for any questions about how to become involved with any of our campaigns, please do not hesitate to contact me. I hope to see you on the campaign trail- and at one of what I'm sure will be many victory parties after the election has finished! As always, we will go forward-- never backward.
Yours in equality,
President, Stonewall Democrats of Western New York
PO Box 857
Buffalo, NY 14215www.sdwny.org
In case you missed it: recently surfaced video of Mitt Romney from 2005, with anti-LGBT family bigotry on full display.