Bil Browning

All politics is local

Filed By Bil Browning | July 17, 2007 2:10 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: City-County Council, Indiana, Indianapolis, political campaigns, Republicans, Scott Keller

keller.pngWe've all heard the old maxim, "All politics is local." While we talk a lot on TBP about national politics and state-level, there's one area of activism that's vitally necessary - the local level. We'll never get anywhere as a community if we don't elect inclusive local candidates of either party to positions where they can help us achieve our goal of equality. To that end, I'd like to introduce you to Scott Keller, Indianapolis City-County Councilor. He needs your help.

I realize many of our readers are now outside of Indiana, but several of you are still in-state. Honestly, I could care less where you reside; I want you to care about my city for a minute or two. Scott barely won his election for the council last time - his first time in the seat - by, literally, a handful of votes. So what would you do if you'd barely won your seat? Scott decided to sponsor an LGBTQ inclusive human rights ordinance for Indy and worked really hard to ensure its passage. In fact, other councilors stood up at the meeting where it passed, stormed out of the chambers and demanded that Scott leave the party immediately. Why? Scott is a republican.

As an aside, I've never voted for a republican in my life. Never. Ever. I will this time though - and gladly. This is a strong-willed man who has been willing to buck expectations and stand defiantly in the face of hate and discrimination to demand equality and dignity for Indiana's LGBTQ citizens. He not only scrapped and fought for the HRO, he testified in front of the state legislature against SJR-7, the same-sex marriage constitutional amendment, has raised money for LGBTQ organizations, marches in the Indy Pride parade, and attended countless meetings and brainstorming sessions. Most of you know how hard I worked to ensure passage of the Indy HRO and to stop SJR-7; Scott was beside me the entire time working his butt off too. He is a dedicated public servant - and he's in another tight race this year. And, as you can imagine, the Republican party isn't giving him much help...

So I'm proud to say that Indiana Action Network and the Greater Indianapolis Fairness Alliance are hosting a fundraiser for Scott's campaign tomorrow evening from 6pm-8pm. We're asking for $25 at the door; that's not much at all, but if you can't afford it, come anyhow and talk to Scott. Maybe you can help in other ways; he's always in need of volunteers. The fundraiser will be held at 115 E Ohio Street in downtown Indianapolis.

And, if you're not a local reader but still want to help Indianapolis keep a majority of fairness-minded individuals, send Scott a donation. Skip those Starbucks lattes for a couple days and send it to him instead. Whether you're from Indiana or not, keep in mind that all politics is local. By helping us locally, you're helping yourself. When other Republicans see that helping the LGBTQ community isn't a death knell for their political careers, we can entice them to "come out" more and more often in favor of equality. While the democrat running against Scott is a nice enough guy, we need to support those who have supported us. It's just that easy. After all, why would any politician want to support our community if we abandon them to the wolves after they do?

So send a check. $25. $50. $100. Whatever you can afford. But Scott Keller needs our help now! You can send donations to:

Keller for Council Committee
1523 Southeastern Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46201

Tell 'em the Bilerico Project sent you.

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Scott Keller | July 17, 2007 4:09 PM

Thank you, Bil. The forces of darkness will be upon us again in January at the General Assembly; I hope to be there lobbying!

Kevin Lahti | July 17, 2007 4:55 PM

A fair minded republican.. surely my eyes do deceive me.. but no their it is... I've never really heard of a person storming out of a meeting of the state assemblies over one persons choice to support something so, significant for the people they were elected to serve...

But... I love my starbucks lattes, their so frothy and hot... and it matches my macbook pro...

*note the irony of the fact I am sitting in Starbucks this very moment*

I shoudl be clear here - it wasn't a state assembly meeting. Then City-County Councilor Jim Bradford stormed out of the City-County Council meeting after the HRO passed that Scott co-sponsored. After the meeting - and on camera, I believe - he demanded that Scott leave the party. Bradford is no longer on the council; he resigned shortly after.

Eric Georgantes | July 17, 2007 6:43 PM

I still live in Indianapolis, and will for a few years yet, at least, considering where I'm going to college.

He sounds worth voting for.

Zach Adamson | July 18, 2007 8:28 AM

I just want to eco Bil's words. Scott is also my city councilor. I also am a HUGE Democrat. I am also a good friend to Karen Horseman, the democrat who he ran against in his last race. During the campaign process. Scott came to my house. I, naturally, have a big pride flag on my house. He told me about his ideas for Indy, and how he is fair minded and supports the HRO and LGBT civil rights. Being a good Dem, I told him I appreciated his time, but I just didn't believe him, having been lied to by Republicans before on the gay thing.
After the election, both candidates were tied. Something like 1486 votes each. It was surreal. Then there was the recount.. Where Scott won by 4 votes.. And then, the issue goes all the way to the Supreme Court. Not knowing anything about Scott and being good friends with Karen, it was all very upsetting. I just knew Scott could not do all the things he said while campaigning. And no one wanted to hate him and see him fail more than me.
But alas, I was wrong. He has delivered on every issue, and at great risk to himself. Not only did his fellow party members not want him in their party, he has been harassed and threatened with physical violence. (No doubt by some good Christian folk.) And still he stands with us. He has not wavered on his commitment on LGBT civil rights. Like Bil said, Scott has had a hands on roll in the success to date with SJR 7 in the state house and planning our next moves, but additionally he has hosted and cooked for not one, but two sold out IE fundraisers in his own home.
But let us not just remember his works on LGBT issues. He is also one of the only politicians (anywhere) who speaks of bipartisan cooperation and then goes out and does it. No where do we see that.

Like Bil said, if you live in Indy, think very seriously about donating to Scott's campaign and come by the party tonight. If you dont live in Indy, but want to see fair minded progressive bipartisan politicians succeed, give to Scott's campaign. But let us not leave out another very important aspect. If you are at all able, consider volunteering to help him on election day. Our district is very heavily democratic, which is great! But it means an up hill struggle for a fair minded and proven councilor who just happens to be a republican.
I cant express how important it is that we show everyone that sticking out your neck on LGBT issues will not result in lost elections. Support those who support us.!