Saturday, September 23, 2006

Senator Dianne Wilkerson: Bought by MassEquality

We often ask here in Massachusetts how incredibly corrupt and incompetent legislators continue to be re-elected. The answer is, of course, that powerful special interests -- in the case of State Senator Dianne Wilkerson, MassEquality (the GLBT lobby) -- throw their money and workers behind a candidate who would otherwise fail. Then they own the candidate.

Of course the Boston Globe and Herald say nothing about MassEquality's huge role in Wilkerson's victory.

Wilkerson is important to MassEquality's race card playing. Same with their darling Deval Patrick.
They clearly state that they will use his race to further their cause. Wilkerson is a black who says homosexually-behaving people's demands for special rights is equivalent to the civil rights struggle of the 60's, where people's inborn physical characteristic was the grounds for discrimination.

It seemed like good news a few months back when Wilkerson, through sheer incompetence, failed to get enough signatures to appear on the Democrat primary ballot. We were hopeful. But then she miraculously pulled off a write-in victory on Tuesday, over other reasonable (when compared to her) write-in candidates. Given her foul record, how could this have happened?

Bay Windows' coverage explains it all. According to Wilkerson, "MassEquality ... did everything." They "pulled out all the stops" to get her elected. See "
A very gay day" (Sept 21, 2006):

Same-sex marriage advocates managed to protect all of their incumbent supporters facing challengers, showing for the second election season in a row that the LGBT community is willing to go to the mat for lawmakers who support marriage equality. In particular, Solomon [Director of MassEquality] said MassEquality pulled out all the stops to support Sen. Dianne Wilkerson (D-Boston), a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage who had failed to collect the required 300 signatures to appear on the primary ballot and who faced a four-way sticker campaign to win back her own seat....

Solomon, who worked the polls in Jamaica Plain and the South End for the Wilkerson campaign, said the LGBT community showed its loyalty to one of its strongest supporters by coming out in force for Wilkerson. On primary day the campaign had 600 positions for volunteers, and MassEquality supporters filled 130 of those, and MassEquality also sent out mailings urging members of the LGBT community to support her. In addition to Solomon, MassEquality’s field organizer Jesse Sullivan also spent the day working on behalf of the campaign. Beyond MassEquality, the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus also recruited volunteers to work for Wilkerson’s campaign, including co-chairs Arline Isaacson and Gary Daffin.

“I’m so proud of what the gay community did in this race,” said Solomon.

He said MassEquality faced criticism from some of its own supporter for backing Wilkerson, who has faced her own share of criticism and bad press over the years. In 1997 she pleaded guilty of failing to pay her income taxes, she was sued by Attorney General Tom Reilly’s office a year ago for campaign finance violations, a series of Boston Herald stories have raised allegations (but no charges) of perjury relating to a manslaughter case involving two of her nephews.

On top of all that her failure to get on the ballot had some observers ready to write off her political career, and two of her challengers, Chang-Diaz and Republican Samiyah Diaz, raised Wilkerson’s character as a major issue in the race. Yet Solomon said Wilkerson’s support for the community, and in particular
her celebrated speech in favor of marriage equality during the 2004 constitutional convention, during which she compared the struggle for gay rights to the fight for African American civil rights, earned her the loyalty of the community.

“We took some pretty serious flack from our members for being as outspoken as we were,” said Solomon.

And even among some of her volunteers there was the sense that Wilkerson had strained the relationship with her supporters. Claire Humphrey, a former Freedom to Marry Coalition of Massachusetts board member, worked the polls for Wilkerson’s campaign from 6:30 a.m. until closing alongside her wife, MassEquality board member Vickie Henry. Humphrey said she and her fellow campaign workers were willing to wage the labor-intensive campaign needed to win a sticker campaign, but she was upset with Wilkerson for putting her supporters in that position by failing to qualify for the ballot.

“I’m disappointed, like a lot of people are. [But] she’s come through so much, she’s family now … You can take the ups and downs of family more than you do others. She’s more than earned my loyalty,” said Humphrey.

Wilkerson herself said she was grateful for the work MassEquality did in her campaign. “MassEquality was awesome… They did everything. They recruited volunteers, they helped raise money,” said Wilkerson. She also credited them with reminding the LGBT community of her role in the marriage fight.