In this is refreshing news, Chris Anderson, from my home state of Tennessee is running as the first openly gay candidate for next week’s District 7 election. Anderson also states that he wanted to be open about his sexuality to be honest when other politicians have had to keep their sexual orientation a secret:
“I’m the first openly gay candidate for Chattanooga in any office. I’m also the only openly gay candidate running for office anywhere in Tennessee today.”
“I’d just as soon it not be the focus of the conversation, but I think people have a right to know. I don’t ever want to be in a place where I’m not honest with the people who I am asking to vote for me … Tennessee is not very socially progressive, but Chattanooga is socially progressive. I’d say [District 7] is the most socially progressive district in the city, and I don’t think it’s anything that is going to prevent me from winning.”
Anderson, 32, has been with his partner for over 10 years and serves as the Bluff View Art District’s director of food and beverages. Anderson is currently in Charlotte, NC for the Democratic National Convention joining roughly 400 others to show favor for the Democratic Party’s platform on same-sex marriage.
His opposition who has served as the District 7 representative since 2005, Manny Rico, refreshingly said that he will not be focusing on Anderson’s sexuality but rather his experience:
“I’ve heard comments about it, but I’m not going there. It’s not the reason he would not make a good councilman—it’s just cause he’s not qualified. City Council is a full-time job, and Chris being openly gay has nothing to do with his ability to be a leader or an elected official.”
How civilized that Rico is focusing on real concerns for the candidate rather than his sexuality? Kudos. It is definitely a departure from Tennessee legislatures’ ridiculously unjust attempt to pass the “Don’t Say Gay” bill that would’ve banned homosexual related from instruction in school.
Hopefully Anderson’s unabashed stance on his sexual orientation will encourage other politicians to do the same. Good Luck next week Chris Anderson!!!