Congratulations Mayor Jerry Sanders – Yes, I am a registered Democrat

4 06 2008

Congratulations Mayor Jerry Sanders! Jerry Sanders has won the June mayoral election and garnered over 50% of the vote, which means there will not need to be a runoff election in November 2008 for San Diego mayor.

It’s funny. If you had asked me a year ago, let alone when he was running for mayor in 2005, if I would be extended my congratulations to Jerry Sanders, I probably would have told you that you were crazy. It takes a lot to get me to even give a Republican a passing glance, but Mayor Sanders not only got me to pay attention, but also to vote for him. Although I am not someone who votes strictly by the party line, I tend to strongly favor Democrats and independents over Republicans. Yet, a few weeks ago I found myself at a meet and greet with Mayor Sanders.

So, how did I find myself at a place where I was happy to support Mayor Sanders? It all started on September 19, 2007. The San Diego City Council voted to send a resolution to the CA Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage. Based on previous statements made by Mayor Sanders and messages from his office leading up to the City Council vote, it was expected that Mayor Sanders would veto the resolution. Instead, as highlighted here and in video here, Mayor Sanders, fighting back tears, changed his public stance on the topic. I won’t go into all of his reasons (although he did note that his daughter is a lesbian) because that is not the point. The point is Mayor Sanders earned my respect that day because he followed what he believed in, not necessarily what would have kept him in good graces with the Republican base. It was a gutsy move considering that he was up for reelection less than a year after the dramatic shift in his stance. His break from party allegiance reminded me that it is more important to look at the person and his/her values and positions on issues than to just look at his/her political affiliation.

I don’t want people to think that I supported Mayor Sanders only because he supports LGBT rights. Don’t get me wrong, it WAS a big factor, but not the only one. Do I think San Diego is running perfectly? No. Do I think that the city is in better shape now than when Mayor Sanders took office? Yes. Do I think there is still a lot of change needed? Absolutely, but I am confident that, if given the chance, Mayor Sanders will be integral to carrying out that change.

Does this mean that I will be voting for a Republican in next year’s presidential race? Don’t hold your breath. I will, however, be open to looking at candidates in other races as the individuals that they are, not just as a member of a political party.

I hope that Mayor Sanders carries through on the promises he made this election. I hope he throws his support, as a strong Republican leader, to defeating the November ballot initiative that would create a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in California. I also hope that he continues with his plan to get San Diego back on track. I’d love to see the term “America’s Finest City” apply to our government too. Once again, congratulations Mayor Sanders!

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19 06 2008
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