VA Democrats Pick their Candidates, LGBT Issues Briefly Discussed
Photos by Maya Earls
Democratic candidates gathered Wednesday at a breakfast event after Tuesday’s statewide Democratic Primary to announce the party’s choices for Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General in the upcoming 2013 general elections.
Former chairman of the national Democratic Party and Fairfax County businessman Terry McAuliffe will face GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli in the race for the state’s top job. McAuliffe was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2009 Virginia gubernatorial primary.
State Senator Ralph Northam, (D-Norfolk) was chosen in the race for Lieutenant Governor to take on Republican E.W. Jackson, a Chesapeake, Va., minister with a track record of vehemently anti-gay remarks, who has called LGBT people “perverse,” pedophiles, and sick, and who has equated Planned Parenthood with the Ku Klux Klan. The party’s ticket was rounded out by state Senator Mark Herring (D-Loudon)chose to run in the race for attorney general against GOP candidate Mark Obenshain, also a Virginia state Senator.
During Wednesday’s event, McAuliffe’s speech focused on job creation, education and women’s rights.
“I never viewed education as an expense,” said McAuliffe. “I view education as an investment”
He went on to put emphasis on the differences between the Democratic and Republican tickets.
“The Tea Party ticket focuses on issues that divide Virginians, attacking planned parenthood, attacking and demonizing gay Virginians and promoting disproven claims against Obama’s place of birth,” said Mcauliffe.
This would be his only reference to LGBT issues during his speech.
When pressed by GayRVA regarding his stance on LGBTQ issues in Virginia during the question and answer period, McAuliffe pointed at Northam and asked for the next question without answer on the topic.
Herring, Northam, and McEachin
Northam discussed education, transportation and women’s health during his acceptance speech.
“We have to get people back to work…and [stop] the attack on women,” said Northam.
He was also the only candidate to directly mention support for LGBT issues in his speech.
“The discrimination against the LGBT community needs to stop,” said Northam.
Senator Herring also made no reference to LGBTQ issues in his speech, instead focusing on the the opposing views of the Democratic and Republican tickets.
“We have a great weapon, the truth,” said Herring. He added that the vision of the Republican ticket “is way outside the mainstream and that is not the Virginia that people want.”
“Virginians want to build the American dream,” said Herring in conclusion. “And we are on their side”
James Parrish, Executive Director of Equality Virginia, last week had questioned the GOP ticket’s ability to represent all Virginia families.
“Ken Cuccinelli, E.W. Jackson, and Mark Obenshain are openly hostile to LGBT families in communities across the Commonwealth. We deserve leaders who will represent and work for all Virginia families, regardless of whom they love. These attacks and outrageous statements demonstrate just how far these candidates are outside the mainstream,” said Parrish, in a statement.
Overall turnout for the Democratic primary was considered historically low, with much of the lack of interest attributed to voter fatigue after voting in the 2012 presidential race.
During yesterday’s primary, GayRVA spoke with Richmond resident David Mills who did make it out to show his support for his preferred Democratic candidates. Mills called the 2013 Republican ticket the “most extreme, far-right ticket” he’d ever seen.
“Are we going to put ourselves on a path for expanding opportunity and being an inclusive and welcoming state,” said Mills about advancing LGBT issues in Virginia. “Or are we going to be a closed-off state that doesn’t work with the federal government, doesn’t work with the local government and says that we are out for the few, such as wealthy Virginians or men.”
Maya Earls and is a second-year journalism student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She was born in Los Angeles, and moved to Richmond in 2000. Her first journalism experience was managing social media for the Rock4Life benefit concert.She enjoys exploring Richmond on her bike and finding good views of the river. Her favorite past-time is watching people dance in their cars from her apartment window.
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