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Posts published in “Day: June 15, 2009”

Watch not the vote, but the reaction


Melissa Sue Robinson

Provocation - getting right in your face - seems to be the point of one particular municipal candidacy in Idaho this year. Not so much city policies, the qualities of an incumbent, or anything so mundane. From the announcement of a just-declared Nampa mayoral candidate:

My name is Melissa Sue Robinson and I am a Male to Female post-op transgendered person who is hereby announcing my intentions to run for Mayor of Nampa, in the November general election. I am running because I am progressive and I feel that Nampa is a City that needs progressive people in City government. I am the founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Transgendered Persons (NAATP), a transgendered civil rights organization which was founded in Lansing, MI. in 2000. The organization was put on hold due to Michigan's poor economic climate, my change of careers, and my relocation to Seattle in Jan. 07. I have not only restarted the NAATP, but have also founded a new organization (Equality Idaho), which will also focus on LGBT rights. If elected Nampa Mayor or not I intend to push for a LGBT rights ordinance in both Nampa and Boise in the near future. I am a 58 years old telecommunications worker, and a former owner of Design Masters Construction Co, Inc. (a 25 employee small business) in which I was President for 10 years.

Provocation rather than substantial candidacy, because only one sentence out of seven had anything to do with a rationale for leading the city of Nampa.

She's not been active in civic life in Nampa, hasn't been in the city long enough to get to know it, evidently lacks relevant experience at Nampa city hall . . . there aren't any real qualifications for the job here, and Nampa is a substantial city of more than 80,000 people which needs a leader with some measurable experience. (Incumbent Tom Dale, who was a city council member before his election in 2001, has gotten generally positive remarks for his two terms on the job.) She isn't a viable serious contender.

But watch the reaction of people in town - and this is what Robinson's candidacy seems aimed toward. How will they react? What response will there be?

A side note. Consider Stu Rasmussen, the newly-elected (as of last November) mayor of Silverton, Oregon, a rural city of about 8,500 a city much smaller than Nampa. He is transgender - wears women's clothes and on the same path as Robinson - and was elected with 52% in a field of three candidates, and was open about his personal transition. But there is also this: He has a long history in town, has run a local business for many years, was on the city council when he was elected last year, and in the 90s served two terms as mayor. Not everyone in town is happy with him, but the place overall doesn't seem especially shaken up.