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Out & About in Cleveland

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Cleveland Stonewall Democrats: Supporting LGBT Community and Human Rights

On Thursday night we went to the first meeting of the year of the Cleveland Stonewall Democratic Club IMG_7257which is attuned to the needs of the LGBT community. It was held at the Market Avenue Wine Bar which looks to be the new meeting location from now which is fine by us because the meeting room has a lovely, antique flavor to it. Tonight appearing before us were representatives from the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton Presidential campaigns.

Mr. Tristan Rader, who works at the Cleveland Food Bank, spoke for Senator Sanders and told us that his decision to support him was based on the needs of the people that he saw consistently at his job. He didn't feel that the Obama administration was assisting these people as much as it should be. He said that he often heard senior citizens tell him that they had to choose between buying food or getting their prescriptions filled.

Mr. Erik Meinhardt, who works at the Center for Families and Children spoke for Ms. Clinton, the IMG_7256former Senator and Secretary of State. Mr. Meinhardt had also worked on Ms. Clinton's 2008 Presidential campaign and he cited her outstanding record of support for LGBT/human rights issues as what he really liked about her.

Then questions from the club members were asked and answered.

Of course, we asked both representatives about their candidate's stand on immigration reform and both replied that they were strongly for it and both said that they would be supportive of President Obama's executive orders regarding DACA and DOMA.

The discussion turned to the endorsements that both Sanders and Clinton have received from various groups and how these endorsements reflected the candidates' strength. It IMG_7254seemed to us that the club members were weighing out which of the two of them had a better chance at being elected in November and, if elected, what were the chances actually enacting the reforms/programs that they were now promoting. What impressed us was that the questioning was very direct and several times club members challenged the representatives about what they were saying but the civility of the meeting was maintained.

Afterwards, Mr. Rader and Mr. Meinhardt shook hands and readily agreed to support each other's candidate should he/she prevail and become the democratic nominee.

Actually the Stonewall Democratic Club does not endorse a candidate for U.S. President IMG_7255in the primaries so tonight was basically for the club members own information.

On February 18th the club will convene to hear the democratic candidates running in contested primaries for more local offices before they vote on who to endorse in the March primary.

Lakewood City Councilwoman Cindy Marx (who was endorsed by the club when she first ran for office) was present tonight and said that she really respected the endorsement process because the questioned is intense but very fair, responsible and thorough.

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