Metro Weekly

Bonds, Cheh and Allen top GLAA ratings ahead of D.C.’s November elections

Elissa Silverman and David Schwartzman rate the highest among candidates seeking a second At-Large Council seat

Councilmembers Anita Bonds, Mary Cheh, and Charles Allen – Photos: Facebook.

Incumbent Councilmembers Anita Bonds (D-At-Large), Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) and Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) earned top ratings on a Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA) of Washington, D.C., candidate questionnaire ahead of November’s general election.

The questionnaire is based on GLAA’s policy brief, “Building on Victory,” which outlines the organization’s major legislative goals. It asks officeholders and challengers on their stances on various LGBTQ issues, as well as other progressive causes, such as medical marijuana and the decriminalization of sex work.

Candidates are rated on a scale of -10 to +10 based on their answers to the questionnaire and their record of service on behalf of the LGBTQ community.

Bonds, Cheh, and Allen all earned +10 on their questionnaires, followed by Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) and Councilmember Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1), who earned ratings of +9.5.

D.C. voters may vote for two At-Large candidates this year. But due to the District’s partisan bent, Bonds, as the sole Democrat in the race, is expected to win the lion’s share of votes. That leaves the remaining five candidates fighting over one open seat.

Among those five candidates, Councilmember Elissa Silverman, an Independent, and Statehood-Green Party candidate David Schwartzman earned the highest score of +7.5, edging out out lesbian Dionne Reeder, who earned +7. Independent Rustin Lewis earned a +4 for his responses to the questionnaire, but was penalized for his lack of record on LGBTQ issues, while Republican Ralph Chittams, Sr. earned a rating of -1.

In the Mayor’s race, incumbent Muriel Bowser (D) earned a +7 rating for substantive answers to GLAA’s questions, but was penalized for a lack of “concrete plans for improving employment for underrepresented populations and combating pay-to-play practices.” She was credited for her long record of advocating on behalf of the District’s LGBTQ community.

Her opponents, Statehood-Green Party member Ann Wilcox and Libertarian Martin Moulton earned ratings of +4 and +2.5, respectively. Moulton was particularly penalized for disagreeing with GLAA on the need to support legislative initiatives promoting public health resources like PrEP, as well as his views on housing for LGBTQ seniors and opposition to sealing court documents related to legal sex, gender, and name changes. Independent Dustin “DC” Canter was given a zero rating after failing to submit the questionnaire that had been mailed to him.

In the Council Chairman race, Libertarian Ethan Bishop-Henchman was given a zero rating for failing to submit a questionnaire.

In Ward 1, independent candidate Jamie Sycamore earned a +6, while in Ward 3, Petar Dimtchev earned a rating of +3. Michael Bekesha, the Republican challenging Allen for the Ward 6 seat, earned a +3.5.

And in Ward 5, incumbent Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie ran far ahead of the field with a rating of +8 for LGBTQ issues that he championed on the Council that are in alignment with GLAA’s main legislative priorities.

Conversely, Statehood-Green Party candidate Joyce Robinson-Paul and independent Amone Banks were given zeros for failing to complete the questionnaire. Independent Kathy Henderson also failed to complete the questionnaire, but was marked down to a rating of -1 for a record of opposing the relocation of gay nightclubs and for opposing the establishment of medical marijuana cultivation centers in the ward.

To learn more about GLAA, read its policy brief, and view complete candidate responses, visit glaa.org/projects/elections.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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