Lezbelib: Can you tell us more about you, how did you start in politics?
My name is James F. Haning II and I am a proud to be Nevada’s first openly gay Candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in our 3rd Congressional District. I have worked for more than the past decade in the mortgage finance industry and in recent years, after seeing firsthand the actions of unregulated financial institutions went into the private consulting industry to ensure that I work with lenders and industry professionals, teaching values and actions of responsible lending.
Lezbelib: What issues inspired you to run, and how do you plan on affecting change?
My decision to run for the U.S. House of Representatives is born as a result of the poor and middle-class families across the nation being taken hostage by the failed "trickle-down" policies on Capitol Hill. We have seen, right here in Southern Nevada, the highest unemployment rates, along with excessive and scrupulous foreclosures, a formula that has resulted in a hard-hitting impact on our economy.
Lezbelib: What walls are you coming up against running as an openly gay candidate? How does it effect your politics?
Many have questioned my ability to take decisive action, as when elected, would be a "junior" Congressman, but I could not disagree more. I believe that all 435 members of Congress, whether new or solidly planted, have the same voting power, same ability to propose new legislation, and influence on change. I vow to never end the fight to protect the poor and middle-class and ensure that for our valuable seniors, that they never have to face the possibility of their Social Security or Medicare being diminished or interrupted. I was sickened when the current Incumbent, Rep. Joe Heck (R), commented in a meeting with seniors that Social Security was a "Pyramid Scheme". I believe that Social Security and Medicare are not entitlements, but earned benefits and must be protected today, and tomorrow.
Lezbelib: Nevada has fairly decent laws protecting gays and lesbians under hate crimes law and non-discrimination law. None of these protections, though, have been extended past sexual orientation to gender identity. What are your plans to help this neglected part of the community?
I must note, since you are a website geared to the Lesbian population, that I am a strong advocate and supporter of women’s rights. I have made many commitments to Planned Parenthood and seek to ensure that pay grades are equal and just, ensure that women across the world do not face oppression, and have made a clear stance on a women’s right of choice.
Lezbelib: How do you support full equality for GLBT people?
Nevada does have some protection for the GLBT Community and recently, saw Assembly Bill 211, taking effect in October 2011, providing protection to Transgender citizens. I believe that more should be done to protect the community on a state level, including exercising of state rights, through legalizing marriage between two consenting adults. The argument from current lawmakers revolves around the Defense of Marriage Act, but this has not stopped many states, including Massachusetts, New York, Iowa, and many others. Currently we have in place a Domestic Partnership opportunity, but this is separate and not equal, as it excludes many rights, including healthcare coverage, which is a blatant act of discrimination against the community.
On a federal level, when elected, I will work hard to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which, as Nevada’s Domestic Partnership laws does, discriminates against members of the GLBT Community. Further action should also be taken, including the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would provide greater protections for members of the GLBT Community in the workplace. It is sad that many face discrimination as a result of their sexual preference. Lastly, in our immigration policies, we should include the ability for same-sex couples seeking to immigrate to the United States, fair treatment as that afforded to couples of the opposite sex.
I have worked hard to ensure that we end discrimination, create and educate on values of acceptance, and equality. This has been extended to my commitment to the ItGetsBetter Project and my outreach to youth in the community, which have been victimized by unfortunate bullying. I know that we can and will overcome these injustices and together change hearts and minds across this great nation.