Phil Mendelson received the endorsement of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club this evening, winning with 62% of the votes cast. Mendelson’s name was placed in nomination by former Ward Six Councilmember Sharon Ambrose who spoke forcefully of Phil’s “honesty, institutional knowledge and focus on detail that is critical to Council deliberation especially during these fiscally trying times.”
Mendelson has won the Stein endorsement previously, as well as the Stein Justice Award in 2009 and the Wanda Alston Democratic Service Award in 2008. This year, however, the At-Large endorsement prize was particularly important and hard fought.
Campaign supporter, Barbara Helmick, reminded the overflow crowd that Mendelson, the Councilmember who is most responsible for marriage equality in the District, has been the community’s strongest ally on the Council, repealing anti-gay laws in the criminal code, securing full rights and responsibilities of Domestic Partners, and greatly expanding parental rights of LGBT families.
“We need to value our straight allies,” she said, “What do you imagine that it would it say about the political sophistication our community — especially this year — were we not to vote for Phil simply because his opponent is gay?”
“You know a man by the company he keeps,” reminded activist Bob Summersgill, “This year Phil has also been endorsed by the DC Firefighters, Sierra Club, DC for Democracy, DC Latino Caucus, Friends of the Earth Action and too many labor organizations to count — which speaks volumes about his support from the public safety sector, environmental community and working men and women. Phil is the progressive candidate in this race.”
Among those Stein members proudly wearing Mendelson stickers last night were Deacon Maccubbin, of Lambda Rising,two former Stein Club Presidents – Paul Kuntzler and Kurt Vorndran, AIDS activist, Dr. Patricia Hawkins and civil rights legend Dr. Frank Kameny.
Phil was visibly moved by the large outpouring of support from friends and community activists from across the city that enabled him to win the coveted endorsement. “The LGBT community has stood behind me in every race that I’ve ever run,” he said. “But this year, it’s particularly meaningful. I thank the members of Stein for their overwhelming vote of confidence. I’m humbled by their support.”