Lt Governor – Candidates’ Answers

Endorsement Page Answers [PDF]

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www.lelandcheung.com (D) ~ Venture Capitalist , Cambridge City Councilor

  • Q1

    What are the top three issues you would prioritize in your term?

1. I’m running because I believe everyone throughout Massachusetts should have the opportunity to build a better future — not just a chosen few born in the right zip code, with the right name, or with the right connections. As Lieutenant Governor, I’ll use what I’ve learned working in the private sector, helping residents as a local elected official, and bringing innovation to fruition in both the state and national administration to build on Governor Patrick’s legacy of strengthening the Commonwealth.

There are three Key Issues necessary to continuing to fulfill that vision. First, we need to invest in education – from Pre-K to affordable college to workforce training. Ideally I’d like to fund this via progressive taxation, but the funding mechanism is secondary to the need.

As a child of immigrants, I know the transformative power a strong education and how that leads to careers, not just jobs, which help our children to achieve their full potential. I also understand the importance of ensuring that we protect our workers by ensuring that they have access to paid sick time, comprehensive healthcare, and job protections. As Lieutenant Governor, I will leverage partnerships with emerging industries in Massachusetts to make sure that everyone — regardless of race, gender, sexual identity, hometown, or educational background – has access to a modern job and a living wage — not just for the economy we have now, but in the economy we will build for the future.”

A second component is investing in infrastructure. Massachusetts needs to start thinking of itself as one Commonwealth and realize that what happens to someone in Pittsfield matters to someone in Boston. This means not only continuing the Patrick administration’s work to modernize our roads, rails, and broadband access to grow businesses, but working with our universities, community colleges, and vocational schools to ensure we have the well-trained workforce that allow businesses to thrive going forward. This is the only way to ensure that every metro area and gateway city in the Commonwealth is as attractive and prosperous as the Boston Metro area is and fundamentally necessary for equality.

Finally, as one of a few dozen people appointed by Chairman Walsh last year to draft the Democratic Party Platform, and as the person who worked on more sections than anyone except the chair – there is no one more vested than I am in making sure those aren’t just words on paper, but put into action. Crucial to that is ensuring equality for all. I wrote a lengthy op-ed on this which won’t fit in to this box, which an be found here: http://www.lelandcheung.com/believe

On the Cambridge City Council I have been a vocal advocate for the voiceless and a tireless defender of any one suffering discrimination. I have fought for and secured funding for our GLBT Commission. I was the crucial vote in making sure all city employees took home the same amount of pay whether they were in a same-sex or opposite-sex marriage (pre-DOMA demise), and have fought to provide funding for programs for LGBT seniors. As a minority myself, I realize that social progress requires vocal allies – I have nothing to gain by helping other groups being discriminated against so I feel it is incumbent upon me as an elected official to lead in that way. For example, I was the lead sponsor of every legislative order instructing the City Solicitor to sign on to the DOMA Amicus Briefs filed by GLAD. I will never back down from fighting for those being discriminated or prejudiced against for whatever reason.”

  • Q2A

    Do you promise and pledge NOT to participate and/or march in the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade if it continues to exclude LGBTQ groups from participating?

I WILL NOT march.

  • Q2B

    If you checked WILL MARCH, please explain your position or rationale?

Have not; will not.

  • Q3A

    Do you pledge to support the state legislature’s bill An Act Relative to HIV-Associated Lipodystrophy Treatment?

Yes.

  • Q3B

    What actions would you take to ensure that all residents have access to HIV/AIDS treatment, services & resources?

Throughout my tenure on the Cambridge City Council, I have developed a proven track record of advocating for increased access to HIV/AIDS treatment, services and resources. I have advocated for increase funding for Youth on Fire, a program of AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts that serves as a drop-in center for homeless and street-involved youth and helped fundraise for Youth on Fire and BAGLY. I have worked with local social service providers to identify improvements that can be made to provide residents and homeless with increased access to vital physical and mental health services and transitional housing programs. I also sponsored a bill calling for the United States Department of Health and Human services to end offensive and inaccurate bans that restrict gay males from donating blood despite critical blood shortages nationwide. As Lieutenant Governor, I will work to increase local aid so that cities and towns are able to enhance local social service programs, particularly HIV/AIDS treatment and resources.

  • Q3C

    Do you support and rate as important HIV prevention programs and initiatives, given that new HIV infections continue to increase, particularly disproportionately among gay and bisexual young men, especially those of color?
[Technical issue on our end; answer not captured. Reaching out to candidate for answer.]
  • Q4

    What steps will you take to decrease violence and increase safety for all residents in Dorchester?

It is imperative that we take steps to decrease violence across the Commonwealth to ensure that each and every resident feels safe, comfortable, and secure in their community. As a Cambridge City Councillor, I worked with the Cambridge Police to implement CitiStat, a data analytics program that tracks crime, analyzes trends, and predicts future waves of crime so that police are able to direct resources appropriately. I hope to bring cutting edge technologies like this to communities across the Commonwealth.

More importantly, I have fought to put more social workers on the streets, not just police, to connect non-violent offenders to pathway to a better life, not just time in jail, before they become so desparate as to become violent. I am in favor of tighter gun laws; however, the best way to have a substantial impact in decreasing violence and increasing safety is to invest in the education and support we give our residents and kids, offering them REAL pathways to careers that allow them to safely provide for themselves and their families. We spend more to incarcerate a criminal per year than we spend on a students education and more than many families make in a year. We need to invest in our values and provide real opportunity to all of our residents.

  • Q5

    What actions would you take to ensure that attention is brought to LGBT victims of violence including domestic violence, and what have you done to reduce violence against LGBT residents?

Domestic violence is a serious problem that impacts the ability of LGBTQ individuals to lead healthful, successful lives. I have advocated on behalf of increased funding for transitional housing programs for victims of domestic abuse, and affordable environments to live in after they leave shelters. As Lieutenant Governor, I will call for increased to prevention and education programs, emergency shelters and court advocacy programs. It is my priority to serve as a voice for the voiceless, and an ally to those fighting for equality on the statewide level.

  • Q6A

    Conversion therapy for minors, people under the age of 18, which seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, has been shown in evidence, to be harmful to youth, and all leading behavioral and mental health organizations and associations oppose it due to lack of evidence, with science showing and noting its harmful effects. Anti-conversion therapy bills have become law in California and New Jersey (signed into law by Gov. Christie), and anti-conversion therapy bills are expected to be considered again in the coming legislative session in many states, including Massachusetts, which has a bill in place and ready for legislative action. (Other states expected to move forward with anti-conversion therapy bills, in reverse alphabetical order, are WA, PA, OH, NY, MN and FL).
    Do you promise to support Massachusetts’ state legislative bill against conversion therapy?

Yes.

  • Q6B

    As you may know, death by suicide is the leading cause of death among LGBT youth. Approximately 40% of homeless youth are LGBT, and approximately 28% of LGBT youth drop out of high school because of verbal and physical abuse, harassment or bullying.
    Given these startling statistics, what actions have you taken or will you take to address these important issues?

Throughout my tenure on the Cambridge City Council I have repeatedly fought to make Cambridge schools more inclusive. This has included the allocation of appropriate resources to combat bullying in schools regardless of orientation, strengthening existing laws for cyber bullying, ensuring all school personnel are trained to respond to bullying when it arises. As Lieutenant Governor, I will use my position to advance these measures throughout all of Massachusetts 351 cities and towns. As mentioned previously, I have worked directly with local non-profits to support homeless LGBT youth who find their way to Cambridge because of the caring environment I’ve helped foster for them.

  • Q7

    It is believed that there are anywhere between 1.6 to 3.2 million LGBT people who are age 65 or older. Many of these LGBT elders are invisible to mainstream elder service providers and also invisible to the LGBT community as a whole.
    What actions would you take to ensure that LGBT elders have access to elder services and resources and to increase access by making existing services culturally competent?

I firmly believe that all seniors should have access to high quality local resources and services. They are some of our most vulnerable members of society, and we have an obligation as a society to treat them with dignity and respect. LGBT seniors should not only be able to access these services with the same ease as their heterosexual counterparts, but particular attention needs to be paid in terms of making them aware that such services are in place and ready to help them. I have working experience in expanding the local Cambridge Council on Aging fighting to allow residents to ‘age in place’, which housing assistance to those who require it. I have worked to fund programs particularly aimed at assisting LGBT seniors.

Frankly though – this question is poorly composed. I was taught to respect all my elders. While special services are needed for LGBT elders, they face the exact same shortfalls in funding and services that many seniors face. Those shortfalls pose peril to their well being and LIVES, not only their ability to express themselves as who they are. Let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture that there is a shortage of services and support, period.

  • Q8A

    Do you pledge to support the state legislature’s bill, The Transgender Equality Bill? This bill would add gender identity and gender expression to existing state law against discrimination in public accommodations, such as restaurants, public libraries, and other public facilities, already in place regarding other protected classes (e.g. race, religion, sex, national origin, disability and sexual orientation)?

Yes.

  • Q8B

    Massachusetts’ education officials this past year have issued new guidelines governing the inclusion of transgender students, following the passage of state law in 2011 adding gender identity and gender expression protections to existing state law protecting sexual orientation to other protected classes in the areas of employment, housing, credit, hate crimes and public education.Do you support these guidelines?

Yes.

  • Q8C

    What actions will you take to insure the transgender community is treated with equal dignity and respect?

I will advocate for the end of offensive and unnecessary stigma that federal, state, local laws put on LGBT Americans. Under the current wording of many laws ranging from the local to national level, gender identity often fails to be brought under the larger civil rights umbrella. Therefore, I find it necessary to include this language into the existing law – as I have already done on the Cambridge City Council – on the statewide level. We as a society have an obligation to ensure that we adhere to the equal protection clause as outlined in the Constitution, and therefore it is imperative to clarify laws bringing transgendered individuals under such protections.

Title 8, Chapter 7 of the US Immigration Code is still titled “‘Exclusion of Chinese'”, even though underlying law has been repealed. I WILL NOT STAND for unequal treatment towards any group or community no matter what form it takes. Dignity and respect are not enough. I refuse to allow my daughter to grow up in a Commonwealth where she could be treated differently depending on how she decides to self-identify. I will support any law, advocate for any cause, and do whatever it takes until we have TRUE equality.

Ever since I was first elected I have made my personal cell phone publicly available – not as a gimmick – but to be available to anyone in need of help or with an idea to share. It is 617-444-9080. I will take whatever action you ask of me because I recognize that we, sadly, still live in a discriminatory state despite how progressive we think Massachusetts is. The reality is I haven’t walked in this community’s shoes. I don’t know firsthand all of the issues the transgender community faces. But I know that discrimination is wrong and will do whatever is asked of me to end it.

  • Q9

    How have you supported the LGBTQ community in the past?

As a Cambridge City Councillor, I have been proud to serve as an advocate for the LGBT community, whether it be by sponsoring three policy orders signing the City of Cambridge on as a signatory on amicus briefs for all DOMA challenges and calling on Congress to swiftly pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 to affirm the belief that a person’s sexual orientation or identity has nothing to do with the ability to perform their job by making it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to promote employees because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

As Lieutenant Governor, I will call for increased funding to prevention and education programs, emergency shelters and court advocacy programs. I believe that civil rights, constitutional equality and racial equity are necessary components for a diverse, productive society.

  • Q10

    If endorsed by DotOUT, will you include this endorsement whenever you list, name or state endorsements (e.g. in promotions, flyers, letters to voters, ads, speeches and/or media interviews)?

Yes.

www.stevekerrigan.orgn (D) ~ 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee Co-Chair, Ex-Lancaster Selectman, Ex-Congressional Aide

  • Q1

    What are the top three issues you would prioritize in your term?

I intend to be a full partner with the next Democratic Governor to pursue a progressive agenda and carry out the administration’s policies. I believe government must protect the most vulnerable among us, provide the basic services upon which we all depend, provide for the public’s safety and general well-being, ensure justice and equal opportunity for all, and create the environment for economic growth and prosperity. You will be able to count on me to be an advocate within the administration and state government to protect and preserve programs that effectively address the problems of the LGBTQ community.

My first priority would be to ask the Governor to appoint me as head of a new Competitiveness Council to examine all areas of life in Massachusetts to determine how best to grow our economy and improve our quality of life. One of the Council’s chief aims would be to help workers and families better afford to live, thrive and enjoy a higher quality of life. Among other things, the Council would explore our state tax structure, government tax incentives, our education system from early education to public higher education, rising income inequality, worker training and transportation. Our goal must be to expand opportunities for all – in all corners of the Commonwealth and for people at every level of society.

To ensure that state budget dollars are being correctly directed towards our most pressing needs, I would also seek to head a Government Efficiency Initiative that would look at state government from top to bottom. This initiative would be geared towards ensuring that precious state resources are being used correctly and toward their intended aims.

I would also transform the Lieutenant Governor’s office into a first stop for communication from citizens, local officials, advocates, businesses, non-profits, unions and others with problems or concerns about state government – where they can not only be heard, but also get answers, solutions and results.

The overarching goal of my priorities is to make better use of state resources so we can more adequately fund our efforts to help those in need, shore up our social safety net and prevent against the recurring practice of closing budget gaps by cutting critical social service programs.

  • Q2A

    Do you promise and pledge NOT to participate and/or march in the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade if it continues to exclude LGBTQ groups from participating?

I will NOT march.

  • Q2B

    If you checked WILL MARCH, please explain your position or rationale?

N/A.

  • Q3A

    Do you pledge to support the state legislature’s bill An Act Relative to HIV-Associated Lipodystrophy Treatment?

Yes.

  • Q3B

    What actions would you take to ensure that all residents have access to HIV/AIDS treatment, services & resources?

I will consider it a personal responsibility to ensure that the Governor’s budget reflects the need to protect members of the LGBTQ community and others living with HIV/AIDS and that the Commonwealth makes every effort to afford them the protection, care and respect they deserve.

My first priority in this regard would be to ensure that we adopt the necessary state funding levels for services and support for those infected, those family members and others similarly affected or at risk. I would work to build on our investments in HIV prevention and education services and support comprehensive sexual education in schools that is medically accurate and age-appropriate as part this education and prevention effort. I also believe we should fund increased HIV testing availability and work with insurers to provide better coverage for special drugs and treatments.

A major piece in halting new infections is to increase awareness among and to educate a new generation of LGBTQ youth on the dangers of HIV, how HIV is transmitted, and the importance of prevention.

  • Q3C

    Do you support and rate as important HIV prevention programs and initiatives, given that new HIV infections continue to increase, particularly disproportionately among gay and bisexual young men, especially those of color?

Yes.

  • Q4

    What steps will you take to decrease violence and increase safety for all residents in Dorchester?

During my time in the Attorney General’s Office, I saw how our Safe Neighborhood Initiative, with its strong partnerships with community organizations such as the Colonel Marr Boys & Girls Club and the Paul McLaughlin Youth Center, were able to make a real difference. The answer cannot simply be on the enforcement side; community policing programs and dedicated prosecutors who understand the community a certainly part of the solution.

The Commonwealth must play a significant and consistent role in supporting the programs that we know will work – prevention and intervention programs, neighborhood revitalization efforts, a more intense focus on rehabilitation and recovery programs for those struggling with addiction, and coordination with neighborhood businesses and health providers.

What we have learned in the decades since the so-called Boston Miracle of the ‘90s is that success against the scourge of urban violence is no “miracle” at all. It is the result of hard work and sustained support for the programs that work and continued presence and involvement of leaders within the community. I will be a Lieutenant Governor that will not be tied to Beacon Hill but will be out in the neighborhoods and communities listening to local leaders and residents on how we are doing and what the state can be doing better.

  • Q5

    What actions would you take to ensure that attention is brought to LGBT victims of violence including domestic violence, and what have you done to reduce violence against LGBT residents?

The state has made great strides in recent years in combating hate crimes and domestic violence, but there is more work to do especially among LGBTQ victims to remove the stigma associated with these crimes and give victims the support and protections they need and deserve. I would be a point person within the administration for the advocacy and support groups within the community to ensure the state is doing it all it can to confront these issues head-on and that we address gaps in the system with the appropriate legislative remedies.

I also will push for more training for law enforcement, social workers, health care professionals and others first responders to heighten awareness and sensitivity to this problem and the ways to best identify the signs of domestic violence among LGBTQ residents.

  • Q6A

    Conversion therapy for minors, people under the age of 18, which seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, has been shown in evidence, to be harmful to youth, and all leading behavioral and mental health organizations and associations oppose it due to lack of evidence, with science showing and noting its harmful effects. Anti-conversion therapy bills have become law in California and New Jersey (signed into law by Gov. Christie), and anti-conversion therapy bills are expected to be considered again in the coming legislative session in many states, including Massachusetts, which has a bill in place and ready for legislative action. (Other states expected to move forward with anti-conversion therapy bills, in reverse alphabetical order, are WA, PA, OH, NY, MN and FL).
    Do you promise to support Massachusetts’ state legislative bill against conversion therapy?

Yes.

  • Q6B

    As you may know, death by suicide is the leading cause of death among LGBT youth. Approximately 40% of homeless youth are LGBT, and approximately 28% of LGBT youth drop out of high school because of verbal and physical abuse, harassment or bullying.
    Given these startling statistics, what actions have you taken or will you take to address these important issues?

We have made great strides in addressing bullying in schools, but significant work remains to be done to ensure that strong anti-bullying programs are implemented to ensure that LGBTQ youth and children of LGBTQ families are protected in their places of learning. I will work with advocates to help members of the Legislature understand the importance of these protections to young people at these most vulnerable stages of their lives. I will make sure the Department of Education is fully committed to this effort as well as partnering with school districts and local law enforcement to make sure schools are properly addressing these issues and that police are properly trained. I believe we also can do more to leverage the combined efforts of government and non-profit organizations to help all troubled youth, LGBTQ and others, access support within their own communities.

  • Q7

    It is believed that there are anywhere between 1.6 to 3.2 million LGBT people who are age 65 or older. Many of these LGBT elders are invisible to mainstream elder service providers and also invisible to the LGBT community as a whole.
    What actions would you take to ensure that LGBT elders have access to elder services and resources and to increase access by making existing services culturally competent?

I believe it is an entirely appropriate and necessary role for the Executive Office of Elder Affairs to work to ensure appropriate services to LGBTQ older adults and caregivers that focuses on the prevention and elimination of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity are available and accessible. I will work with the Governor and the Secretary to ensure that such a curriculum is developed within the first year of the administration and that the necessary attention is given to addressing the needs of this population. I will make sure the voice of the LGBTQ elderly community is heard within the administration and that our nominee for Secretary shares our values.

  • Q8A

    Do you pledge to support the state legislature’s bill, The Transgender Equality Bill? This bill would add gender identity and gender expression to existing state law against discrimination in public accommodations, such as restaurants, public libraries, and other public facilities, already in place regarding other protected classes (e.g. race, religion, sex, national origin, disability and sexual orientation)?

Yes.

  • Q8B

    Massachusetts’ education officials this past year have issued new guidelines governing the inclusion of transgender students, following the passage of state law in 2011 adding gender identity and gender expression protections to existing state law protecting sexual orientation to other protected classes in the areas of employment, housing, credit, hate crimes and public education.Do you support these guidelines?

Yes.

  • Q8C

    What actions will you take to insure the transgender community is treated with equal dignity and respect?

If we truly believe in equality for all, we must strive to create a society where every individual is afforded the rights and respect that he or she deserves. This is the next major fight for equality in our community. The truest test of our commitment for equality for all is how we treat each other. I will lead within state government to ensure that transgender people are free from discrimination in all areas of life and lobby the legislature to ensure equal treatment. There are some in our community who fail to appreciate that injustice against any in our community is injustice for all. It is time the entire LGBTQ community steps up on behalf of transgender rights.

  • Q9

    How have you supported the LGBTQ community in the past?

If elected, I would become the first openly gay Lieutenant Governor in the nation. I will use the unique platform granted the Lieutenant Governor to be a fierce advocate for issues important to the LGBTQ community – and important to me personally, as a gay man. As I did with my role at in leading the Democratic National Convention and the Presidential Inaugural Committee, I will use my position as a leader in state government to advance the cause of equality and fairness for all.

As CEO of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte in 2012, I was proud to oversee what was widely hailed as the most inclusive and welcoming national political convention ever to the LGBTQ community and the issues the community cares about. That spirit of inclusion included scheduling prominent LGBTQ speakers during high profile, prime time slots, videos on marriage equality and repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and the first-ever national party platform that recognized marriage equality as a basic human right.

As a member of the Board of Selectmen in Lancaster when the town was considering a permit application for a local event hosted by the Boy Scouts of America, I successfully pushed the local chapter of the Boy Scouts to acknowledge that they did not support the national group’s ban on openly gay scout members. Also, I worked as a member of Senator Kennedy’s staff to gain passage of ENDA, going back to 1996 when Senator Kennedy first introduced the legislation.

  • Q10

    If endorsed by DotOUT, will you include this endorsement whenever you list, name or state endorsements (e.g. in promotions, flyers, letters to voters, ads, speeches and/or media interviews)?

Yes.

www.electmikelake.com (D) ~ Non-Profit Group CEO, Ex-Clinton White House Aide

  • Q1

    What are the top three issues you would prioritize in your term?

• When I worked at the White House, President Clinton would often remind us that “the best social program is indeed a good job.” My first priority is not just creating and attracting jobs to Massachusetts, but specifically bringing jobs that pay a livable wage, jobs that create a career path and jobs that allow families to afford to live and work in Massachusetts. I am the only candidate in this race that has a track record of bringing jobs to our Commonwealth.

• I will work collaboratively with public, private and academic sectors to align our education system, from early childhood and post-secondary education to vocational retraining, with the needs and opportunities of the 21st century.

• The third pillar of a strong family, strong community and strong economy is access to housing. Securing the safety and well-being of families by increasing efforts to provide affordable housing and move the 4,100 homeless families into sustainable housing, working with non-profit organizations and public agencies to house homeless youth (recognizing that our LGBT youth in Massachusetts are at great risk).

  • Q2A

    Do you promise and pledge NOT to participate and/or march in the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade if it continues to exclude LGBTQ groups from participating?

I will NOT march.

  • Q2B

    If you checked WILL MARCH, please explain your position or rationale?

N/A.

  • Q3A

    Do you pledge to support the state legislature’s bill An Act Relative to HIV-Associated Lipodystrophy Treatment?

Yes.

  • Q3B

    What actions would you take to ensure that all residents have access to HIV/AIDS treatment, services & resources?

I believe that health care access is a universal human right that should not be held hostage. I am currently serving my second term on the Board of Visitors at Fenway Health where I have been a public advocate for health care access and elimination of disparities for the LGBT community. When elected, I will continue to stand up for quality health care in every corner of our Commonwealth to make sure that every one of our citizens, regardless of age, sexual orientation, has equal access to quality healthcare. We must continue to remember that in order to move Massachusetts forward, we need to invest in our greatest resource: our people.

  • Q3C

    Do you support and rate as important HIV prevention programs and initiatives, given that new HIV infections continue to increase, particularly disproportionately among gay and bisexual young men, especially those of color?

Yes.

  • Q4

    What steps will you take to decrease violence and increase safety for all residents in Dorchester?

I have campaigned on what I call the Massachusetts Promise. This is the promise of high quality education for every child, the promise of jobs that pay a livable wage and the promise of safe communities for us to live and work in. Among the initiatives established by the Clinton Administration was an investment in our police. President Clinton added more than 100,000 new police officers to our communities. I believe in the power of community police—officers dedicated to community and to our neighborhoods and the people who live in them. I often explain to people that though I was raised by a single mother, I was supported by a community. I believe that state and local leaders, residents and community activists can and should all be working in collaboration to address the needless violence that has threatened our neighborhoods and taken too many lives from mourning families.

  • Q5

    What actions would you take to ensure that attention is brought to LGBT victims of violence including domestic violence, and what have you done to reduce violence against LGBT residents?

One of the many incredible services for the LGBT population that is provided by Fenway Community Health Center is the Violence Recovery Program. Though this program existed long before I joined Fenway Community Health Center, it is nonetheless one of the programs that I believe in strongly. This program provides what I believe to be the three critical dynamics of addressing violence against LGBT residents: it builds awareness of the issue among LGBT and non-LGBT residents, it provides services for those affected and the loved ones of those affected by hate crimes or domestic violence or police brutality, etc. and it provides one of the most important underlying needs—respect. Though I am proud of the work of Fenway, I also recognize that much needs to be done to prevent such violence. Among the efforts I would support is more inclusionary education, more training for public officials around the sensitivity of this issue and I would use the pulpit of the Lt. Governor’s office to bring attention to such violence and work with community partners to implement other preventative and supportive measures.

  • Q6A

    Conversion therapy for minors, people under the age of 18, which seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression, has been shown in evidence, to be harmful to youth, and all leading behavioral and mental health organizations and associations oppose it due to lack of evidence, with science showing and noting its harmful effects. Anti-conversion therapy bills have become law in California and New Jersey (signed into law by Gov. Christie), and anti-conversion therapy bills are expected to be considered again in the coming legislative session in many states, including Massachusetts, which has a bill in place and ready for legislative action. (Other states expected to move forward with anti-conversion therapy bills, in reverse alphabetical order, are WA, PA, OH, NY, MN and FL).
    Do you promise to support Massachusetts’ state legislative bill against conversion therapy?

Yes.

  • Q6B

    As you may know, death by suicide is the leading cause of death among LGBT youth. Approximately 40% of homeless youth are LGBT, and approximately 28% of LGBT youth drop out of high school because of verbal and physical abuse, harassment or bullying.
    Given these startling statistics, what actions have you taken or will you take to address these important issues?

It is my understanding that the Commonwealth’s bullying law bill is gaining support and I hope it passes before I am elected. That said, if it is not, I would be happy to use my position to encourage legislative leadership to bring the bill to a full floor vote in the beginning of the new legislative session. I would also encourage the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to strengthen oversight and enforcement of the current bullying law. There are still too many stories of students who are being bullied while nothing is being done about it. The social and emotional impacts created by bullying at such a young age have not only immediate affects, but long-term impacts as well that could and should have been prevented.

In addition to the above, I would work with the non-profit community to help alleviate this problem in our communities while the legislative process takes place. Having welcomed an individual in such a situation to join my family for holidays and connecting this person with sustainable housing, I have witnessed, first-hand, the struggles that must be endured. No youth, LGBTQ or not, should ever face such struggles—especially alone. The programs and services that we currently provide and the ones yet to come, are not enough; we must also build awareness of these initiatives so that those in need know how/where to access each program or service. My friend, who became a special part of our family, took his own life a year and a half ago. He had people all around him that loved him and knew him. Unfortunately, we did not know how deep his pain was—he needed help and he did not know where to find it and did not want to ask for it. Access and awareness are just as important as the programs and services themselves.

  • Q7

    It is believed that there are anywhere between 1.6 to 3.2 million LGBT people who are age 65 or older. Many of these LGBT elders are invisible to mainstream elder service providers and also invisible to the LGBT community as a whole.
    What actions would you take to ensure that LGBT elders have access to elder services and resources and to increase access by making existing services culturally competent?

Similar to the other issues and legislation discussed above, I would use my role to encourage and advocate for the older LGBT community. I would engage stakeholders and strategize on best tactics to support its passage. In addition, I believe this will involve an awareness/education campaign so that elected officials and the public understand that no person should be uncomfortable being themselves. Gay couples should not have to pretend to be something else later in life simply because we do not have facilities that understand their needs or would not discriminate against them. There is no reason why gay couples should not be permitted to live their entire lives with dignity and pride.

  • Q8A

    Do you pledge to support the state legislature’s bill, The Transgender Equality Bill? This bill would add gender identity and gender expression to existing state law against discrimination in public accommodations, such as restaurants, public libraries, and other public facilities, already in place regarding other protected classes (e.g. race, religion, sex, national origin, disability and sexual orientation)?

Yes.

  • Q8B

    Massachusetts’ education officials this past year have issued new guidelines governing the inclusion of transgender students, following the passage of state law in 2011 adding gender identity and gender expression protections to existing state law protecting sexual orientation to other protected classes in the areas of employment, housing, credit, hate crimes and public education.Do you support these guidelines?

Yes.

  • Q8C

    What actions will you take to insure the transgender community is treated with equal dignity and respect?

I was the only candidate to use the pulpit of my convention speech to discuss the rights of our transgender friends and neighbors. I explained that when I served in the Clinton Administration one of the most profound moments I experienced was when the President talked about the unlocking of the human genome and how for the first time in human history we now have scientific proof that every human being on the planet is 99% the same. If we are 99% the same then the transgender community deserves every bit of dignity and respect that others receive, the deserve equal rights and they should not have to fight for it, it should already be granted. I am excited to use the office of Lt. Governor to create more justice in our society, to stand up for and with those who need a partner in state government to move the issue forward toward resolution. Again, the heart of the Massachusetts Promise is about social justice and economic empowerment, we need both these components for Massachusetts to reach its full promise and hope.

  • Q9

    How have you supported the LGBTQ community in the past?

I have been a strong and consistent advocate for the LGBTQ community in my non-elected life. Over the last fifteen years, I spent time working for progressive Democrats. When I served as Finance Director for the Angus McQuilken for State Senate campaign LGBTQ rights were a large focus for our campaign. During that campaign I was an outspoken supporter of equal marriage during a pivotal time in the fight.

As an activist I was the only candidate in this race who stood with the LGBTQ community to protest in favor of Gay Marriage at the Constitutional Convention in 2004 wearing my homemade “Straight But Not Narrow” t-shirt. This distinction is one of the reasons why I received the endorsements of the Baystate Stonewall Democrats and the support of the two Stonewall veterans living in Massachusetts as well as the highest ranking LGBT elected official in Massachusetts (Eileen Duff) and major LGBT activists like Katherine Patrick the Governor’s daughter. They believe that an ally—whether straight or gay—is more valuable than a silent friend.

In 2010 I ran for State Auditor. In my time as a candidate I never hesitated in fully embracing a platform inclusive of LGBT equality.

I am currently serving my second term on the Board of Visitors at Fenway Health. In this position I have been a public advocate for health care access and elimination of disparities for the LGBTQ community.

When I am elected, I will continue to be an advocate and partner for the LGBTQ community by leveraging the pulpit of the Lt. Governor’s office to bring attention and awareness to inequality and injustice. I would build on relationships with legislators to build strong coalitions of support. I will strive to earn and deserve one adjective that I am most proud has been used to describe me… an ally. I know and understand that the LGBTQ community values the critical need for allies in this continued movement for civil rights and equality.

  • Q10

    If endorsed by DotOUT, will you include this endorsement whenever you list, name or state endorsements (e.g. in promotions, flyers, letters to voters, ads, speeches and/or media interviews)?

Yes.