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Washingtonblade.com, Volume 45, Issue 43, October 24, 2014

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Washingtonblade.com, Volume 45, Issue 43, October 24, 2014
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  OCTOBER 24 2014 vOlumE 45 issuE 43 ã OUR COMMUNITY, OUR STORIES SINCE 1969  ã washingTOnBladE.COm WASHINGTON BLADE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY  02 ã OCTOBER 24, 2014 WASHINGTONBLADE.COM D the D enny  & L eyLa   L   team   www  .DLTR  eaLToRs  . com  P rouDLy  S eLLing  H omeS  i n  y our  n eigHborHooD ! 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WASHINGTON, DC  1526 14th Street NW / BTW P & Q Streets Washington, DC / 202.332.3433Convenient Daily Parking Lot on P between 16th and 17th Streets, NWMon thru Fri: 10am to 8pm, Sat: 10am to 6pm, Sun: 11am to 6pm / www.mgbwhome.com NOW OPEN: TYSONS II GALLERIA   on Level 3 / 2001 International Drive / McLean, Virginia 22102 / 703.962.9310Mon to Sat: 10am to 9pm, Sun: 12pm to 6pm / www.mgbwhome.com SPECIAL ORDER UPHOLSTERY SELECT FROM 200+ UPHOLSTERY STYLES AND 340+ FABRICS & LEATHERS. ALL CRAFTED IN OUR OWN FACTORY IN NORTH CAROLINA WITH EARTH-FRIENDLY MATERIALS AND DELIVERED QUICKLY.  AND TABLES & STORAGE   |   RUGS |   LIGHTING  |   WALL ART  |    ACCESSORIES   | BED LINENS FALL EVENT   20% SAVINGS EXTENDED THRU 10/26 LAST WEEKEND TO SAVE    Gay candidate asks voters to look at record, ‘not party label’ By LOU CHIBBARO JR. lchibbaro@washblade.com EDITOR’S NOTE:  This is the second of a three- part series profiling the leading candidates for mayor. Last week’s interview with Carol Schwartz is available at washingtonblade.com. Next week: Muriel Bowser. If he should emerge as the winner in the Nov. 4 mayoral election, D.C. Council member David Catania (I-At-Large) would become the first non-Democrat, the first white person, and the first out gay to become mayor of the nation’s capital since the start of the city’s home rule government in 1974.Most political observers agree that those are three big hurdles to overcome, and many believe Catania’s status as a non-Democrat may be the most diffi cult of the three.But Catania, 46, and his supporters — both gay and straight — argue that a careful assessment of his 17-year record on the City Council would convince voters that he is the most progressive of the three main candidates in the race and a proven ‘good-government’ advocate who’s most qualified for the job of mayor. “I’m the only one in the race with a progressive record of substance,” Catania said in an interview with the Washington Blade earlier this month. “And I think that progressive record resonates across all demographics in our city,” he said. “I’ve won five races citywide. I’ve made friends in every corner of the city. And I have delivered for every corner of the city.”Added Catania, “And when people go into the voting booths they are asking themselves do they want a mayor who can deliver and who has delivered and who knows where he or she is going to take the city. Do they want values or do they want labels?” Some believe Catania faces another hurdle of overcoming his status as a former Republican in the eyes of at least some D.C. voters. Catania first won his seat on the Council in 1997 as a Republican. He switched from being a Republican to an independent in 2004 when President George W. Bush announced his support for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.Catania again points to his record, dismissing as ridiculous any notion that he would be influenced by the rightward drifting GOP he says he abandoned for reasons beyond Bush’s opposition to marriage equality. He said his Republican roots stem, among other things, from his childhood upbringing in his mother’s hometown of Osawatomie, Kan., a town in which the abolitionist movement with close ties to the then fledgling Republican Party took hold shortly before the start of the Civil War. Catania notes that the town’s leaders advocated for Kansas to become a free rather than a slave state.He’s most proud, he said, of his role as author and lead advocate for the city’s marriage equality law that the Council passed in 2009 and enabled same-sex couples to begin marrying in D.C. in early 2010. He says he’s also proud to have authored a transgender rights measure that requires the city to issue a new birth certificate for people who transition from one gender to another.Other city measures he authored and played a key role in shepherding through the Council include the city’s medical marijuana law and the “smoke free” law banning smoking in most places of employment, including bars and restaurants. During his 10-year stint as chair of the Council’s health committee, Catania is credited with pushing through major reforms in the city’s AIDS related programs, boosting the city’s program for providing medical insurance for low-income residents and children, and preventing United Medical Center, the city’s only hospital serving residents east of the Anacostia River, from closing due to financial problems. Catania’s two main rivals in the mayor’s race – Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), the frontrunner in the race according to latest polls, and former Council member Carol Schwartz, a Republican turned independent, argue that their own records and accomplishments make them the best suited to be mayor. Bowser has said she is reaching out to all voters, even though her campaign emphasizes she’s the Democratic candidate who’s been endorsed by President Obama. With more than 76 percent of the city’s voters registered as Democrats, most political observers consider Bowser to have a significant advantage.Catania supporters, including his large cadre of Democratic supporters such as former Council member Sharon Ambrose (D-Ward 6), point to what they say are strong signs of voter dissatisfaction with the status quo of D.C. politics.The indictment of three City Council members in recent years on corruption- related charges and the investigation of Mayor Vincent Gray for the illegal “shadow” campaign linked to his 2010 election have changed the way voters view their elected offi cials and candidates, many political pundits have said. Catania backers, noting that two of the three indicted Council members were Democrats and the other had strong ties to the Democratic Party, have said voters are ready to break from the past trend of electing only Democrats as mayor. “I’m clearly the anti-establishment candidate,” he said. “In this city we have a machine and I don’t want to be a part of that machine…I want to see things that aren’t right and I want to make them right.” Catania has been endorsed by a number of organizations his supporters consider to be progressive, including the Sierra Club and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. He received a +10 rating from the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, the group’s highest possible score. The Blade interviewed Catania for this story on Oct. 6, the day the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex marriage to become legal in several new states. Washington Blade : There’s breaking news this morning from the Supreme Court, which refused to take on the same- sex marriage cases from several states, including Virginia. It appears that same-sex marriages can begin in Virginia as soon as today. What is the significance of that as you see it? David Catania : It’s breathtaking — the scope and pace of change with respect to marriage equality today. I’m reminded that on this day five years ago on Oct. 6 of 2009 is when I introduced the marriage equality legislation in the Council. So we’ve come a long way in five years. It’s a pleasant coincidence that the Supreme Court would deny cert for these many circuits on the subject of marriage equality on the same day that marks the introduction of marriage here. We’ve come a long way. Blade : How do you see D.C. fitting into all of this? Catania : What’s interesting is that in 2014 a lot of people kind of jumped on the marriage bandwagon. But I remember laying the foundation for this work in 2008, when many of the individuals who have been involved in advancing LGBT rights in the city were not sold on the timing of my introduction and the strategy that we took. But I took a very purposeful strategy starting in November of 2008 that ultimately culminated in the introduction in October of 2009. It was a very deliberate, very focused effort to get people, to get the community galvanized, to get the community on board with the notion of inevitability to bring the various leaders in the community together, to bring the religious community together with the LGBT community. We got very lucky. A whole series of events made it possible for us to go forward. I want to say that I think often about Frank Kameny. And it’s a name I hope we don’t forget. And I think of him in particular as the father of the movement here in so many ways. Now there have been so many others. I don’t want to suggest him at the exclusion of others. But as far as me personally, Frank Kameny played a big role in my thinking toward how we were going to capture our equality.   Blade : With that as a backdrop, why are you running for mayor? Catania : Well, for the last 17 years I’ve gotten up every day with an incredible sense of urgency, and I’ve run toward the city’s problems. And I’m running for mayor for the same reason I ran for Council in 1997. I see a city that can do better. And I see things that aren’t right and I want to make them right.That’s what I’ve spent my career doing. And globally it’s a city that has strong enduring fundamental strengths. But we haven’t really lived our values. Our values – our common values as a city – where after 17 years having been in every corner of the city I can tell you as a city we have common values that are deeply American values. We believe in opportunity. We believe in fairness. We believe in playing by the rules. And yet our government very often falls short of those values. I think we need a government that is as good as we are, as good as our values. And that’s why I’m running. I’m the only one in the race that candidly has a record of delivering for people. So my principle opponent is trying to encourage people to be for her because of her party label. And it’s hard to see any evidence that she advanced the ball on behalf of the people in our city. � CONTINUES AT WASHINGTONBLADE.COM WASHINGTONBLADE.COM 04 ã OCTOBER 24, 2014 LOCAL NEWS Catania: ‘I’m best qualified to be mayor’  ‘I see a city that can do better,’ said mayoral candidate DAVID CATANIA . ‘And I see things that aren’t right and I want to make them right.’ WASHINGTON BLADE FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL KEY
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