The Mecklenburg LGBT Political Action Committee (MeckPAC) has defended their mayoral primary endorsement choice of incumbent Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter, in a statement posted to their Facebook page late Wednesday evening.
The group’s defense comes after some community members have spoken out on social media and elsewhere, questioning why candidate Jennifer Roberts was passed over. On Tuesday, Equality North Carolina endorsed both Clodfelter and Roberts. Some community social media conversation has defended Roberts as a staunch ally to the LGBT community.
On Tuesday, both Clodfelter and Roberts joined three other candidates for mayor at the “ShakeUpCLT” mayoral forum presented by WTFwevote and Charlotte Agenda. Clodfelter and Roberts, both largely considered the most LGBT-friendly candidates in the mayoral race, were the only candidates at the forum to mention or discuss LGBT issues.
Disagreement over local LGBT endorsements has also sprung up around a mutual slate of endorsed City Council candidates from TurnOUT Charlotte!, a coalition comprised of MeckPAC, Equality NC and the Human Rights Campaign. MeckPAC did not address those concerns in their Wednesday statement.
MeckPAC full statement follows:
Early voting in Charlotte starts tomorrow.
MeckPAC’s sights are set on a new vote on the non-discrimination ordinances. To achieve this goal, we believe it is very important to be intentional with our endorsements to help focus the community on the candidates, for both Mayor and City Council, that we believe can help us best achieve that goal.
Endorsing more than one person for Mayor or more than four people for City Council At Large, will dilute the LGBT vote and we run the risk of an unintended candidate being elected. In an election that is as close as this one, with so many candidates, the LGBT vote could determine the course of the election.
Mayor Dan Clodfelter has a long record of support for the LGBT community dating back to his role on city council in the early 90s. Mayor Clodfelter was an early advocate for a non-discrimination ordinance at a time when the issue was much less popular. Yet, he was unwavering in his support of our community at a time filled mostly with hate.
When Mayor Clodfelter was elected to the North Carolina Senate, he continued his work for the advancement and support of the LGBT community. It was through his committee chairmanships that he was able to keep the pre-cursors to Amendment 1 at bay for many years by not letting these bills out of committee. Mayor Clodfelter is the reason North Carolina was the last Southern state to have such an amendment.
Mayor Clodfelter was also a driver behind the passing of the NC School Violence Prevention Act protecting the youngest in our LGBT community. This law was the first time sexual orientation and gender identity were included as protected classes in North Carolina law, and the first time gender identity was protected in any Southern state.
Throughout our campaign to pass the current slate of non-discrimination ordinances, he was on-board and supportive. While the hate we experienced the night of the vote was terrible, Mayor Clodfelter’s leadership helped manage an orderly airing of opinions.
As Mayor Clodfelter pointed out in March, “he was for Non-Discrimination 23 years ago and his position had not changed.”
It is for these reasons and his long time demonstrated support for the LGBT community that we feel that Dan Clodfelter is the better choice for Mayor and will work best with a new city council to pass a fully inclusive non-discrimination ordinance.
Please support Dan Clodfelter, Charlotte City Mayor when you vote in this primary election.