March 9, 2016 at 1:31 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Gay man running for Delaware House
Joe Daigle, gay news, Washington Blade

Joe Daigle last month filed his paperwork to run for a seat in the Delaware House of Representatives. (Photo courtesy of Joe Daigle)

A gay man has announced his candidacy for the Delaware House of Representatives.

Joe Daigle filed his campaign paperwork on Feb. 11. The North Wilmington resident who hopes to represent Delaware’s 7th Representative District officially kicked off his campaign on March 1.

“It started like a lot of things from a personal place, from a point of self-reflection,” Daigle told the Washington Blade on Tuesday during a telephone interview as he discussed his campaign. “I am extremely passionate about building community.”

The 7th Representative District includes Claymont, Arden and portions of North Wilmington.

Daigle, 27, will face former state Rep. David Brady and Ashbourne Hills Civic Association President Robert Cameron in the Democratic primary on Sept. 13. The three men are hoping to succeed state Rep. Bryon Short (D-Newark), who is running for Congress.

Daigle would be the first openly LGBT person elected to the Delaware House if he were to win in November. State Sen. Karen Peterson (D-Stanton) came out in 2013 as she spoke in support of a same-sex marriage bill before it passed in the Delaware Senate.

Beau Biden’s death ‘extremely tragic’

Daigle, who currently works for JPMorgan Chase, was a member of the Newark Arts Alliance board of directors. He stepped down as president of the Barbara Gittings Delaware Stonewall Democrats last month in order to run for the state House.

Daigle and his husband, Dan Cole, are the first same-sex couple who had not previously entered into a civil union to legally marry in the state. Then-Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden was among those who spoke at their wedding that took place on July 1, 2013, the day the state’s same-sex marriage law took effect.

“This was one of the most exciting moments of my life,” Daigle told the Blade shortly after he and Cole exchanged vows in the Marian Cruger Coffin Gardens at the Gibraltar Mansion in Wilmington. “I am so happy to be married to Dan.”

Biden, who was the son of Vice President Biden, died of brain cancer last May at the age of 46.

“His passing was extremely tragic,” said Daigle. “It was hard for everyone in the community and it was equally hard for us. It’s a huge loss for Delaware not only because he was a great advocate and a leader, but he was such a genuine guy.”

Daigle on Tuesday also discussed the presidential campaign.

“Our national attention on sensationalism is scary,” he told the Blade. “It’s very scary that we continue to reduce politics, leadership and community to buzzwords and tearing down other groups of people.”

Daigle said he is “still personally thinking about” whether to endorse former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for president.

“I’ve been a fan of both Bernie and Hillary for years,” Daigle told the Blade.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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