The way to forge the reconnection will be bold regional planning and investing in a 21st-century transportation system that rethinks how to connect neighborhoods, commercial hubs, and regional destinations. A connected city would include a reimagined bus system, bike trails, safe sidewalks, and a feasibility study of light rail expansion.
Our next post of our 2023 primary election season series ‘Political Q&A’ with progressive candidates throughout Pennsylvania. Candidates can be anywhere in Pennsylvania running for any level of office. Please note that these are not necessarily endorsements, more of an opportunity for candidates to connect with the LGBTQ community, progressives neighbors, and others with an interest in Western Pennsylvania. If your candidate would like to participate, please contact us pghlesbian at gmail dot com. We welcome candidates at all levels of government across the entire Commonwealth.
By participating, candidates are saying that they
- must be an LGBTQIA+ ally, specifically supporting equality and dignity for transgender persons
- identify as pro-choice
- must affirm that President Joe Biden won the 2020 election and that they accept the certified Pennsylvania’s election results
I honestly cannot remember how I first learned about Khari – I’m sure it must have been through my professional life as a community organizer. He’s always been this presence, this force, this voice weaving through the various conversations. He married my former State Representative Chelsa Wagner, now Judge Chelsa Wagner. When he announce for this race, my heart skipped a bit because he brings with him his own legacy of community work but also the might of 1 Hood, a formidable community asset that stretches through politics, the arts, and I know has personally showed up for LGBTQ+ community again and again. As has Khari. I’m quite interested in how he can lead District 9.
Your Name: Khari Mosley
Your Pronouns: He/Him
The Office You Seek: Pittsburgh City Council Dist 9
How do you describe your identity? African-American cis-gender heterosexual male
Tell us about your district. What is a hidden gem most people might not know about?
Council District 9 is a diverse collection of neighborhoods on Pittsburgh’s East End. The communities that make up the district are East Hills, East Liberty, Friendship, Garfield, Homewood, Larimer, Lincoln-Lemington, Point Breeze, Regen Square, Park Place, and Stanton Heights. A wide range of demographics, income levels, and community interests are represented in District 9. A hidden gem in District 9 is the collection of nightclubs, pubs, and taverns throughout Homewood’s business district. Any night of the week, there are several places one can go to socialize, grab a bite or listen to music.
How has redistricting impacted your district? The district has picked up a more significant portion of the Point Breeze section with the new map.
Tell us about the first LGBTQ person you met and what impact they had on your life? Using initials or pseudonyms is fine.
I am sure I met numerous LGBTQ people throughout my life. However, one person who stands out is when I worked with Mervyn Mercano as the National Political Director of the League of Young Voters. We met on a work trip, and he revealed to me that he was a gay man, and that was the first time I remember working with someone from the LGBTQ community. Over time we became close friends, and he was the first gay man I was close friends with and someone I hung out with socially. He taught me a lot and was instrumental in my evolution into becoming a straight ally of the LBGTQ community.
How has your familiarity with the LGBTQ community in your district and the region changed since you became politically active?
My familiarity with the LGBTQ community grew when I was the National Political Director of the League of Young Voters and spent considerable time in San Francisco in the mid-2000s. At the time, the Bay Area was a lot more progressive than Pittsburgh regarding LGBTQ issues, so it was good education on how things were supposed to be. Once I started spending more time back in Pittsburgh after getting married in 2009, I became a more active ally of the LGBTQ community. Spending more time in Pittsburgh, I could see things improving. The environment is much more inclusive today than 20 years ago. There are many more spaces where all are welcome to be authentic.
Based on this, what do you understand to be our top LGBTQ concerns and priorities for City Council? How will you respond to those priorities?
From my point of view, even though things have changed for the better, ensuring the safety of those who are LGBTQ is still an issue, particularly Black trans-women. I am committed to working with our public safety community to prioritize protecting vulnerable members of our community. I will also be an active voice supporting the LGBTQ and support policies that promote safety, fairness, and equal treatment. The city council office is a strategic platform to educate the public on the importance of LGBTQ allyship and advocacy.
I am ready to meet this moment to serve the needs of the people, restore a sense of hope in our neighborhoods and find solutions to the challenges we face as a city.
Please give an example of how intersectionality has informed your work.
My relationship with cousin Dena Stanley has informed me about the intersectionality of my work. As a Black trans woman, I have witnessed as she has led with courage in battling racism and transphobia simultaneously. I have stood with her when she’s faced bigotry as she fights for justice. As a Black man, it has been an education on the multilayered challenges the Black LGBTQ community faces.
Please give an example of when another person has persuaded you to change or adjust your perspective on an issue.
My cousin Dena has not persuaded me to change perspectives. However, I have learned a lot from being around her and hearing the stories about her experiences as a Black trans woman. It has been enlightening, educational, and eye-opening.
Please cite something the current City Council has addressed that reinforces your vision of how the City Council can lead the region.
The recent city budget allocation to the food justice fund exemplifies how the city can lead on the critical issue of food insecurity.
Your website references multimodal transportation and infrastructure as one key to reconnecting City neighborhoods and connecting City residents to economic opportunities. What part of the city is the least connected to your district? What are the costs to both communities, and how would you propose to forge the reconnection?
The communities south of the Monongahela River are the least connected to communities of District 9. The costs are social isolation and loss of opportunities for cross-neighborhood economic activity for local businesses. The way to forge the reconnection will be bold regional planning and investing in a 21st-century transportation system that rethinks how to connect neighborhoods, commercial hubs, and regional destinations. A connected city would include a reimagined bus system, bike trails, safe sidewalks, and a feasibility study of light rail expansion.
Why does the framework of “2 Pittsburghs” in regard to racial justice create so much resistance and fear?
It forces us to address that while Pittsburgh is the most liveable for some, it is not the most livable for all. This truth makes people uncomfortable, but when facing uncomfortable truths, breakthroughs happen. We must leave our comfort zones and take on the challenge of making Pittsburgh reach its full potential. Creating meaningful change will require us to face the inequities in our city.
When Bruce Kraus leaves office, there will be no LGBTQ members of City Council, depending on this election cycle results. That’s a significant loss for our community in terms of representation. Does it matter for a City like Pittsburgh to have a Council that’s entirely cisgender and heterosexual?
Representation matters. I am proud I worked on Bruce Kraus’ first two campaigns.
The city council should reflect the diversity of the city. We are all better off when our government reflects the makeup of the citizenry.
In September 2022, City Council recognized the first ‘Protect Trans Kids’ Day in Pittsburgh with a proclamation written by trans teens. Please review the proclamation and offer some concrete policy or program solution you would consider championing in response to their priorities.
I would propose creating a working group with our school board to establish enforceable policies that protect and provide a support system for Trans youth in schools, after-school programs, community-based youth-serving organizations, and other related programs.
Potential mergers or collaborations with the County create a dilemma for City employees who would lose access to domestic partner benefits. The County briefly offered them to same-sex, non-unionized employees before rescinding them in 2015. The city offers domestic partner benefits to all employees. The former City 911 employees lost this benefit when merged with the County 911 Department. Would you commit publicly to require any potential partner for mergers and consolidations to ensure City employees do not lose benefits?
Yes, I do not support these employees losing their benefits.
How do competitive primary elections benefit the residents of a community?
Competitive elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Residents benefit by having a choice and spirited debate of the issues.
What are three reasons people should vote for you/support your campaign?
- My entire career has been dedicated to advancing progressive values and electing change makers to public office. My background uniquely suits me to take on the challenges of this transformative moment in our city’s political history.
- I have worked on voting rights, environmental justice, criminal justice reform, workforce development, green economic development, infrastructure resiliency, and clean energy issues. The range of policy areas I have worked on will bring a unique perspective as a city council member.
- We are in the midst of the most transformative moment in our city’s political history since the early 1930s. Our region’s political landscape has changed unimaginably over the past five years. By meeting this moment, we can fundamentally change the face of local politics, shape the future of our region, and turn the page on an era that failed to live up to its progressive promises. I am ready to meet this moment to serve the needs of the people, restore a sense of hope in our neighborhoods and find solutions to the challenges we face as a city.
Tell me about your endorsements and supporters.
- Allegheny County Democratic Committee
- Allegheny Fayette Central Labor Council
- Young Democrats of Allegheny County
- Steel City Stonewall Democrats
- Straight Ahead
- Mayor Ed Gainey
- County Controller Corey O’Connor
- County Councilwoman Bethany Hallam
- PA State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta
- PA State Representative Sara Innamorato
- Former PA State Representative Martell Covington
- Wilkinsburg Mayor Dontae Comans
- Pittsburgh School Board Director Pam Harbin
- Pittsburgh School Board Director Tracey Reed
- Pittsburgh School Board Director Devon Taliaferro
- Wilkinsburg School Board Director Ashley Comans
Why does the framework of “2 Pittsburghs” in regard to racial justice create so much resistance and fear? It forces us to address that while Pittsburgh is the most liveable for some, it is not the most livable for all. This truth makes people uncomfortable, but when facing uncomfortable truths, breakthroughs happen
Is there anything you’d like to add?
Thank you for the opportunity to share my vision for the office and my passion for service. I look forward to future dialogue.
Where can readers find your campaign on social media?
Thank you, Khari.
Other Q&A’s in this election cycle series. You can read previous cycle Q&A’s here.
- Q&A with Rachael Heisler, Candidate for Pittsburgh City Controller
- Q&A with Abigail Salisbury, Candidate for PA State House District 34
- Q&A with Erica Rocchi Brusselars, Candidate for Allegheny County Treasurer
- Q&A with Bethany Hallam, Incumbent Candidate for Allegheny County Council, At-Large
- Q&A with Tracy Royston, Candidate for Pittsburgh City Controller
- Q&A with Lita Brillman, Candidate for City Council, District 5
- Q&A with Kate Lovelace, Candidate for Magisterial District Judge 05-2-31
- Q&A with Valerie Fleisher, Candidate for Mt. Lebanon School Board
- Q&A with Barb Warwick, Candidate for City Council, District 5
- Q&A with Nerissa Galt, Candidate for PENNCREST School Board
- Q&A with Todd Hoffman, Candidate for Mt. Lebanon School Board
- Q&A with Dan Grzybek, Candidate for Allegheny County Council, District 5
- Q&A with Khari Mosley, Candidate for City Council, District 9
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