October 11, 2016 at 9:13 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Grosso receives highest GLAA rating
GLAA, David Grosso, gay news, Washington Blade

Council member David Grosso earned GLAA’s highest possible score. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance on Monday announced it assigned D.C. Council member David Grosso (I-At-Large) a +10 rating on LGBT issues, the group’s highest possible score.

Grosso was among five independent or minor party candidates for D.C. Council that did not run in the city’s June primary and which GLAA rated this week in its final round of ratings before the Nov. 8 general election.

It its earlier round of ratings in May, GLAA also assigned a +10 rating to Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) and former Mayor Vincent Gray, who is running for the Ward 7 Council seat.

Gray, a longtime supporter of LGBT rights, defeated incumbent Council member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) in the Democratic primary in June to become the party’s nominee for the seat.

GLAA rates candidates on a scale ranging from -10 to +10, with -10 being the lowest possible rating and + 10 the highest score.

In a statement accompanying its latest ratings this week, GLAA said Grosso agreed with GLAA on all issues and “offered strong substance” in his responses to GLAA’s candidate questionnaire.

“He has an extensive record supporting LGBT concerns, including introduction and passage of bills to prevent youth suicide and to require LGBT cultural competency for medical professionals,” the GLAA statement says.

GLAA said it assigned a “0” rating to independent at-large candidate John G. Cheeks and Libertarian Party at-large candidate Matthew Klokel because the two did not return the GLAA questionnaire and the group said it was unaware of the two candidates’ position on LGBT issues.

In its earlier round of ratings, GLAA gave at-large candidate Robert White, a Democrat, a rating of +8.5. Statehood Green Party at-large candidate G. Lee Aikin received a +7.5 rating and Republican at-large candidate Carolina Celnik received a +1.5 rating.

In its accompanying statements, GLAA said Celnik provided “some positive substance” in her questionnaire answers but opposes GLAA’s positions on certain non-LGBT specific issues, such as GLAA’s opposition to school vouchers and its support for an assisted suicide bill.

Under the city’s election law, voters have the option of voting for two at-large candidates, with the two receiving the highest vote counts being declared the winners.

Grosso and White, who’s also a longtime supporter of LGBT rights, are considered the strong favorites to win the two seats in November.

In the Ward 7 race, GLAA gave independent candidate Gary Butler a +2.5 rating, saying he “agreed with GLAA on most issues but offered minimal substance and has no known record on LGBT issues.”

The group gave Ward 7 independent candidate Christian Carter a “0” rating because Carter did not return the questionnaire and has no known record on LGBT issues.

Evans, Council member Brandon Todd (D-Ward 4), and Trayon White, the Democratic candidate for the Ward 8 Council seat, are running unopposed in the November election.

White, who defeated incumbent Council member LaRuby May in the June primary, received a +4 rating from GLAA. The group said White agreed with GLAA on all issues in his questionnaire “but offered little substance and has a limited record on LGBT issues”

Todd, who has been supportive on LGBT issues since winning his seat in a special election last year, received a +5 GLAA rating. GLAA called Todd an ally for LGBT issues on the Council but said he offered “limited substance” on his questionnaire and disagreed with GLAA on the issue of school vouchers and GLAA’s call for separating the city’s Emergency Medical Services unit from the Fire Department.

GLAA does not issue ratings for candidates running for other offices, including the D.C. Board of Education, congressional delegate, or shadow House and Senate seats.

In the congressional races, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), a longtime supporter of LGBT rights, is considered the strong favorite to win. She is being challenged by gay Libertarian Party candidate Martin Moulton and Statehood Green Party candidate Natale Stracuzzi.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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