FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 13, 2022
Contact: Tyrone Hanley, GLAA President
October 13, 2022 – GLAA is glad to release our official 2022 General Elections Ratings. The ratings are based solely on the issues and may not be interpreted as endorsements. Founded in 1971, GLAA is an all-volunteer, non-partisan, non-profit civic organization. GLAA serves as a network of people committed to defending human rights and advocating for the advancement of LGBTQ+ people in the District of Columbia. GLAA is the nation’s oldest continuously active LGBTQ+ civil rights organization.
Ratings are based on a candidate’s response to the GLAA questionnaire, their record on issues included in GLAA’s Leave No One Behind: 2022 Election Guide, and support of the LGBTQ+ community in Washington, DC. The guide outlines key priorities for addressing the needs of LGBTQ+ residents while focusing on housing, workers’ rights, health, and policing and incarceration. Scores are calculated on a 20 point scale, ranging from -10 to +10.
- In the Ward 1 race, Incumbent Brianne K. Nadeau earned the highest rating of any candidate, with +9.5.
- In the At-Large Council race, Elissa Silverman leads the field with a rating of +7.
- In the Ward 3 Council race, Matt Frumin earned a rating of +4.
- In the Ward 5 Council race, Zachary Parker earned a rating of +6.5.
- In the Ward 6 Council race, Charles Allen earned a rating of +8.5.
- In the Council Chair race, incumbent Phil Mendelson earned a rating of +6.
- In the race for Mayor, Incumbent Muriel Bowser leads the field with a rating of +6.
- In the Attorney General race, Bruce Schwalb earned a rating of +5.5.
GLAA thanks all the candidates who responded to our questionnaire. More information, including the candidate’s responses and a short explanation of our rates are available below.
Questionnaire Key available ratings points: yes/no +/- 2 points Questionnaire: substantive grasp of issues +/- 4 points Record: +/- 4 points Total available: +/- 10 points
- Council Chair:
- At Large
- Ward 1:
- Ward 5
- Ward 3
- Ward 6
- Attorney General
The ratings are as follows*:
Incumbent Muriel E. Bowser (+6) supports GLAA’s policy brief on most issues, and her responses have a slightly above average level of detail. Mayor Bowser has given general support to the LGBTQ+ community. Unfortunately, her record on the policy brief issues is more mixed, even as she has advocated to expand healthcare access to residents east of the Anacostia River. While she included key LGBTQ+ Budget Coalition priorities in her FY23 budget, this has not been the case in prior years. Her positions on many issues cost her points, including past opposition to sex work decriminalization; the elimination of the tipped minimum wage; and a tax increase for wealthy residents to support affordable housing for LGBTQ+ residents.
GLAA appreciates Rhonda Hamilton’s (+4) humanized story about her family’s experience with drug addiction and her support for better drug policies. Unfortunately, her response on sex work decriminalization perpetuates stigma against sex workers and other groups. She could have received more points if she discussed her record with more detail.
Dennis Sobin (+0) submitted a brief letter outlining his plans for office, but he did not submit responses to GLAA’s questionnaire. Because of this, GLAA did not rate the candidate.
Candidate Brian Schwalb (+5.5) supports GLAA’s policy brief on many issues, and his responses have comprehensive and thoughtful details. His pro bono legal work with Us Helping Us, People into Living Inc. bolsters his record. Disappointingly, he opposes decriminalization of sex work and drugs, establishing overdose prevention centers, and divesting from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Incumbent Phil Mendelson (+6) supports GLAA’s policy brief on many issues, and his responses have significant detail. He has historically been a champion for the LGBTQ+ community, and GLAA values his support of decriminalizing drug possession. However, he loses points for his recent record opposing key issues, such as a tax increase for wealthy residents to support affordable housing for LGBTQ+ residents, Initiative 77 after DC residents voted in favor of ending the tipped minimum wage, sex work decriminalization, and his failure to champion LGBTQ+ Budget Coalition priorities.
Incumbent Elissa Silverman (+7) supports GLAA on almost all the issues in the policy brief, and her previous work on the Labor Committee championing workers’ rights and dignity plus her advocacy for increased funding to the Office of Human Rights are noteworthy. Silverman’s responses articulate an understanding of structural issues, and she stated that she wants to learn more about safe consumption sites. Silverman lost points by arguing for increased funding for the MPD and a lack of depth in some of her answers.
Kenyan McDuffie (+6.5) agrees with GLAA on many of the issues in the policy brief and his responses included significant detail. McDuffie’s role in championing criminal justice reform, particularly authoring and seeking implementation of the NEAR Act, is noteworthy. He lost points for hedging on some responses and his votes against a tax increase for wealthy residents to support affordable housing for LGBTQ+ residents and overturning Initiative 77 after DC residents voted in favor of ending the tipped minimum wage.
Incumbent Anita Bonds (+6) supports GLAA’s policy brief on almost all issues, but her responses have little substance. She has a record of supporting some LGBTQ+ issues, such as co-introducing the sex work decriminalization bill, and GLAA values her support. However, she loses points for her recent record of opposing a tax increase for wealthy residents to support affordable housing for LGBTQ+ residents and overturning Initiative 77 after DC residents voted in favor of ending the tipped minimum wage. Bolder and more creative leadership on addressing the urgent housing crisis would have scored Councilmember Bonds, Chair of the Committee on Housing and Executive Administration, more points.
David Schwartzman (+6) agrees with GLAA’s policy brief on all the issues. His housing answers call for structural reforms to address unaffordable housing, including support for the DC Green New Deal. He received points for his record of work with the Fair Budget Coalition and Empower DC, and testimony in support of drug decriminalization and in opposition to the Council’s repeal of DC-voter approved Initiative 77 that would have ended the tipped minimum wage. He lost points due to his lack of depth on some of his responses.
Graham McLaughlin (+5) provided some good substance in his responses, and his past work demonstrates his commitment to some of GLAA’s priorities. McLaughlin lost points for his lack of full support on issues, such as, the establishment of overdose prevention facilities, decarceration, decriminalization of drugs and sex work, and MPD divestment.
Karim D. Marshall (+4) agrees with GLAA on many of the issues in the policy brief but some of his responses lacked substance. Marshall’s past work in connection with the Office of Human Rights and on equity initiatives is noteworthy. Although he did not support (or oppose) decriminalization of sex work and the establishment of overdose prevention centers, his responses on those issues showed nuance.
Ward 1 Councilmember
Incumbent Brianne K. Nadeau (+9.5) supports GLAA’s policy brief on all issues except for divesting from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and her responses have excellent substance. She provides thorough details on her record, which is extensive on the issues in GLAA’s policy brief, particularly housing and homelessness. While she does not agree to divest from MPD, she has shown leadership on police reform by focusing on non-policing solutions to address community-based harassment, ensuring better oversight of MPD spending on officers’ overtime pay, authoring legislation banning MPD’s use of chemical weapons, and supporting efforts to reallocate MPD money to fund supportive services. She also co-introduced the bill to decriminalize sex work and authored legislation to decriminalize street vending.
Ward 3 Councilmember
Candidate Matt Frumin (+4) supports GLAA’s policy brief on all issues save for the decriminalization of sex work, and his responses have an average level of detail. He is notable as one of the few candidates to support divesting from the Metropolitan Police Department and investing more in other approaches to public safety. GLAA did not receive enough details about his track record on the policy brief priorities, and a stronger demonstration of how his past work impacts LGBTQ+ people specifically is needed.
Ward 5 Councilmember
Candidate Zachary Parker (+6.5) supports GLAA’s policy brief on most issues, and his responses have an average level of detail. GLAA did not receive enough details about his track record on the policy brief priorities, and a stronger demonstration of how his past work impacts LGBTQ+ people specifically is needed. GLAA appreciates him coming out as gay while running for office.
Ward 6 Councilmember
Incumbent Charles Allen (+8.5) supports GLAA’s policy brief on most issues, and his responses have excellent substance. He showed creativity and leadership by funding a trans youth workforce development training program using MPD funds, as well as voting to fund housing and services for low-income residents by increasing taxes on the most wealthy. However, as chair of the powerful Judiciary Committee, he could show greater leadership on moving bills that would dramatically improve LGBTQ+ residents’ lives.
*NOTE: Any general election candidate who did not respond to the questionnaire received a +0 score.