Openly gay candidates running for seats
in the New York City Council have reached an all time high.
& Lesbian Victory Fund, a group that promotes openly gay
elected officials, is backing six candidates for New York City
Vice President Denis Dison confirmed to
On Top Magazine that the group's endorsements were a new
record for a single city, but he also noted that the New York City
Council is unusually large, consisting of 51 members.
“We have in the past endorsed 3 of 5
members of the West Hollywood City Council,” Dison said.
Only two of the endorsements are
incumbents – Speaker
Christine Quinn and Rosie Mendez of Manhattan. There are three
candidates from Queens – Lynn Schulman, James Van Bramer and Daniel
Dromm – and one from Brooklyn, Bob Zuckerman.
The most high-profile contest is in
district 3, where Quinn is running to keep her seat against two out
lesbians, Maria Passannante-Derr and Yetta Kurland. The three women
sparred during a debate sponsored by gay weekly Gay
City News last week. Quinn, who is running for a third term,
was quizzed on a number of issues, including not challenging Mayor
“This election is about an arrogant
incumbent that has sold out our community for a right-wing Republican
mayor,” Passannante-Derr said.
“I am incredibly proud of the work
that I do and my staff does every day for the residents of this
district,” Quinn said in response to the accusation that she was an
“absentee” councilmember. “Whether it's standing up with the
residents on 22nd Street when they faced a landlord who
was going to take over their home for use by his own, beating that
back. … I'm incredibly proud of when there's been crime in our
district, the work that I've been able to do with our local police
officers … I'm proud of the work I've done in our Housing Authority
buildings, bringing them cameras that helped reduce crime in those
projects, and proud of having gone door to door in those projects, to
help identify problems where services weren't being delivered, and
enroll people who live in the Fulton Houses on food stamps – that's
Her response drew a thunderous response
from the crowd, proving that Quinn remains popular in her district
after nearly a decade of service. But to maintain her position as
speaker, she must deliver a decided victory in November.
Dromm wants to fill the district 25 seat currently held by Helen
Sears. It's Dromm's freshman run at politics after serving 24 years
as a public school teacher in Queens.
Mendez is asking voters for four more years as their district 2
representative. Mendez's official City Council bio says she has
defended “members of the LGBT community from unlawful arrests.”
Mendez has endorsed district 29
Schulman, a former top hospital executive taking her first stab
Van Bramer is the very out district 26 candidate who is running
on a decades-old record of gay and AIDS activism and an impressive
resume of grassroots organizing. Van Bramer is comfortable with
being the gay candidate, as opposed to being the candidate who
happens to be gay. “Part of being openly gay in politics,” he
told Gay City News, “is bringing the full truth of who you
are to everything you do and everyone you meet. And in the end,
people embrace equality and justice, I think, certainly in this
Zuckerman also highlights his LGBT accomplishments when asked why
he's the best candidate for district 39 representation. Zuckerman, a
lawyer and businessman, created “Out to Work: The LGBT Career Fair”
while serving as Executive Director of the Greenwich Village-Chelsea
Chamber of Commerce.
All six candidates are Democrats and
must first win a September 15 primary election to proceed to the
November general election.