Vie has eye on choice committee seat
Openly gay community activist and flight attendant Rafer Johnson missed out on nabbing one of the top two slots in the May 24 primary in House District 62, which includes portions of College Park, Douglasville, East Point, and portions of Fulton and DeKalb counties. But lesbian family law attorney Valerie Vie did make the cut and faces off against attorney William Boddie, Jr. on July 26.
Vie lists public education, increasing the minimum wage and Medicaid expansion as the major issues of her campaign, but a win would also nab her a choice seat on the House Judiciary Committee—the site of much drama in the fight over so-called “religious freedom” legislation the last three years.
“It would be a first to have an LGBT person on the Judiciary Committee, so there will be a huge voice for us when we’re talking about these things that have a negative impact on our community,” Vie tells Georgia Voice.
Vie, a political newcomer, is trailing Boddie in fundraising. She has $27,773.41 in contributions with $14,458.14 on hand versus $82,486.04 in contributions with $23,897.30 on hand for her opponent as of the latest campaign disclosure report on June 30.
There is no opposition in the November general election, so if Vie outshines Boddie, she’ll join Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates), Rep. Keisha Waites (D-Atlanta) and Rep. Park Cannon (D-Atlanta) as the only openly LGBT members of the Georgia legislature.
Alembik leads in fundraising
The other openly gay candidate in the July 26 runoffs is Gary Alembik, who is
July 22, 2016
running for Superior Court judge in Fulton County. This is the family law attorney, Fulton County magistrate and hearing officer’s first run for public office. He tells Georgia Voice that he hadn’t considered running for office until the retiring Judge Wendy Shoob suggested that he run.
He notes the size of Fulton County as one of the challenges he’s faced, saying that while he’s been knocking on doors as much as he can, he’s had to rely on mailers and robocalls to reach people.
“We’re talking a million people from top to bottom in 75 miles,” he says. “So it’s difficult to touch everybody on a personal level. With a House race it’s more achievable because you have a defined area and it’s very achievable to go to every neighborhood but I just can’t. So it’s a challenge because people frankly don’t know who they’re voting for when they vote for a judge.”
He also notes another difference when looking at judicial races versus legislative— to retain impartiality, a judicial candidate can’t talk about policies.
“I’m a sitting judge so I’m very limited in terms of what I can say. So I talk about things that are important to me like justice reform and the importance of case management,” Alembik says.
If elected, Alembik would be the second openly LGBT Superior Court judge in Fulton County (joining Jane Barwick) and the first openly gay male. He understands the focus on CONTINUES ON PAGE 9