Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Former HRC figure Trevor Thomas on running for Congress
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2012-03-28

This article shared 4177 times since Wed Mar 28, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Trevor Thomas, who has been a part of Human Rights Campaign and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), is running for Congress in Michigan's 3rd District. During a recent stop in Chicago, he talked with Windy City Times about the area and his reasons for running.

Windy City Times: I have a very general question: With this being your first political race, what are you discovering about politics that you didn't know?

Trevor Thomas: I think people feel it's a bit ugly behind the scenes. I would say that's true. [Laughs] I think you do know who your friends are. You also are pleasantly surprised by those who reach out to you whom you've never met before; [there are also] those who were at arm's [length] at one time in your life and, all of a sudden, are thrilled to help in a meaningful way.

I think when you're in an underdog campaign—and we are—you don't have everyone necessarily wanting to be your friend. We're somewhat unpopular. It's a test to make sure a candidate like myself is in it for the right reasons. When people are contacting you and are suggesting or directly asking you to drop out, you certainly have to have a coming-to-Jesus moment with yourself.

WCT: People are asking you to drop out?

TT: It's a little intense in Grand Rapids, Mich., right now. I started looking at this in November. It was strongly believed that a Democrat would have a one-in-20 shot [of winning]. I went to the local elected officials and community members, and we were fortunate enough to have a number of people supporting us. However, when I told the world that it was winnable—not just from a field perspective from new district lines but also when [Republican incumbent] Justin Amash had a 30-33-percent re-election rate—it turned out that more people want to be a member of Congress.

So we're in a primary for our life. It's a true reality that I'm against a businessman [Steve Pestka] who's able to self-fund in this primary. He is a man who, when someone asked him about Trevor Thomas at his kickoff, believed that the things I've worked on have been extreme. I believe he was directly referring to the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." He's also a man who's completely against a woman's right to choose—even in [cases] of rape and incest.

WCT: We're talking about your primary opponent?

TT: Yes—a Democrat.

WCT: Having a Democrat who's that conservative leads me to ask what the political climate in your district is like.

TT: We do have a generational divide. It hasn't been everyone lining up behind Mr. Pestka. We've witnessed some folks who were behind us go to him, but some people who were behind him have come to us.

This district leans red. It is home to [President Gerald] Ford, and what I mean by that is Justin Amash has carried us to Tea Party and Libertarian values; I believe those are not Grand Rapids' values.

Grand Rapids' values are in line with President Ford's. He was a man who believed in a woman's right to choose, although that was very controversial at the time. He believed in equality for gay and lesbian Americans, and he was also [behind] everything from civil rights to the Clean Water Act. He was a guy's guy. I think the district, socially, is there; I wouldn't be in this if I didn't believe so.

It turns out you have to do a lot of testing, and we certainly did. We did a poll. (I always tell people we have the best pollster in the country, and his name's Mark Mellman. He's ranked the best by an independent agency.) We literally [asked], "Would you vote for Trevor Thomas, a pro-abortionist who'll fight for the homosexual agenda and work to legalize gay marriage?" (That's the sentence, directly.) We learned that some folks who wouldn't vote for me, but that was only about 32, 34 percent—[but] they also identified as conservative, so we didn't have them anyway. When I sat down with my team and asked, "What do you think?," we thought it was phenomenal. It was within a few points of Justin Amash, and the independent swing was with us.

WCT: Tell me why you're in Chicago.

TT: I think that aspects of our race are attractive to people around the country. In [Illinois], [Ilya] Sheyman ran [in the 10th Congressional District], and that was one of the youngest [candidates] in the nation. [Note: Thomas is in his late 20s.] Also, the Democratic caucus is older than the Republican caucus. I don't think we take enough chances.

I have two parents who worked 34 years at GM [General Motors]. Their pensions continue to suffer the consequences of a changing economy. It is certainly frustrating, because I'd love to be able to self-fund, but that's not possible. I also think it's more real when you have to work for it.

I call our campaign "the campaign for us all." We try to be as inclusive as possible. I had a former chair of the Republican party introduce me at my kickoff; it was important to me that people know that if this seat does bleed red, we are working with people across the spectrum.

I think, nationally, more and more people are stepping out who are openly gay. I think it's almost a non-issue in this race, actually. I don't think we'll be attacked for it unless we're within a few points in a general-election campaign, but I don't see Justin Amash doing that.

WCT: I have to say that when I looked at your website, I was struck by the fact that [your sexuality] wasn't mentioned in your bio.

TT: I guess I felt that it didn't need to be mentioned.

WCT: Also, I noticed that your campaign fundraiser is not in Boystown. [It was held at Black Rock Pub and Kitchen, 3614 N. Damen Ave.]

TT: Oh, that's because it was a free location. [Smiles] We called all the places; don't worry. There were some options, but some places already were booked for tonight.

WCT: Let's say you are elected. What would you do first?

TT: There are three things, but I'll very clearly articulate a first.

It is critically important that we help the automotive industry, which is very key to my district and to Michigan. In Michigan, one in three jobs is connected to the industry; around the country, it's one in seven. Had we not helped out the big three [automakers], the reality is that more than a million jobs nationwide would've been eliminated. So when Mitt Romney or Justin Amash agree that we should not have helped the automotive industry, it is shocking to me; I think that's out of touch and lacks empathy and understanding as to where Michigan is at.

So it will take Congressional action to make sure we are rewarding companies that are investing here with federal-incentive programs. Right now, a number of companies being rewarded are promoting jobs overseas. Not only do I believe that is wrong, but I believe it's a fairly easy fix. This is not about Michigan—it's about our country and the manufacturing industry, which has been the lifeline to so many other sectors.

If someone thinks I have any other agenda item, they're wrong. This is personal for me, and personal for my family, neighbors and friends. It's our way of life.

There's a laundry list a Democrat can bring to the table, but I'm staying away from that. You won't see that in my campaign. I will not go into 20 different levels of talking points.

[There are] two things that are key to my personal narrative. One, there are no opportunities for young people when they leave college, and they have more [student-loan] debt than credit-card debt. Student-loan debt is not forgivable, meaning you just can't file for bankruptcy. So, facing that reality, it takes Congressional action and a voice from a new generation to recognize that federal student-loan interest rates are increasing. Colleges and universities need to do their part to make sure they are keeping their overhead in check.

We need to lower the rates for college education. It's not just about making it affordable; it's also about making sure that people who are buried in debt are also being looked out for.

[Lastly,] my dad and brother served, and are both veterans of our great United States of America. I have worked tirelessly for veterans on active duty who were discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." SLDN was able to provide services on a broad range of issues.

We have an Air National Guard base in Battle Creek, Mich., that may be scaled back. We have a veterans' home in Grand Rapids where they closed a floor because of a lack of federal funding. Justin is completely against the federal funding until we get our budget under control. That's admirable—but you can't do it at the expense of our veterans. They put a lot on the line for us.

See www.TrevorForCongress.com for more information.


This article shared 4177 times since Wed Mar 28, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Bulls, Blackhawks lose; Lightfoot-Fire FC link 2022-12-01
- The Chicago Bulls (9-12) fell to the Phoenix Suns (15-6) 132-113 in Arizona on Nov. 30, dropping the Bulls to 12th in the Eastern Conference. Phoenix now leads the Western Conference. Devin Booker scored 51 for ...


Gay News

Landmark step toward equality: Senate passes bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act 2022-11-29
-- From press releases - WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — today celebrated the bipartisan passage of the Respect ...


Gay News

Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth submits 2000+ petition signatures to run for seat vacated by Harry Osterman 2022-11-24
-- From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — Early this morning, Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, candidate for 48th ward, submitted 2166 petition signatures — over four times as many as the 473 minimum required — in order to get on the ballot for ...


Gay News

Transgender Day of Resilience: Town Hall panelists tackle allyship, discrimination and immigration 2022-11-23
- Brave Space Alliance (BSA), Life Is Work (LIW) and Chicago Therapy Collective (CTC) hosted three free events across the city that they named—TDOR Weekend: A New Era, Together— to celebrate ...


Gay News

Gay candidates Lopez, Lawson file papers for 2023 aldermanic race 2022-11-21
- Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th Ward), an openly gay City Council member who has been an ardent foe of Mayor Lightfoot, announced Nov. 21 that he was dropping his bid for Lightfoot's mayoral seat, and would instead ...


Gay News

Kris Mayes shatters lavender ceiling; first LGBTQ person elected Arizona Attorney General 2022-11-21
-- From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Fund candidate Kris Mayes won the election for Arizona Attorney General. With this historic win, she is now the first out LGBTQ Attorney General in Arizona history. Mayor Annise Parker, ...


Gay News

Equality Illinois on the Club Q shooting 2022-11-20
-- From a press release - Statement from Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state's LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, on the Club Q shooting: On a day already marked by sadness, the LGBTQ+ community woke up to the tragic news ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Respect for Marriage Act, lesbian judge, gay official resigns 2022-11-20
- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said that debate on the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) is suspended and will continue on Nov. 28, when the Senate reconvenes after Thanksgiving, LGBTQ Nation reported. The RFMA ...


Gay News

WORLD Brazilian musician, top LGBTQ+ cruises, Elon Musk, anti-trans attack 2022-11-20
- Brazilian musician Pedro Sampaio revealed that he dates men and women, Out noted. Sampaio has 7 million monthly listeners on Spotify, more than 5 million followers on Instagram and several music videos with more than 50 ...


Gay News

Reports: Senate to vote on marriage equality law Nov. 16 2022-11-15
- The U.S. Senate will vote on a measure enshrining marriage equality into law Wednesday, according to reports. Supporters of the measure, known as the Respect for Marriage Act, which aims to protect against an eventual repeal ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Political results, communicable-disease law, Urvashi Vaid 2022-11-13
- Sharice Davids won the election for Kansas' 3rd Congressional District. In 2018, she made history when she became the first out LGBTQ+ person elected to Congress from Kansas and one of the first two Native American women ever ...


Gay News

REPORTS: Tunney will not run to be Chicago mayor 2022-11-11
- Outgoing Ald. Tom Tunney (44th ward) will not be among the challengers to incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot in the upcoming city election, according to multiple reports. Tunney's decision was first reported Nov. 10 in Chicago Tribune. ...


Gay News

Erick Russell shatters lavender ceiling; first Black LGBTQ person elected to statewide position in U.S. history 2022-11-09
-- From a press release - Washington, DC — Today LGBTQ Victory Fund candidate Erick Russell won the election for Connecticut state Treasurer. With this victory, he is now the first Black out LGBTQ person ever elected to statewide office in U.S. ...


Gay News

HISTORY MADE: Oregon's Tina Kotek one of first lesbian governors in U.S history 2022-11-09
-- From a press release - SALEM — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, hailed the victory of HRC-endorsed Tina Kotek in her bid to become the governo ...


Gay News

History made: More LGBTQ+ people elected to congress than ever before 2022-11-09
-- From an HRC press release - Washington, DC — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — hailed the victory of at least ...


 




Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.