Schember Receives LGBTQ+ Community Endorsement
LGBTQ+ leaders officially endorse incumbent mayor as Democratic candidate
Several of Erie's LGBTQ+ leaders recently announced that they would be proud to continue to support a mayor that has continually supported Pride. In a written statement, they officially endorsed incumbent Joe Schember in the May 18 Democratic primary election.
They went on to list a number of strides the Schember administration has made for Pride from the time he officially took office in 2018.
- Schember institutes the City of Erie LGBT Council, which meets quarterly to counsel him on LGBTQ+ issues.
- Schember is the first Erie mayor to march in the Erie Pride Parade and the second (Rick Filippi, 2003) to speak at the Erie Pride Rally in Perry Square. He repeats both gestures in 2019 before 2020's events are canceled due to the pandemic.
- Schember allows Pride Flag to fly over City Hall, crosswalks in Perry Square to be painted in the Pride rainbow colors.
- Schember calls to ban any local practice of conversion therapy on LGBTQ+ youth, a motion that passes unanimously in City Council.
- As a result of Schember's ongoing efforts, the Human Relation Campaign's Municipal Equality Index (MEI) for Erie rose 46 points, from 34/100 in 2018 to 80/100 in 2020.
- Schember publicly implores Congress to pass the Equality Act, and urges Erie's federal delegation workers to do the same.
The endorsement was signed by the following figures:
- Dr. Will Koehler, former president of the Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE)
- Alex Sphon, president of NWPA Pride Alliance, Inc.
- Leah Manino, City of Erie LGBT Council
- Caitlyn Strohmeyer, Founder and former president of TransFamily of NWPA
- Dale Allegier, former vice president of GEAE
- Leroy Oglesby, City of Erie LGBT Council
- Kim Conti, president of LBT Women of Erie
- Rev. Dr. Richard McCarty, former president of GEAE
- Kevin Seeker, City of Erie LGBT Council
- Lucy Reyes, City of Erie LGBT Council
- Kyle Hannon, vice president of GEAE
- Cody Empey, Treasurer of GEAE
- Mike Pruzinsky, former Secretary of GEAE
- Rex Apps, Board of Director of NWPA Pride Alliance, Inc.
- Tammie Johnson, City of Erie LGBT Council
- Emily Crofoot, City of Erie LGBT Council
- Bob Howden, former president and founding member of GEAE
- Deb Bartle, Board of Directors of GEAE
"We, as LGBTQ+ leaders from across the Erie region, are proud to endorse Erie Mayor Joe Schember for re-election. From the beginning of his term, he has acted as one of the foremost local elected officials supporting LGBTQ+ rights," they wrote.
Matt Swanseger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org