If the states had a contest to see which one could pass the most hateful and broadly discriminatory law, Mississippi would be the winner—at least for now. Mississippi is the “South of the South,” according a friend familiar with “the South.” To keep their pride—and poverty— the state legislature has passed, and Gov. Phil Bryant has signed, a law that may be the model for the conservative extremists in other red states. Legislators started with right-wing reaction to giving marriage rights to same-gender couples and then accelerated with the thought of transgender people using the bathroom that matches their gender identity—and their appearance. The claim is protecting “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions,” but its purpose is to allow discrimination against most people to run amok. It allows employers to use not only bathroom and locker access policies but also dress code and grooming.
On May 19, 2015, I will be standing outside my precinct polling place asking my constituents to vote for me in the 2015 Primary for a seat on the Bellefonte Borough Council representing the 3rd (or West) Ward. There are three seats for this section of town with one seat being elected for a four-year term starting on January 1, 2016.
There are two people — myself and a 32-year incumbent — running on the Democratic ticket. There is no one running on the Republican ticket. So I am running both a regular primary campaign on the Democratic side and a write-in campaign on the Republican ballot.
Volunteers on both sides of the aisle are writing letters, door knocking, and making calls on my behalf. Click here, here, here, here, here, and here for links to the letters to the editor that have so far appeared in the Centre Daily Times endorsing my campaign for Bellefonte Borough Council. Thanks everyone.
As part of the campaign, I was interviewed by C-NET, our local cable access TV network on April 25. The following clips are from that interview broken down by question.
Question 1: Why are you running?
Question 2: How should Bellefonte Council deal with developing a town budget?
Question 3: How do you see Bellefonte dealing with affordable housing?
Question 4: Thoughts on the development of the Garman and Cadillac sites
FYI, the Garman and Cadillac buildings, aka “The Mews,” is the downtown development project. This project will renovate the Cadillac Building (designed by Anna Wagner Keichline, Pennsylvania’s first female registered architect) and build a new building on the former site of the Garman Opera House and the Hotel DoDe into a set affordable housing units. There has been a lot of controversy about this project including how decisions were made in selecting the developer and how the community and historic preservation were ignored during the process.
Question 5: Courthouse v. Town
With legal issues surrounding the Courthouse, how do you raise the town above that? How do you let people know that Bellefonte is more than just the Courthouse and the people involved in it?
Question 6: Should Bellefonte become part of the Centre Region?
Centre County is divided into seven planning regions. The Centre Region is where State College and the Pennsylvania State University are located. It is the population center of the county. Bellefonte is part of the Nittany Valley Region.
Question 7: Economic Development of Bellefonte’s Downtown and the Waterfront Districts
Q8: Tell us about yourself
In answer to this question I talked about my community organizing and community policy background and how that qualifies me to serve as a member of the Bellefonte Borough Council.
AND NOW: Get Out and Vote!
So… if you live in Pennsylvania, remember to vote on Tuesday, May 19. Polls open at 7 am and close at 8 pm.
If you live in Bellefonte’s 3rd (West) Ward, please vote for Joanne Tosti-Vasey. If you are a Democratic, I am number 2 on the Borough Council section of the Democratic ballot; please fill in the bubble next to my name on your ballot. If you are a Republican, please write in “Joanne Tosti-Vasey” in the Borough Council section of your ballot.
Progressive commentary from Gainesville, Florida, once called the Berkeley of the South. Potano was the chief of and the only known name of the Native American tribe inhabiting the area around what is now Gainesville at the time the Europeans arrived.
“It takes no compromise to give people their rights…it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.” – Harvey Milk
Learn more about the state laws being introduced and passed around the U.S. that is limiting Women's rights. Did you know that the Women's Equal Right Amendment from 1983 still needs to be ratified by 3 more states before it goes into effect?