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Committee voids election of gay official as head of Ward 6 Dems

Richardson formerly served as mayor’s GLBT liaison

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Jeffrey Richardson, Vincent Gray, Washington D.C., Mayor's Office of GLBT Affairs, gay news, Washington Blade
Jeffrey Richardson, gay news, Washington Blade, Ward 6

Jeffrey Richardson formerly served as mayor’s GLBT liaison. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The D.C. Democratic State Committee ruled on Oct. 11 that the Oct. 1 election of gay activist and city official Jeffrey Richardson as president of the Ward 6 Democratic Committee should be voided on grounds that eligible voters were denied the right to vote.

Richardson is director of the Mayor’s Office of Volunteerism and is the former head of the Mayor’s Office of GLBT Affairs.

The decision calling for voiding the election and calling for a new election came in an eight-page “Report and Order” dated Oct. 14 and signed by State Committee Chairperson and D.C. Council member Anita Bonds (D-At-Large). The report says the ruling was in response to separate challenges contesting the election by gay ANC Commissioner Alexander Padro and Democratic Party activist Sheila White.

The ruling calls for voiding the election of the entire slate of Ward 6 Democratic officers elected at the Oct. 1 meeting.

Padro and White stated in their challenges that they and others were misled by public notices announcing the election. They said the notices announced the election would be held during an Oct. 1 meeting scheduled to take place between 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Instead, according to the ruling, those attending the meeting adopted “Rules of the Day” that “substantially reduced the anticipated voting time from 90 minutes to approximately 10 minutes.” The ruling says the only way potential voters could have known about the restricted voting time would be for them to have been present at the start of the meeting.

“The reduction of voting time unduly disenfranchised Ward 6 Democrats and ultimately resulted in the denial of the opportunity for certain Ward 6 voters to exercise their constitutional right to vote,” the ruling says.

Charles Allen, president of Ward 6 Democrats up until the completion of the election, told the Blade the procedures used for holding the election were consistent with the organization’s bylaws. He said the procedures and rules for the election were submitted to the State Committee in advance of the election and no one raised any objections.

Allen said he chose not to seek re-election. On Tuesday he announced his candidacy for the Ward 6 D.C. Council seat current held by Tommy Wells. Wells is giving up the seat to run for mayor.

Richardson did not respond to requests by the Blade for comment.

Chuck Burger, a Ward 6 Democrats member who won election on Oct. 1 as 3rd Vice President, disputed the State Committee’s ruling that the election was flawed.

“We are standing by our election,” he told the Blade. “We conducted our election according to our by-laws.”

Those familiar with State Committee rules said the State Committee may not have authority to force a ward Democratic committee to void an election and hold a new election. But the State Committee could refuse to certify the election and refuse to seat Richardson or another Ward 6 Democrats member as a full member of the State Committee, which serves as the governing body of the D.C. Democratic Party.

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Comings & Goings

Cummings joins White House Office of National Cyber Director

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John Cummings

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected]

Congratulations to John Cummings on joining the Office of the National Cyber Director at the White House as Director of Supply Chain and Technology Security. Upon getting the position, he said, “I am beyond thrilled to join the growing team at the National Cyber Director’s Office and bring my experience to our mission of mitigating the cyber threats facing our nation and ensuring every American can enjoy the full benefits of the digital ecosystem. It is truly a privilege to work with this incredibly brilliant and collegial group of cyber experts.” 

Prior to joining the White House, Cummings served as Associate General Counsel at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Before that role, he served as interim Chief Counsel for ODNI’s National Counterintelligence and Security Center and as Associate General Counsel for the Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community.

He has provided legal advice and counsel on matters of government-wide and interagency policy and national security in the areas of executive authority, cyber, constitutional law, civil rights and civil liberties, legislative affairs, and international cooperation. He has worked on recruiting LGBTQ, women, and minority applicants for government roles in national security and is experienced in public relations, stakeholder relationships, and international partnerships. 

Cummings began his career clerking for the Honorable Ivan L.R. Lemelle, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and also clerked for the House Committee on Homeland Security and the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security.

He attended Villanova University where he received a bachelor’s degree in English. He earned his J.D. from Loyola Law, New Orleans, and his LL.M. in National Security Law from Georgetown Law.

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Maryland

Abortion rights in post-Roe Maryland, Delaware

Practice generally legal, with some restrictions

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (Public domain photo)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, which in 1973 found that the decision to receive an abortion was generally protected by the Constitution of the United States. With the broadest federal protection of abortion access now rescinded, the legality of abortion will by and large be determined on the state level.

In Delaware, abortion is legal through the Medical Practice Act — but with some restrictions.

After fetal viability, or the point where a fetus can survive outside the uterus, abortion in the First State becomes illegal unless necessary for the patient’s “life or health,” or if the fetus has a condition “for which there is not a reasonable likelihood” that it will survive outside the uterus, according to Subchapter IX of the act

Additionally, under the state’s Parental Notice of Abortion Act, physicians cannot perform a surgical abortion on minors under the age of 16 unless the patient’s parent or guardian has received at least 24 hours notice from a medical professional. Notice is not required for nonsurgical abortions.

On the federal level, the funding of abortion is illegal through the 1977 Hyde Amendement “except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest,” according to the Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and reproductive rights advocacy organization. States are only federally required to fund abortions that meet these conditions through federal-state Medicaid programs. 

While some states also fund abortions deemed medically necessary regardless of whether they endanger a patient’s life, Delaware state law does not extend beyond federal guidelines: The state only funds abortions in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.

Abortion legislation in Delaware mirrors neighboring Maryland, whose laws include similar restrictions on abortion after fetal viability and abortion for minors under the age of 16. But abortion laws in these states are generally more restrictive than other mid-Atlantic counterparts, such as New Jersey and New York.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) weighed in on the state’s abortion law on Friday.

“In 1992, Maryland voters approved a constitutional referendum legalizing and protecting access to abortion as a matter of state law – that measure remains in effect today following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson. I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of Maryland, and that is what I have always done and will continue to do as governor.”

The impact of Roe v. Wade’s fall in Delaware remains uncertain. While the abortion rate in Delaware steadily declined between 2014 and 2017, recent findings show that instances of abortion are increasing once again in the state, reflecting a rise on the national level.

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Virginia

Youngkin backs abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy

Republican governor supports exceptions for incest, rape and protecting mother’s life

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Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade said he will seek to ban abortions in his state after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

“Virginians do want fewer abortions as opposed to more abortions,” Youngkin told the Washington Post. “I am not someone who is going to jump in and try to push us apart … There is a place we can come together.”

Youngkin, a Republican, took office in January.

His party controls the Virginia House of Delegates, but Democrats maintain a 21-19 majority in the state Senate.

“Today, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Dobbs, giving power back to the states to make decisions on abortion,” said Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears in a statement. “The court has recognized that the 1973 decision was an example of judicial and federal overreach. The important question of abortion has now been returned to statehouses across the country, in order for them to make their own policy decisions, which is exactly what the founding fathers envision when they wrote the 10th amendment to the Constitution.” 

“I applaud the court for recognizing this wrong and having the courage to correct it. I look forward to working with the governor and the General Assembly in the next legislative session on legislation that respects life,” she added.

Abortion is currently legal in Virginia during the first and second trimesters.

Youngkin on Friday said he supports abortion exemptions in cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is at risk.

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