Alliance picks Barrios and Demakis
BY SETH GITELL
As part of its long-standing tradition of rewarding loyal allies, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Political Alliance of Massachusetts has made its endorsements in state-senator and -representative races, and this time there are no surprises. The statewide grassroots group gave its nod to two state representatives who have fought for gay rights on Beacon Hill ó State Representative Paul Demakis of the Back Bay and State Representative Jarrett Barrios of Cambridge. The group also endorsed State Senator Brian Joyce of Milton, who is facing a primary challenge from former State House staffer Peri OíConnor.
Both representatives are in tight political battles. For his part, Demakis is facing a challenge from Cambridge city councilor Marjorie Decker. And for Barrios, who is running to replace Senate president Tom Birmingham, the endorsement of the biggest gay political group in the state gives him a boost over former Cambridge mayor Anthony Galluccio and Everett alderman Carlo DeMaria. (OUTSomerville, a Somerville-based gay political-action committee, raised eyebrows last week when it failed to make an endorsement in that race.)
But choosing Barrios was little trouble for the Alliance. " Over the years, our members have come to know Jarrett very well and have seen his actions in the State House working on our behalf against the DOMA amendment and for domestic partnerships, " says group spokesperson Jeremy Pittman. " Our members know he will work very hard and deserves our support. "
As for Demakis, whose district was revamped when House leaders included a swath of Cambridge in it, Pittman says, " Paul Demakis has not just been a supporter on these issues, but has been a true champion. " Pittman notes that while Decker has won " respect " for her work in Cambridge, Demakisís sponsorship of the domestic-partnership bill and constant work on the issue has rendered him the only person the group could support. " Everything we have ever asked [of] Representative Demakis, he has done. It would be inconsistent for us to pull the rug out from under him right now. "
Finally, the Alliance backed Joyce, who has grown from a pro-life legislator with little experience on gay issues to one of its strongest advocates in the Senate. " He didnít know that much about our issues, but through our efforts to educate him and his own interest in the issue, he developed a consciousness around lesbian and gay issues, " Pittman notes. " He was largely responsible for moving domestic partnership through the Senate. "
Issue Date: August 15 - 22, 2002
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