Sacramento Stonewall Democrats Make Early Endorsements in Three RacesStonewall President Chris Moore with candidates Ray Chin and Darrel Fong

By Charles Peer

At their monthly meeting held Monday, Feb. 8, the Sacramento Stonewall Democratic Club, Sacramento’s LGBT Democratic club, made early endorsements in the race for County Supervisor District 1, Sacramento City Council District 7 and Assembly District 8.

Prior to the start of the monthly meeting, the club held a Candidate Forum where each of the candidates running for contested office was afforded the opportunity to promote themselves and then answer questions from club members. In order to receive an endorsement, a candidate most receive 60 percent of the vote.

Mariko Yamada easily won the club’s endorsement for her re-election campaign to the Assembly’s 8th District, which includes West Sacramento, Davis, Vacaville and Fairfield. Running un-opposed in the June Democratic primary, Yamada received a unanimous voice vote.

 

The club had a harder time endorsing in the race for Sacramento County Supervisor District 1. The widespread District that includes downtown Sacramento, Natomas, North Highlands, Rio Linda, Elverta, Antelope, North Sacramento and parts of Tahoe Park and Oak Park has been represented by Roger Dickinson since 1994. Dickinson is vacating the position to concentrate on a bid for the California Assembly.

Running for his seat and seeking Stonewall’s endorsement were Grantland Johnson and Phil Serna. Johnson, who is a former Sacramento City Councilman, previously held the supervisors seat before giving it up to take a position with the Clinton Administration. Serna is a political neophyte and is the son of former Sacramento Mayor Joe Serna.Phil Serna

Johnson outlined his goals if elected and addressed concerns that Sacramento did not have an equal benefits ordinance for the counties LGBT employees, stating that he would push for one by working with employee unions and influencing fellow supervisors. “It’s a question of simple justice,” Johnson said.

Serna responded to the same question by saying that not having an Equal Benefits Ordinance amounted to institutional discrimination. He also proposed that Sacramento County have a LGBT Policy Oversight Commission that would be appointed by the Board of Supervisors, but could also include departmental liaisons.

“I haven't fully vetted the details of the idea,” Serna told Outword, “but the general concept would be that this appointed body, with some staff support, would review and issue recommendations on policy proposals affecting the LGBT community.”

Both candidates received widespread support from the Stonewall members present at the meeting, but in the end it was Serna who won the endorsement.

"I am humbled and honored to receive the Stonewall Democratic Club's endorsement,” Serna told Outword, “Having the support of an organization dedicated to advancing equal rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity means a great deal to me, and I am very thankful to the club and its membership."

Also hotly contested was the endorsement in the Sacramento City Council District 7 election between Ryan Chin and Darrel Fong. District 7 comprises most of the Pocket/Greenhaven and Valley Hi areas of Sacramento, and is currently represented by Robbie Waters.Ryan Chin

Fong is a recently retired captain with the Sacramento Police Department, where he served as liaison to the LGBT community. He is well known and respected for his work in monitoring events like Sac Pride and rallies, and has been instrumental with getting information out to the community regarding hate crimes. He indicated that his top concerns if elected would be public safety, education, city budgeting and job creation.

Chin comes from a business background, having management experience with Wells Fargo Bank, and Hewlett-Packard. He also served as a commissioner on the Sacramento County Policy Planning Commission. He currently is with Sacramento State as the Director of Strategic Communications.

Chin backed Kevin Johnson in his mayoral bid and initially supported Johnson’s Strong Mayor initiative, which he says after further review he no longer supports.

Both Fong and Chin have strong ties to the API Community, including CAPITAL and CAPITAL Foundation.

In what was the hottest contested campaign of the night, both candidates made strong cases for why they should win the club’s endorsement, and each had strong support from club members present who also "stood" and made appeals for their favored candidate. When the voting was completed, though, it was Chin who won the endorsement.

"I am honored to have earned the endorsement of the Stonewall Democratic Club of Greater Sacramento and I look forward to being a strong voice for LGBT issues at City Hall," Chin told Outword. "Stonewall's endorsement means a lot to me personally as my campaign continues on a clear path to victory. Together we can bring equality for everyone."

The next Stonewall Democratic Candidate Forum Night is scheduled for Monday, March 8, and will include candidates in the race for State Assembly Districts 5 and 9. For more information, visit SacStonewall.com

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