New Jersey’s capital city, Trenton, has a municipal election coming up in May. Over 30 individuals are seeking one of the eight elected positions. In the Trenton election 2018 it is the first time that an openly LGBT candidate is running for office in the city. Two of the candidates — Reed Gusciora, running for mayor, and Elvin Montero, running for City Council At-Large are openly gay.
In 2006, mayoral candidate, Reed Gusciora, was publicly outed by a NJN TV State House reporter. That event made Gusciora the first openly gay lawmaker in the State House.
But why does Gusciora want to be a mayor? Gusciora said, “I am seeking office because I believe that my experience, relationships, and independence make me uniquely suited to be an effective Mayor for Trenton. As a 22-year [State] Assemblyman, I definitively stand apart from the field of candidates as the most experienced. During my tenure in the Assembly, I have aggressively pursued pro-Trenton policies, and I have a significant record of accomplishments as it relates to promoting the overall well being of Trenton’s citizens.
“As a Legislator, I’ve also built the knowledge base and carefully cultivated the relationships necessary to bring in new businesses, grow the economy, and access the financial aid that we will need to revitalize the City. I think one of the unique things about Trenton is its physical location, situated approximately an hour from both Philadelphia and New York City, and its status as the State Capital, which has the potential to bring in visitors from far and wide.”
Gusciora stated public safety is one of Trenton’s most pressing concerns. “Gun violence and community safety more generally, need to be addressed in a multi-faceted way, so that criminals are appropriately captured, punished, and rehabilitated, and in the long-term prevented from making the community unsafe again.”
In terms of specifics, he said, “I believe we need to focus on property demolition and remediation, in order to destroy safe havens for those that hide their weapons or otherwise conduct crime on vacant property. I believe we need to work with State partners to continue promoting appropriately restrictive gun control measures, and conduct events such as gun buybacks, which are incredibly successful at removing weapons from our streets. Most importantly, I believe that we need to immediately implement community-policing practices, so that citizens —our eyes and ears on the ground—are comfortable sharing information with a local officer, who can then address the concern appropriately and proactively.”
There are some people who will not be supportive of an out candidate, Gusciora addressed those concerns saying he hopes to engage everyone on the issues, and demonstrate his track record of working for Trenton, and that being a strong voice for the city is “more valuable than any concerns of my sexuality.”
Elvin Montero, the out City Council at-large candidate has always been involved in politics, behind the scenes, and at the state level. Monero said, “Running for office is something that I have considered in the past, but this year, I felt it was time to help Trenton in a different way. I am running because we need to elect leaders who put the needs of the city ahead of their own. I want to be an example that we can elect leaders who really care, who are compassionate, and who want to work towards greater unity. I understand what is required to serve as a member of Council. And I know the expectations and limitations of the position.”
He said he has plans to help Trenton be stronger and safer, and change the way people view the city. “I want to help construct a more solid foundation on which we can build a stronger and safer Trenton that is vibrant, and full of hope for the future. I believe that, in order for Trenton to be as great as it can be, we need to change the way people view our city, and change the way that the city views its citizens. Our diverse people, central location, rich history, and our importance to the state of New Jersey as the Capital City, makes Trenton an ideal place to live, work, and play.
Montero when asked about being an out LGBT candidate said, “I was in college seminary when I first uttered the words I’m gay. I didn’t tell many people, and in 1994, while studying at a Catholic university and living with other seminarians, it was not an easy process or easy to openly discuss.
“I am a candidate who embraces diversity, respects our freedoms, and promotes equality for all regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, or age. I hope to have the honor to represent Trenton, and everyone who lives, works, and invests in our great city. My identity should not prevent anyone from engaging with me, nor I with them.
It is my hope that everyone gets to know me as a person, a selfless leader who at the end of the day wants to do everything he can as an elected official to improve the lives of people who live in Trenton.”
To support the LGBT candidates in the Trenton election 2018, visit the websites of each and find out more.