How did it feel to have President Barack Obama express a lack of confidence in your candidacy?
I actually am sympathetic to the president—he has been put in a position where though he has passed all 13 of his major programs, he’s gotten very little Republican support, though he went out of his way to be inclusive and to visit their conferences and to explain to them how important it is at this time for us to pull together as a country and not hang apart as two separate political parties.

So the administration’s interest in Democratic prospects all over the country and their concern for Democrats like myself, who have had a tough time as a result of making a lot of very difficult decisions, I think, is actually merited. So I don’t take it personally—I see the value of it.

Is there any thought that you would like to share with the LGBT community?
I think as I’ve observed in the LGBT community, as I’ve observed in the African-American community, in the disabled community—both of which I’m a part of—there’s also a reaction, a reaction of perhaps not always feeling accepted even when one should be accepted. And I am hoping when marriage equality passes, that this will be the ultimate symbolic gesture that this society, at least here in New York State, accepts the men and the women who live in this society.

But what will come after that will also have to be a culture change and an acceptance of victory. Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “Claim your victories.” And I’m hoping that people not only benefit from the legislation with their rights now that are brand-new that should be exercised as soon as possible but also with an enhanced spirit of recognizing that we too belong. 

Tags: Politicians