CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Three major LGBTQ advocacy organizations have announced their joint endorsement for Mayor of Charlotte, following the annual Charlotte LGBTQ Community Candidate Forum on Aug. 21. The Mecklenburg LGBTQ Political Action Committee (MeckPAC), Equality North Carolina (ENC) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) endorsed incumbent Mayor Jennifer Roberts to be re-elected to the post.
MeckPAC and ENC also endorsed a number of candidates for Charlotte City Council, including District 3 incumbent LaWana Mayfield and District 1 incumbent Patsy Kinsey, both longtime supporters of LGBTQ equality. Other city council endorsements include Julie Eiselt, At-Large; Ryan McGill, At-Large; James Mitchell, At-Large; Braxton Winston, At-Large; Justin Harlow, District 2; Wil Russell, District 4; and Matt Newton, District 5.
“Our endorsed candidates for Charlotte City Council this year understand that the LGBTQ community also has an important stake in conversations which will move Charlotte forward as a more equitable, accessible and welcoming city for all people, regardless of race, income, sexual orientation or gender identity,” said MeckPAC board Vice Chair Emily Plauché. “We’re proud to join with our statewide partner, Equality NC, in ensuring a continued pro-equality Council accountable to the needs of the most marginalized members of our community.”
Mayor Roberts, too, was praised by all three organizations for her history of alliance to LGBTQ causes. Awarded ENC’s 2016 Jamie Kirk Hahn Ally Award, Roberts is also a member of Mayors Against LGBT Discrimination, which works to secure LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination protections at all levels. The issue is a familiar one to Roberts, after her role in passing the protections that incited House Bill 2 as a backlash from conservative state legislators.
“Mayor Jennifer Roberts has been a staunch supporter of LGBTQ rights even in the face of pressure from extremist lawmakers in Raleigh and deeply discriminatory laws such as HB2 and HB142,” said ENC Interim Executive Director Matt Hirschy. “As mayor of the largest city in North Carolina, Mayor Roberts is working tirelessly to make Charlotte and the rest of the state welcoming for all. Equality NC is proud to endorse a champion of equality, Mayor Jennifer Roberts, for re-election.”
MeckPAC also issued a warning against Sen. Joel Ford, another candidate for Mayor of Charlotte. Sen. Ford has faced criticism for his history on LGBTQ issues, to the point that “MeckPAC strongly discourages support for this candidate.”
To get ahead on this year’s election season, take a look at the Mecklenburg County early voting calendar.