Candidate Name: Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer
Office you are seeking: US Senate
1) Do you plan on abiding by the DFL endorsement if there is one for your race? YES / NO
2) If endorsed by Stonewall DFL, how will you display that endorsement in campaign materials?
I will display it proudly and prominently on my website and written materials.
3) How is the LGBT community currently involved in your campaign?
Many LGBT people are serving as major donors, key vendors and/or key volunteers on the campaign. As soon as I entered the race, I received the endorsements of Rep. Karen Clark and Minneapolis City Council member Gary Schiff.
4) How will you actively encourage LGBT constituents to contact or become involved in the political process?
My campaign is based on reaching out to all communities, particularly including those that are not always fully valued. It is a grassroots campaign where everyone is welcome and everyone is valued. At this stage, the campaign staffing is spare, but in the general election I will hire an organizer dedicated to working with the LGBT community.
5) What experience do you have with LGBT issues and the LGBT community?
Our family has many LGBT friends. This includes folks we have been close to over the years in a Reconciled in Christ Lutheran congregation, and in our current spiritual community, both of which have many LGBT members. Additionally, I have participated in PFLAG marches along with a family we are close to whose son is gay.
I wrote about the issue in my book Families Valued: Parenting and Politics for the Good of All Children, showing how the right wing uses hatemongering against LGBT people, among others, to raise money and build its power at the expense of many families.
6) LGBT men and women of color are often victims of multiple layers of discrimination. How would you use your office to identify and address these problems?
Discrimination is always wrong, and multiple layers are even more harmful. As a US Senator, I would employ a staffer specifically tasked to help constituents who are victims of discrimination to obtain redress to the full extent of the law. I would also work with communities that face discrimination to identify ways to strengthen federal anti-discrimination legislation.
7) Public awareness of Lesbians and Gays has increased in the last 20 years; however there remain some unique and misunderstood issues faced by Bisexual and Transgender communities. Please identify a specific issue(s) and how you would use your elected office to support these communities.
Transgender people, particularly, still face legally-permitted discrimination in employment. This needs to be addressed by amending ENDA to include full protection for transgender people in employment. I would strongly support this improvement to the legislation.
8) What legal recognitions should be available to GLBT people in committed relationships and how would you use your office to advance these equality issues; specifically do you favor Domestic Partnerships, Civil Unions, Marriage, or Other?
GLBT people should have equal rights to marry, with all of the same rights and responsibilities enjoyed by anyone else who marries.
9) Alcoholism, crystal methamphetamine and other chemical abuse is a public health problem in the LGBT community, which correlates to increased rates of HIV transmission. If elected, how would you use your office to address these problems?
Part of this problem would be addressed if we adopt a national universal single-payer health care system that stresses prevention, including respectful targeted educational outreach to communities particularly susceptible to major health issues such as HIV/AIDS.
But I also believe that a significant part of the reason for this situation is the discrimination faced by LGBT people, which can add significant stress to their lives. And it is particularly an issue for LGBT teenagers and young adults who are both vulnerable as teenagers/young adults and may find themselves disconnected from their families, and potentially homeless. In conjunction with a national focus on prevention in the purely medical sense, we need an educational effort to help parents and others understand and embrace their children’s sexual identities.
10) What policies would you support to provide equity for LGBT Minnesotans with respect to both public and private health care benefits and imputed tax implications?
I believe that the United States should move quickly to a comprehensive, universal, single-payer health care system. Under such a system, everyone, including GLBT Minnesotans would have all health care covered. I believe that with a Democrat in the White House and increased majorities in the House and Senate, we will be able to enact such a system, and I will fight to do so. Should that prove impossible, I would support whatever interim measures would be possible to move us in that direction.
During such an interim period, should we need one, I would work to ensure that domestic partner health benefits were extended widely, and that people who receive domestic partner health care through their employer receive identical income tax treatment regarding the partner health benefits as a married employee who receives family health coverage through an employer.
11) The funding for programs such as the Ryan White Act was recently redistributed into rural, less populated (red) states and away from urban populated (blue) states where the majority of AIDS patients are located. What are your thoughts on this funding change?
I support funding for AIDS care in rural, less populated (red) states – where it is also needed, but I oppose the fact that such funding was extended to these areas by cutting it in urban populated (blue) states where the majority of AIDS patients are located. Clearly we need to fund such support in all parts of the nation. Again, I support a national universal single-payer health care system, and under such a system, treatment would be available to all who suffer from AIDS in any part of the country. Only with such a system can we ensure that those in need of medical care in one area, or of one type, can be played off against those in other areas or with other types of health needs.
12) A recent study of urban homeless youth found that in some metropolitan areas over 40% identify as LGBT. A key finding of this study was that homeless LGBT youth are more vulnerable to sexual abuse, substance abuse and mental health struggles. What root causes of this complex issue can you identify and how would you use your office to address these problems?
I believe that at least a significant portion of the root cause is LGBT young people coming of age in a society, and in many cases in a family, that tells them, directly or indirectly, that who they are is somehow wrong. As a US Senator, I will use my office to advocate for more crisis intervention and safe shelter funding to help these young people when they are out on the street, as well as for funding for educational programs that will help to address some of the underlying causes of the problem.
13) What would you do, if elected, to ensure that lesbian and bisexual women have access to a diversity of reproductive health options, including birth control, in-vitro fertilization, and abortion?
Again, a national universal single-payer health care system would provide full access to the full range of health services.
14) What are your views on the US military “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy?
I believe it is a just plain stupid policy. I believe that everyone who wants to, and is otherwise qualified, should be able to serve in the military. Many EU nations, including Britain, France, and Spain have removed barriers to GLBT people serving in the military; surely we can do the same.
15) Which version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act do you support and why?
I support including protection for transgender people in ENDA. I believe the legislation should be amended to this effect in the 111th Congress, where hopefully it can be passed and signed into law.