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Stein Club endorses 4 Common Pleas candidates

The Gertrude Stein Political Club of Greater Pittsburgh has endorsed Wrenna Watson, David Wecht, Kathryn Hens-Greco andChristine Ward in May 20 primary election races for the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. Watson was endorsed on the Democratic ticket and Wecht was endorsed on the Republican ticket; Hens-Greco and Ward cross-listed for nominations in both parties.

        The candidates won the Stein Club’s endorsement based on their records in support of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues. Another candidate for the bench, Democrat Louis Coleman Coles, received an honorable mention.

        Other candidates endorsed by the club support key issues such as antidiscrimination, support for gay rights, AIDS prevention programs and access to insured medical care for people who are HIV-positive. Stein Club members noted that issues that used to be difficult for many local politicians to grasp, such as civil unions and adoption/custody rights, now readily receive support.

        “Once candidates were able to make a distinction between ‘religious’ marriage and same-sex civil unions, they were ready to be our advocates,” said Stein Club board member Richard Meritzer. 

        All candidates must be pro-choice in order to receive an endorsement from the club. School board candidates must also support providing information resources for sexual minority students, recognizing non-traditional families and making the district a “safe place” for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students, faculty and staff.

        Stein Club chair Barb Albinini said, “The only issue the candidates still seem to have trouble with is understanding some specific needs of the transgender community, such as health coverage for hormone therapy and reassignment surgery. However, all of the candidates we endorsed who fell short in this area asked to be further educated.”

        Other races in which the Stein Club announced candidate endorsements included:

        ·Allegheny County Row Offices—Democrat James Q. Simms for County Controller and Democrat Valerie McDonald Roberts for Recorder of Deeds.

        ·Allegheny County Council—Marlene Russell in District 10, Rich Fitzgerald in District 11 and Brenda Frazier in District 13. All are Democrats.

        ·Pittsburgh City Council—Barbara Burns in District 1; Thomas Sciulli in District 5, with an honorable mention for Doug Shield; and Mitch Kates in District 7. All are Democrats.

        ·Pittsburgh Public School Board—Democrat Patrick Dowd in District 2.

        ·Wilkinsburg Borough Council—Sandra L. Roberts in Ward 1 and Patricia Baker in Ward 3. Both are Democrats.

        In statewide races, the club endorsed Democrat Max Baer for Pennsylvania Supreme Court; an honorable mention was given to Democrat John Herron. The club said it did not receive endorsement requests from acceptable candidates in State Superior Court races, but members voted in favor of an honorable mention for Democrat Mark Bernstein based on his excellent reputation regarding the issues.

            Stein Club endorsements are given based on candidates’ records and their responses to the club’s questionnaire. The club did not make endorsements in races for which it did not receive questionnaires from viable candidates. For more information, visit the Web site at www.gertrudesteinclub.org