Jordan Botta Seeks to be Bridge to LGBTQ Community on Pittsburgh City Council

Jordan Botta.

Jordan Botta, 32, is a 5th generation resident of Pittsburgh City Council District 7 which consists of the city neighborhoods of Bloomfield, Friendship, Highland Park, Lawrenceville, Morningside, Polish Hill, Stanton Heights, and the Strip District. Botta explains that he has always been interested in running for local office. 

“I saw a lot of change happening in the district,” Botta said. “I saw a lot of things that could be done better – something as simple as getting back to people. And I figured that we need someone who more adequately reflects the district.” 

Botta, a gay man, shared he thinks District 7 is the “most LGBTQIA+ district” in the city. He named several gay bars that are within the district, including Blue Moon, P Town, Brewer’s, and more. 

“Who better to run one of the most LGBTQ+ districts than someone who has been involved with LGBTQ+ issues for a long time?” Botta said. “I really hope to have an elected official who will always be in the Pride parade, who will always be there to support a lot of the initiatives that we have not just in the district, but across the city. And we can help in advancing us to a more equitable place for LGBTQ+ folks so that we are one of, if not the, friendliest place in the country for LGBTQ+ people.” 

The candidate is involved in several organizations to help the LGBTQIA+ community in the city. He is Vice Chair of Proud Haven, an organization that serves LGBTQ people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity in Western PA and Pittsburgh, as well as being on the board of the Three Rivers Business Alliance, which provides opportunities, access, and resources to LGBTQIA+ business owners and professionals operating in the Pittsburgh and Greater Allegheny region. 

Another focus of Botta’s is affordable housing. 

“Affordable housing is an issue that comes up time and time again, whereas my opponent focuses more on housing infrastructure,” he said. “I’m focusing more on existing housing infrastructure and making sure people don’t get priced out.” 

Something Botta would like people to know about the campaign is what exactly a city councilperson does. 

“They introduce legislation or ordinances on a city level,” he explained. “These could be anything from housing, transportational, or environmental.” 

He shared that one of the biggest parts of the job is to act as a liaison between citizens and the government. 

“Any sort of issue you have, [a city councilperson] is the person that connects you with the resources you need to live a happy, successful life,” Botta said. “They’re very proactive.” 

Botta shares that his experience running for city council as an openly gay man has been mostly very positive. 

“We’re really grappling with a lot in the LGBTQ community,” he said. “One of the reasons I joined Proud Haven is because I wanted to do whatever I could to protect trans rights.” 

He shares that while being openly gay has become a bit more widely accepted, there are still many struggles even a half hour outside of Pittsburgh. 

“I would love to, hopefully sometime very soon, stand up alongside a city council with people running who are trans,” he said. 

He shouted out people who are making moves in the queer community, such as Dena Stanley, the founder of TransYOUniting. He shared that people like Dena and others he has worked with have really helped move the city forward and that he hopes to open the first office of LGBTQ+ affairs in the city. 

Botta explained the meaning of having a bridge on his campaign signs.

“The bridge isn’t just because of Pittsburgh,” he shared. “But it’s because I want to be a bridge between many of the different demographics that we have, between the older generations and the newer generations, between people who have lived here their entire lives and people who are just now finding Pittsburgh as their home, the old-school yinz-loving Pittsburghers and newer, more diverse residents here. I just want to be a bridge between everybody.” 

The election takes place next Tuesday, May 16. Visit vote.pa.gov to find your polling place. 

Tia (she/her) is a recent Point Park grad who majored in journalism. She loves all things movies, music, and Pittsburgh! As the summer 2022 QBurgh intern, she’s looking forward to writing about Pittsburgh’s LGBTQIA+ community and highlighting all the cool people doing cool things in the community.