LANSING, MI (WLNS) – The race for governor is well underway in our state and Monday night, a group of Democrats held a forum to address issues that impact the LGBT community and women.
Organizers of the event say this was the first-ever Democratic Gubernatorial forum where those topics took center stage.
The event was put on by Stonewall for Revolution and several other organizations in Michigan.
Three of the Democratic candidates got the chance to weigh in on issues surrounding the LGBT community and women’s rights.
Candidate Gretchen Whitmer was not in attendance, but provided a short video to play for the audience.
“Certainly having a forum that focuses on LGBT and women’s issues is important,” Lonnie Scott, Executive Director for Progress Michigan said. “It’s important for the candidates to be talking about their positions and to make their positions known on the issues.”
Issues that Robert Van Kirk, chair for Stonewall for Revolution Michigan says often times go unnoticed.
“We found it to be a detriment that our issues are never discussed and so that’s why we invited the candidates to come out,” Van Kirk said. “We’re very excited that they’ll be taking questions that are important to our community.”
Candidates answered questions surrounding healthcare, addressed issues they think are currently facing the LGBT community and demonstrated what it means to be a progressive in our state.
“It’s important to hold candidates to a commitment on our issues,” Van Kirk said. “Telling me behind a closed door that you’ll work for the LGBT community is one thing, telling before the news media, before a Facebook live stream, and before members of our community that you’re going to defend us, that’s a horse of a different color.”
Those who attended the event, including Abby Dart say they were eager to learn more about how these candidates will fight for basic rights in their community.
“These are issues that are very important to me, the LGBT issues and issues affecting women and I just think it’s important for me to see what everybody has to say about it,” she said.
Between both Republican and Democratic candidates there are more than a dozen people running for Governor in 2018.
Some could still throw their hat in the ring before the election next year in November.