Today is Saturday, June 27 which makes the campaign kick-off for Tom Michalow who is running for Allegheny County Council in district 1 .
Tom has been involved with local politics for 10 years, serving for the past 4 as a borough councilmember for Avalon. His campaign website is here.
|1||Ben Avon Heights|
Clearly, if you live in these districts you are impacted by this campaign. Tom is trying to unseat Matt Drozd. So in the interests of democracy it would behoove you to pay attention to this race.
However, for those of us outside of District 1, there are some good reasons to pay attention as well.
Drozd dropped his co-sponsorship for the ordinance creating an Allegheny County Human Relations Commission. Boo. Drozd did not complete a survey for the Steel City Stonewall Democrats, but Tom has and you can read it in its entirely here.
Tom has been at almost every gay event I've attended, well except the Indigo Girls concert. He is always last in line to speak because protocol dictates that County Council is last. Yet he's fresh, excited and very cool about listening to 100 other people speak before him. That alone gets points in my book. Kidding.
When I read his survey, I get a little teary eyed. Tom is a teacher and bases much of his stance on what he has seen works best for children. He grounds himself in what is necessary to build a healthy community for children based on support and openness, not ignorance and fear. His comments on choice are very moving. He wants gay-straight alliances in schools because he seems to believe that LGBTQ children thrive when they are valued and accepted — he even calls out Steel City to do more in the schools.
There is a critical vote coming up on May 1 in Allegheny County Council. More details in another post, but Toms' vote could make a hell of a lot of difference for minority persons in this County. Talks of futher County-City consolidation are looming. I want someone who knows what they are doing, but I also want someone who knows that domestic partner benefits are non-negotiable. You don't strip people of their rights in the name of progress.
This is a campaign where every day people chipping in $10 could make a difference. All politics is local they say. The personal is political they also say. You can be part of orchestrating actual change on a local level by making a modest donation to Tom's campaign, volunteering to help hit the street to get the word out and/or attending events like today's picnic.
Start using a hashtag #TomMichalow when you cover his events.
Door knocking is intimidating, but can you give up ONE Saturday morning and show your children a bit of democracy in action? You don't have to know a lot and you don't have to live in the district. Tom runs down the street with you and when you identify a potential person to chat, he does the heavy lifting. You do the grunt work and you make a difference. Bring your child along to learn how it happens.
But don't say you can't make a difference. Maybe you won't be the deciding vote when Pat Toomey tries to topple Arlen Specter, but you can literally be the person who persuades someone to vote for Tom. You can raise the $100 for those extra few flyers that get distributed. You can tweet, facebook and blog about this campaign and call your uncle in Coraopolis – he might be the deciding vote.
I know a lot of you in these parts of town and I'm running over a list of your political complaints over the years — about the schools, taxes, racism, etc. Now is your chance, folks.