The Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission has launched an investigation of state Rep. Brian Sims after a complaint was filed late last year alleging that he might have committed “potential Ethics Acts violations” by accepting honoraria for certain speaking engagements. The existence of the investigation was first reported by PGN. Read more »
If you frequent the Gayborhood, by now you’re aware of the ongoing conversations surrounding racial discrimination in the community. You’re most likely also familiar with the recent turmoil at the community’s leading LGBTQ nonprofit, Mazzoni Center. Regardless of your personal thoughts on these issues, you can’t ignore the impact both have had on the Gayborhood.
But oddly enough, it doesn’t appear as though our only openly gay state legislator finds these issues worthy of urgent concern. State Rep. Brian Sims, whose legislative district encompasses the Gayborhood, has been curiously hands-off when it comes to engaging in these public disputes in his own backyard. Read more »
As news broke that President Trump might actually encourage discriminatory anti-LGBTQ policies in an upcoming executive order, Gayborhood leaders have been especially proactive in mobilizing the community for immediate action.
Last week, the community and its allies threw a “Queer Rager” that brought a crowd of 1,000 out to protest Trump’s visit to Philly. This past Sunday, Philadelphia Gay News founder/publisher Mark Segal moderated a private, predominantly white meet-and-greet with Senator Cory Booker on how the community can unite surrounding LGBTQ discrimination. Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club is now putting together a “March Against Discrimination” that diverse organizations across the city have signed on to co-sponsor. This newfound sense of activism has even gotten some thinking that we should skip Philly Pride this year and head to D.C. for a national LGBT march that’s happening on the same day (June 11th).
But as I notice all of this emerging enthusiasm for social justice, I ask myself: Where were all of these white community leaders and activists during the fight against Gayborhood racial discrimination?
11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Bucks County River Country, 2 Walters Lane, Point Pleasant, Pa.; over 21.
The Philly Regional Bears plan to meet at Bucks Country River Country and want you to spend the afternoon with them floating back! For those gays who love their men hairier than ever, this bear-filled event is up your ally. Read more »
This is an opinion piece by Pennsylvania Representative Brian Sims.
Governor Mike Pence proudly signed into law legislation that allowed business to refuse service or discriminated against LGBT Americans. Yes — the Mike Pence who is Donald Trump’s running mate and the most extreme pick for vice president in a generation.
As Governor, Mike Pence used his leadership to alienate businesses and divide communities with his spiteful actions against the LGBT community when he spearheaded this discriminatory legislation. The law allowed people to continue spreading hatred, deny services and discriminate against LGBT Americans. Read more »
Oftentimes, elections feel like they’ve been decided by the powers that be before they’re even over. The 2016 primary was different: It was full of genuine nail-biters. At 8:30 p.m., I headed to state Rep. Dwight Evans’ Election Night party at Temptations on Chelten Avenue, and everyone around me spent the first hour-and-a-half of the celebration hunched over, obsessively refreshing the Department of State’s website on their phones as votes from different areas were counted. They weren’t just tracking Evans’ bid for the 2nd Congressional District seat — they were also following the Attorney General’s race, which looked like it might be won by Stephen Zappala at the beginning of the evening, as well as several close state legislative races.
By the end of the night, a seemingly unstoppable labor leader had lost, along with an indicted congressman, a bajillion-year incumbent, and a state representative who is part of one of the most powerful political machines in the city. What a wild election.
1. The Northwest Coalition
The Northwest Coalition, led by Evans and former Councilwoman Marian Tasco, helped put Jim Kenney in the mayor’s office last year. The alliance was also instrumental in electing Derek Green and Cherelle Parker to Council. Now, one of its own is going to Congress — Evans defeated U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah in the 2nd Congressional District race yesterday. (Yes, Evans will technically face Republican James Jones in the fall. But, with the district being overwhelmingly Democratic, we all know how this movie ends.) Another sign of the organization’s rising power: Relish, the Northwest Coalition’s Election Day lunch spot, drew bigger crowds yesterday than Famous 4th Street Deli.
What does this mean for the future? Good things for Parker, potentially, if she runs for mayor in 2023. It could also mean bad things for District Attorney Seth Williams if the Northwest Coalition decides to support a challenger when he runs for reelection next year. (Tasco isn’t a fan of Williams’.) It’s worth noting, however, that the coalition did suffer one loss yesterday, which proves it isn’t indestructible: state Rep. Tonyelle Cook-Artis, its pick in the 200th House District race, was not reelected. Read more »
There was a pretty shocking upset in the Democratic state House primary races yesterday: A very briefly tenured representative — who was the preferred candidate of Philadelphia’s surging Northwest Coalition — was knocked out of her seat. Harrisburg’s longest-serving Harrisburg representative was dumped by voters, too. And in the state Senate, an incumbent is holding onto a slim lead over a young challenger, but the race is too close to call.
None of the city’s Republican state representatives faced challenges in this year’s primary, but there were contested elections in 11 House and Senate districts on the Democratic side overall. In all but one of the races — the one in the 170th House District in the Northeast, where a Republican holds the seat — incumbents, some of them elected only last month, faced challenges from one or more candidates.
Five of the contests warrant special mention: Read more »
State House candidate Ben Waxman wins a big endorsement in incumbent Brian Sims’s home ward.
The race for the 182nd District took a surprising turn after the 5th Ward’s leadership unanimously endorsed former state Senate aide Ben Waxman for state representative. The 5th Ward contains the Gayborhood, and its previous strong support of incumbent Brian Sims (who lives in the ward) makes this an upset for the incumbent. “I’m proud to have support from every part of the district, including the 5th Ward,” Waxman said. “If I’m elected, I promise to fight hard as an ally to the LGBTQ community, including preserving the unique character of our historic Gayborhood.” In a recent story with Philly Mag, Sims’s political consultant Dan Siegel argued that the 5th Ward “perennially endorses challengers,” with Sims even being endorsed by it when challenging then-incumbent Babette Joseph in 2012. Currently, Waxman is endorsed by two of the three wards in the district (he also was recently endorsed by the 8th Ward) and waits to find out whether the 2nd Ward will announce an endorsement as well. Read more »
When Brian Sims won a state House seat in 2012 by defeating 14-term incumbent Babette Josephs, he infuriated her. In his first couple years in office, Sims also enraged the city’s Democratic machine by endorsing people who ran against House Democrats and accusing a colleague of “arguing with plants.”
Now Ben Waxman, a former state Senate aide, is running against Sims in this year’s primary election, and in recent weeks, Waxman has won the endorsement of two Democratic wards in the 182nd legislative district: the 5th Ward and the 8th Ward. (The only other ward in the district — the 2nd Ward — hasn’t announced its plans, according to Waxman’s and Sims’ campaigns.) This is bad news for Sims: It means that Waxman has locked down Sims’ home ward (the 5th) and the biggest ward in the district (the 8th), both of which will help Waxman get out of the vote on Election Day.
More often than not, Philly’s Democratic wards support incumbents. So this development raises an interesting question: Is Sims still paying the price for running as an insurgent against Josephs in 2012? Or has he simply failed to develop relationships in the city’s ward system? Read more »