Hardy Williams Office Sought Governor Date 3.31.10

COMMUNITY 1. Who advises you on LGBT issues? I rely on the wise counsel of various staff members and LGBT friends, including Mark Segal, publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News, with whom I’ve enjoyed a friendship that extends more than 20 years. 2. Do you employ any openly LGBT employees on your staff or campaign staff? I employ, and always have employed, any bright-minded, people-centered person interested in public service, regardless of sexual orientation, creed, national origin or color. CIVIL RIGHTS 3. Do you support the rights of LGBT people to the following: Marriage? Civil Unions? Domestic Partnership? Second-parent adoption? Protection from workplace discrimination? Committed, stable LGBT couples should have the same civil rights afforded to them that any hetero couple enjoys. That includes distribution of property, insurance protections, the ability to adopt, the right to speak for a partner in case of illness or death, as well as protection from discrimination at work. Marriage is a religious rite, and decisions about for whom and to whom vows are extended should remain in that purview. Overall, I’d rather be a governor in office who would advocate for the rights and concerns of the LGBT community than a martyr unable to advance the goals of equality.

4. Do you support PA-HB-300 which would amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to prohibit discrimination of individuals in employment, housing and public accommodation based on their sexual orientation or gender identity or gender expression? Have you signed on as a co-sponsor.
I am in support of this legislation. It is essential that every citizen be able to live and work without fear of persecution.

5. What is your position and voting record on a woman’s right to choose?
I’ve long held and acted on the belief that adult women have the absolute right to choose what happens to their bodies.

HEALTH CARE 6. What public health education programs would you advocate to foster a more complete understanding of the unique health needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people?
Like other communities, the LGBT community has health needs best served by a clinic such as Mazzoni. There are lessons here that can be shared with other clinics as well.

7. How would you act to assure proper sensitivity training and education for public health professionals, administration and staff as related to treatment of members of the LGBT community?
I would direct my new secretary of health to lay down a training regiment for all staffers.

8. Would you support a state healthcare plan that offers sex reassignment surgery and other gender identity health coverage to state employees?
I’m not familiar enough with the economic impact of this measure. I would need to study the budgetary considerations further before providing an absolute commitment.

9. Would you support funding for needle exchange programs to fight HIV/AIDS?

10. Would you support condom distribution in Pennsylvania's jails, detention centers, correctional facilities or prisons?

While I don’t encourage illegal or illicit sexual activities, the reality is that there is a greater public health consideration. There are considerable reports about the spread of sexuallytransmitted diseases connected to incarceration. Providing condoms and education would help curb outbreaks in population and among the general public when people transition back into society.

VIOLENCE AND POLICING 11. What procedure will you enact to ensure that transgender people are treated with safety and dignity in the prison system? For example not housing male to female transsexuals with male prisoners? A lawsuit was brought by a teenage transsexual girl at the Youth Study Center who was harassed and assaulted. What actions will you take to protect LGBT children in the legal, foster care and group home situations?
The most important thing I could do as governor is to institute sensitivity training, with the input of the LGBT community, but most especially the transgender community. I would listen to insights from leaders such as those who run the Attic in Philadelphia or the Rainbow Room in Bucks County.

12. Where do you stand regarding HB 745 that was passed last year and would amend Title 18 Ethnic Intimidations Act to define crimes against individuals based on “actual or perceived ancestry, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity as ethnic intimidation, or hate crimes? Introducing and passing the bill in the state Senate would add the above listed groups as protected classes of Pennsylvanians and would allow the Commonwealth to prosecute hate crimes that Federal government may not have the resources to prosecute.
I’m in complete support of all hate crimes legislation. Hate is negative in our society.

13. What will you do to make domestic violence shelter services to members of the LGBT community?
Domestic violence has, for too long, strangled the security of countless men and women, impacted the workplace, and disrupted schools. The effects reverberate beyond just the victim and the abuser. As someone who has long fought against domestic violence, I clearly favor ensuring services and protection options are available for anyone caught in this vicious cycle and would ask my secretary of health to establish such a location.

FAMILIES AND YOUTH 14. LGBT students experience more harassment and violence at school than straight students. LBGT students are more likely to cut school or drop out because they are afraid for their safety. How would you propose to address the violence against LGBT youth?
Violence, and in particular, hate-inspired violence, has no place in a civil society. It is essential that we foster safe learning environments for every child, and for the state, that begins with having personnel in place that treats these issues seriously and sensitively.

15. How would you devise and implement a statewide plan for the child welfare system to address the particular issues and needs of the youth and their foster families?
I would convene the numerous gay youth organizations that exist across the state to gain their expertise and establish a plan to achieve success in those areas.

16. Do you support reality and community-based school sex education, HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs that are an alternative to abstinence only education? If yes, would it include the following? (Please check all that apply). A) Birth Control B) Safer Sex education C) Condom distribution D) Different sexual orientations E) Gender identity
While I would advocate for a full menu of options, I respect the fact that these are local decisions that should be made by the school districts and the communities they serve.

17. Would you create establishing programs and services to address the unique needs of LGBT Senior Citizens? If so, what type of services do you envision, and how would you propose to fund and implement these services?
Sadly enough, this is one of the few issues facing the LGBT community that has not been addressed sufficiently in Pennsylvania, as has been in other states. I would confer with the LGBT community to gather and share their needs. Given that we are one of the grayest states in the country, and there is an influx of retiring Baby Boomers rising, this is a point of concern. Housing would be the first area to be explored.

18. Would you work to provide state financial support organizations serving youth like community centers such as the Attic?
Yes, much as I have in the past.

LOCAL CONCERNS 19. How would you support the continued and/or expanded funding and support of LGBT community events, such as the various pride events sponsored by organizations in the Greater Philadelphia area?
Given the current budgetary realities facing the Greater Philadelphia region and the Commonwealth at large, it would be irresponsible to promise dollars will be available. Clearly, LGBT community-sponsored events add to the cultural vibrancy of this region, and other areas such as Pittsburgh. I do see this as an opportunity to forge stronger public-private partnerships, to leverage dollars and achieve common goals.

20. How will you work to offer programs in homeless shelters to address the unique needs of the LGBT community?
Again, this is an issue of sensitivity training. There is also an outreach component attached, by making it clear that these are safe places for people to go for their needs.

21. What is your opinion on the City of Philadelphia’s actions regarding the Boy Scouts of America Cradle of Liberty Council’s occupancy of city-owned property, and would you support similar actions towards other groups or organizations determine to be in violation of the Fair Practices Ordinance?
Discrimination in any form is unacceptable.

ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY 22. Would you support a statewide bill that requires companies that obtain state contracts to offer domestic partnership benefits to their employees?

23. Would you support a requirement that all government offices have specific recruitment plans for members of the LGBT community?

I support ensuring that the best, most qualified candidates are recruited, with the clear understanding that those in public service should be reflective of the community they serve.

24. How would you work to assure that LGBT owned and operated businesses receive equal opportunities in business development, lending practices or government grants for economic revitalization?
Through the EEOC.

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