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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 3, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 31
SEAMEC rating unfair to Steve Hoffman
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SEAMEC rating unfair to Steve Hoffman

SGN Editor:

I was angered at the fake news I saw coming from SEAMEC's election ratings that gave Freedom Socialist Party candidate Steve Hoffman a 'needs improvement' in the race for Washington's U.S. Senate seat currently held by Maria Cantwell. From my perspective as a gay socialist and longtime activist in our movement Steve Hoffman would be one of the first people I'd want to stand with me in a political fight to protect and extend LGBTQIA rights. He deserves the highest score possible.

The Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) has been on the frontlines of the queer movement ever since the party's founding in the mid-1960s. You can read about FSP's history in Gary Adkins book, Gay Seattle: Stories of Exile and Belonging.

In the 1970s FSP took the lead in writing and fighting for Seattle's Fair Employment Practices Ordinance protecting gay workers as well as women and people of color. This groundbreaking legislation, the first to pass in the country, was based on FSP's multi-issue, feminist program that attracted Hoffman to FSP in the first place.

In the 1990s Hoffman defended Steven Farmer the first gay man force tested for HIV against his will in our state, fought Lon Mabon's homophobic legislative attacks, and as a Navy veteran argued for an end to discrimination against gays, lesbians and transgendered enlistees in the military.

Today he's led protests in Seattle, Kent and Spokane that exposed his opponent Joey Gibson, a founder of Patriot Prayer and a neo-Nazi attracting Republican running in the same race, while Democrat Cantwell and mainstream Republican Susan Hutchison have both remained silent on Gibson's candidacy.

As a shop steward and recording secretary of his union, Washington Federation of State Employees 304, Hoffman consistently raises and supports queer issues in the labor movement.

Yet SEAMEC rates Hoffman 2 out of 5, while in comparison corporate Cantwell gets a 4, Trump-supporting Hutchison gets a 2 and alt-right Gibson gets a question mark. What's the thinking here? Surely SEAMEC can figure out that Hoffman is distinctly different and much more pro-gay than Hutchison and Gibson, and even Cantwell.

SEAMEC has become merely a voice for the Democrats and no longer provides a truthful assessment where candidates stand on queer issues. SEAMEC sees only electability rather than Hoffman's solid working-class program backed up by actions. Their ludicrous evaluation of Hoffman is actually a disservice to the LGBTQIA community.

With Trump in office, now is the time to elect people offering solutions that get at the root of the problems facing us, especially candidates that have a track record of fighting for our community. Steve Hoffman is that person.

Chris Smith,
Volunteer Coordinator
Advocates for Hoffman

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