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|Gay candidates Britt, Taylor receive endorsements in Ga. House races|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|May 21, 2012 13:50|
Kathy Ashe, who decided not to seek reelection for Ga. House District 56, today announced her endorsement of gay political advocate Ken Britt to fill that post.
"I wholeheartedly support Ken Britt as the next Representative of the 56th District,” said Ashe in a prepared statement.
“Ken has a passion for community service, the business acumen and experience, and an impressive track record of leadership on progressive community and political issues. I cannot think of another individual better suited to this role, and I would be reassured and proud to know that my constituents, old and new, would have Ken championing their interests in the Georgia Legislature."
Ashe held the seat for more than 20 years and announced her decision not to seek reelection earlier this year. Britt announced in April he would be seeking her post. Former executive director of law firm Alston & Bird, Britt is a longtime advocate on gay political issues, including working on the campaigns of several openly gay elected officials.
"Able" Mable Thomas, a former state representative, also announced in May she was seeking Ashe's seat, according to an article on the Atlanta Progressive News website.
When reached by phone and asked for an interview about her campaign, Thomas said she wanted "equal time" for the coverage GA Voice has given to Ken Britt, including two stand-alone stories about her. She declined to be interviewed and said she would email a campaign announcement. The announcement has not yet been received.
The first GA Voice article was about Britt’s campaign announcement and was before Thomas entered the race.
The second article was about Georgia Equality, the state's largest LGBT advocacy group, announcing early endorsements which included Britt as well as openly gay State Reps. Karla Drenner, Simone Bell and Keisha Waites.
In his first month of campaigning, Britt has raised $65,000, according to a campaign press release. If successful, he will be the first openly gay man elected to the Georgia legislature.
The Victory Fund, a national political action committee dedicated to electing openly gay candidates, is supporting Taylor for re-election to the General Assembly in the newly drawn House District 57. Taylor faces fellow Democratic incumbent Pat Gardner; they were drawn into the same district during Republican-controlled redistricting.
"I am proud to receive the endorsement of the Victory Fund. Throughout my career, I have fought for equality and justice, working to protect the adoption rights of LGBT Georgians and working to pass Georgia's first hate crimes law," Taylor said in a statement.
"I will continue to be a progressive champion in the General Assembly," he added.
Taylor is the vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and the only openly gay male in the General Assembly. He was already serving in the state legislature when he came out in a press conference in May 2011, after his boyfriend’s ex-boyfriend sent emails to other lawmakers outing him.
The Victory Fund has also so far endorsed Georgia incumbent state Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates), according to its website.
Georgia Equality has not yet made an endorsement in the race of Taylor and Gardner. Gardner is also a longtime ally of LGBT issues in the General Assembly.
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