LGBT caucus urges advances in state laws

By Ashleigh Albert

PHILADELPHIA – In a crowded caucus meeting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, a pro-LGBT rights crowd supported their community with applause and cheers. But the energy grew absolutely electric when N. J. Senator Cory Booker showed up.

Senator Cory Booker speaks to attendees of the LGBT caucus.
Senator Cory Booker speaks to the LGBT caucus.

A surprise visitor, Booker was just one of dozens of special guests Thursday afternoon who spoke about the importance of advancing LGBT rights.

During the caucus, speakers and guests made clear they’re enthusiastic about electing Clinton as well as other Democratic candidates this election season who will advance the LGBT agenda.

Booker, who spoke at the end of the caucus, made his point by pointing out LGBT rights are not central to just one aspect of a community or country.

“This was a movement for American rights,” he said. “Every American should have access to full citizenship rights.”

This year's convention featured the highest number of transgender delegates in history; 28.
This year’s convention featured the highest number of transgender delegates in history – 28.

By the end of the session, the caucus passed four resolutions in support of pro-LGBT legislation which will later be posted on its Facebook page.

Kate Brown, the first openly bi-sexual governor from Oregon spoke adamantly about the importance of electing Hillary Clinton, saying that Clinton considers the LGBT community part of her family.

Although the room was full of delegates, educator Shannon Cuttle of Maplewood, N.J attended as a guest. Cuttle uss they/them pronouns.

Maplewood, NJ resident Shannon Cuttle is an educator.
Maplewood, NJ resident Shannon Cuttle is an educator.

“Especially in schools, it’s important LGBT children’s voices be heard,” they said. “It’s important to continue the conversation, so that’s why it was important I come today.”

Cuttle said they personally feel confident Hillary Clinton is the right choice to advance LGBT agenda, particularly in schools when it comes removing discrimination.

“Although she didn’t used to support us, over the years she has become one of our strongest allies,” Cuttle said. “She is the strongest candidate not just for LGBT, but also the needs of educators. This is a teachable moment.”

Joe Longoria, a Clinton delegate from Mohave County, AZ was at the caucus as an ally to the LGBT community.

Longoria said his county vice char is a lesbian woman. When gay marriage was legalized last year, she asked him to be her best man.

Touched, he attended the caucus today to “learn whatever I can” for the community.

He, too, believes Clinton will be an excellent advancement for the LGBT community. That’s why he said he’s running for mayor in his hometown of Kingman, AZ.

“(Clinton’s) also an excellent voice and champion for children, for women, for everyone,” he said.

As Cory Booker wrapped up his speech, he spoke what seems to be the theme of this week’s convention.

“We who believe in freedom cannot rest,” he said.

Photo Essay: DNC Attire Extravagance

By Ashleigh Albert

PHILADELPHIA – Part of coming to the Democratic National Convention is to “see and be seen.” These delegates and volunteers have found silent, yet creative, ways to express campaign spirit.


South Jersey Moms Advocate for “Common Sense Gun Laws” at DNC

Diana Trasatti and Meghan Adamoli (right) of Collingswood, NJ, advocate for “common sense gun laws” through their organization Moms Demand Action.

By Ashleigh Albert

PHILADELPHIA – Diana Trasatti and Meghan Adamoli, two mothers from Collingswood, NJ, want delegates at the Democratic National Convention to remember the number 91.

That is the number of Americans who die each day in gun-related incidents, they said.

As volunteers for the organization, Moms Demand Action, the two women spent the week in the halls of the Philadelphia Convention Center talking to attendees and asking them to sign a pledge to only vote for candidates who support tighter gun-control measures.

“Today politicians are taking pledges to end gun violence,” said Trasatti “We’ve come such a long way.”

Trasatti, 27, said she became passionate about gun law reform after the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. She joined the organization’s Facebook page and later started to volunteer.

Moms Demand Action formally endorsed Hillary Clinton months ago. Trasatti hopes now that the nomination process is over, the party will come together around common issues.

“I think Sanders’ speech two nights ago indicated he wants the party to unify,” said Trasatti.

Adamoli, 35, made it clear that the organization is not against the Second Amendment, but advocates for what they call “gun sense laws,” which means for example, people shouldn’t be allowed to carry weapons in grocery stores.

“We simply need something to change,” she told delegates and guests who stopped at the stand.

Although gun control is a controversial issue, Adamoli said the response at the DNC has been overwhelmingly positive.

“There are so many people with differing views across the country, but everyone’s been so genuine,” said Adamoli.

Initially a Sanders supporter, Adamoli ended up voting for Clinton in the New Jersey primary because of the gun issue.

“It’s okay to be a single issue voter,” she said. “If members of the gun lobby are single-issue voters, people on the other end are allowed to be too.”

Adamoli added that she’s proud to be a resident of a state with tough laws against gun violence.

“We’ve got to make sure that stays strong and fight down attempts to take that away,” Adamoli said. “Being here is just one step into making gun-laws stronger. It’s a great way to start.”


New Jersey DNC Delegate Q & A: Paul Moriarty

Assemblyman Moriarty says property taxes are the “first, second and third complaint” he hears from voters.

The week before the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, RowanU DNC News staff interviewed members of the New Jersey delegation to hear their views on the convention, the upcoming election, and local issues facing New Jersey residents. 

Paul Moriarty, State Assemblyman, 4th district

Interviewed by Ashleigh Albert

Q: Did you support Bernie or Hillary during the primary? How do you feel about the result?

Photo: State Assembly Majority Office website
Photo: State Assembly Majority Office website

A: I was happy with the results. I actually like both candidates. I think that they both brought a lot of energy and ideas to the campaign. I could have supported either one, but I supported Hillary Clinton, and I will be a delegate for Clinton at the national convention.

Q: Does the DNC convention matter to the people of New Jersey?

A: It’s important in a number of ways. This is the first female candidate from a major party. This is a great step forward should she go on in November to defeat Donald Trump. I think he has rhetoric – and what I believe is divisiveness – that this county does not need at this time.

Q: What is the biggest issue facing New Jersey residents this election year? What concern do you most often hear from voters?

A: The biggest concern of New Jersey is property taxes, which won’t be affected by a national election. It’s a state-wide issue, and it’s the first, second and third complaint in New Jersey.

On the national level, one of biggest issues of voters I’ve talked to is continuing fear and anxiety about the world. It seems every day I wake up, not sure if we are going to have a worse day that the previous one. There is a lot of anxiety in New Jersey and the nation over the issue of terrorism.

Q: If you had a few minutes of face time with Hillary Clinton, what would you want to tell her?

A: I would tell her to keep doing what she’s doing and use the talents she has to make the world a safer place. She was Secretary of State. She’s been around the world and knows all the players and knows all the villains. She’ll keep making the world a safer place.

Q: If a delegate from another state asks you where they should go in Philadelphia or New Jersey, what is one location you would suggest they visit?

A: There are a lot of places. I would tell them South Street for fun. There’s also art museums like the Barnes and Rodin museums.