A Protestant minister who was ordained at the Metropolitan Community Church of D.C., which is part of the worldwide LGBTQ Christian denomination Universal Fellowship of MCC Churches and who describes herself a strong LGBTQ ally, has announced her candidacy for the D.C. Congressional Delegate seat in the city’s June 2022 Democratic primary.
Rev. Wendy Hamilton, who would be challenging longtime D.C. Congressional Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton if Norton runs for re-election, declared her candidacy for the delegate seat at a Jan. 30 ceremony in front of the statue of famed black civil rights advocate Mary McLeod Bethune in D.C.’ s Lincoln Park near Capitol Hill.
“I am running for Congress because there is a need for a fundamental change in direction, culture and mindset of this country,” Hamilton says in a statement on her campaign website. “We are stuck in a never-ending cycle and expect different results,” her statement says.
“We have to shift to a more human centered approach to government that is holistic in its assessment of its citizens’ needs,” she said. “The status quo will not do. We need a new approach and I want to be a part of that.”
In her announcement speech Hamilton said she would be a strong advocate for D.C. statehood and for a “progressive” agenda that would include education and criminal justice reform, improved mental health services, environmental justice, and affordable housing. She said she would also push for a “universal basic income” through which “each D.C. resident would be given $1,000 a month free and clear for life,” according to her website statement.
When asked by the Washington Blade after her announcement speech what message she would have for LGBTQ people in D.C. as to why they should vote for her, she said she would continue to be a strong supporter of LGBTQ equality.
“The LGBTQ community has been so instrumental in my life to the point that I wouldn’t probably be standing here as an ordained minister if it wasn’t for the Metropolitan Community Churches that have ordained me, that took me in and invited me in as an ally of the community and have treated me like family,” Hamilton told the Blade.
“For the last year and a half prior to the pandemic I was the part-time pastor of the Open Door Metropolitan Community Church,” she said, referring to the MCC in Germantown, Md. “My entire congregation was the LGBTQ community. And I learned from my mother how to accept people for who they are,” she said.
“And I also understand from my faith that God loves everyone. And so, I’ve always felt a very strong connection and allyship if you will.”
Hamilton’s campaign website says her experience includes working on Capitol Hill, serving as an adjunct professor of communications at the University of Phoenix and at the Community College of Baltimore County, and recently as executive assistant to Benjamin Jealous, the former president and CEO of the NAACP. She received a bachelor’s degree in human development from Howard University and a master’s degree from Howard University’s School of Divinity, her campaign website says.
Norton, a beloved figure in D.C. politics and longtime LGBTQ rights advocate who has held the D.C. congressional delegate seat for 30 years, ran unopposed in the 2020 D.C. Democratic primary. She won re-election in the November general election with 86.3 percent of the vote in an eight-candidate race, with none of her lesser-known opponents receiving more than 2.05 percent of the vote.
The Blade asked Hamilton if she considers Norton’s popularity among D.C. voters a possible insurmountable challenge if Norton runs for re-election.
“Actually, I don’t in a sense that I respect Eleanor Holmes Norton,” Hamilton said. “She’s my elder. She has done a wonderful job for this city. And I have nothing bad to say about her,” Hamilton continued. “I walk in those footsteps. What I believe is that I am running for D.C., not against Eleanor. And that was what motivated me to step into this role and decide to present what I feel is the continuation, if you will.”
Most D.C. political observers consider Norton the odds-on favorite to win in 2022 if she decides to run for another term. Should Norton decide not to run again, a large number of well-known political figures with greater name recognition than Hamilton would be expected to enter the race for Norton’s seat, political observers say.
Hamilton’s positions on a wide range of issues can be accessed at revwendyforcongress.com.