Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Jewish Senator in Utah - NYC born and raised

There is a remarkable man whom I am priveleged to call friend.

He is an attorney by profession and a graduate of Yeshiva University.

He moved to Utah from NYC some years ago. He was asked and subsequently voted in to fill a vacant spot in the Utah state Senate. One prominent Senator exlaimed "What - the gay?" upon hearing of Scott's nomination and confirmation.

Scott ran for his first term and won handedly and deservedly. He is the first openly gay senator to serve in the Utah senate. He also happens to be Jewish. The slogan for Utah during the Olympics - maybe it still is - "contrast, culture, courage." There are some 600 religions in Utah, over 40 languages spoken in Salt Lake City's public schools. There is a Jewish community center, moslem mosques, temples and churches for just about any religion including scientology.

Scott is not only my friend, but was my senator when I lived in Utah. A couple of years ago, when a cabinet position came available in the Governor's office, he was one of several whom I approached to see if I could even get an interview. The competition was stiff - some 38 applicants, 17 interviewees or so and just one female. I did not get the job - that is not the point. Scott McCoy, because of, and perhaps even in spite of - being Jewish, an outsider in Utah (from NYC) and gay, believes that people should be treated fairly and is always available to lend an ear, give advice and most of all - give people a break. When I asked him why he would hand deliver my resume to the Governor's chief of staff, when many others had balked, he replied in his quiet and statesmanslike way that I deserved a shot and he was willing to help me get a shot.

The Utah senate is now in session. Scott will stand with others in voting for the minority and championing civil rights. While some seek to outlaw gay straight clubs in Utah schools, even risking being sued by the ACLU, Scott and his friends consistently work for equality in Utah.

I do not know if Michael Bloomberg will run for President - I am thrilled that we have an amazing slate of candidates from which to choose after years of mediocrity, career politicians and bought and stolen/rigged elections.

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