So now we’re in full swing in the state Senate campaign to replace Eileen Donoghue (and boy do I have feelings about this but I will save them for another time). Several candidates are in the running, including two sitting and one former City Councilor in Lowell, among others. But it is one specific person running for the Democratic nomination I would like to address: Councilor Rodney Elliott.
First of all, a Democrat? Really?? I’ve been a member of the LDCC (Lowell Democratic City Committee) for quite some time and I don’t remember you ever showing up for a meeting, Councilor Elliott. But then again, given your motions and votes on the City Council, if you had stepped foot in a Democratic meeting of any kind I would have had the vapors from the shock. I can’t think of a single thing you’ve stood for or against that lines up with the Democratic platform, nationally, statewide, or locally. So there’s that.
But, specifically, in this post, I wish to call out a particularly disgusting point of view you’ve expressed at City Council. And that is on trans rights.
On the 5/17/2016 City Council meeting, you put forth a motion to “Req. City Council vote to adopt a resolution to oppose the transgender bill adopted by the State Senate, which allows access to women’s bathrooms and locker rooms” in an attempt to express opposition to a public accommodations bill for trans citizens pending in the state legislature.
The community, and the rest of the Council, rallied in support of the state civil rights bill to give trans folks the right in public to be accepted by their gender identity (and this is for all public accommodation, not just “bathrooms” which is what bigots focus on). I was there that night, and there were many impassioned pleas by both trans folk and allies that were heartening to witness. And the City Council did the exact opposite of your motion: they voted to support the trans bill in an 8-1 vote, and that bill has since become law, thank goodness for all our trans community members, who at least can feel legally safer in living their lives, though it’s not going to change societal attitudes overnight. But your display railing against this bill in the “name of safety for women” hit every single bigoted trope from the far right you can imagine. (Not to mention how misogynistic that point of view is against women, who don’t need your “protection,” thanks.) You said that comparing trans rights to civil rights for blacks was “cheapening” the civil rights movement, in probably what was one of the more disturbing quotes of the night.
One could imagine you literally quoting FOX News. In fact, it put Lowell in a national spotlight, and not in a good way, that you even brought up this motion. I commend the City Council of the time, which is me saying a lot of that Council, for decisively rebuking you.
But now, a hate group is seeking to overturn that civil rights bill as a ballot initiative for November 2018. It puts in jeopardy the progress this state made in giving civil rights to some of its most vulnerable people, who are targets of hate, discrimination, and violence much more frequently than other groups.
I think the voters of the First Middlesex district should know both of your history of fighting against the civil rights of trans people, but also where you stand now on this ballot initiative. If I had to guess, you’re for the overturning of the trans civil rights bill, but of course you could always dispute me. I doubt I’ll personally believe you, given your statements in that May 17, 2016 Council meeting, but I do think the voters can decide for themselves one way or the other. But I’m sure everyone would like to know, for the record.
Edit: *ahem* case in point vis a vis whether or not Rodney Elliott is worthy to run as a Democrat…if he were trying to be a delegate to the state Democratic convention, he’d be kicked out for doing things like supporting Republicans for elected office. Hat tip to a friend on Facebook.