Thursday, December 8

This 70-year-old LGBTQ+ candidate is standing up to challenge a Republican no one else would challenge

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Lynn Gorman never dreamed of being a politician, but she knew she had to step up when no one else would.

The 70-year-old semi-retired non-denominational minister moved to the Stark County area while attending Kent State University in the early 1970s. It is certainly not the easiest area of Ohio to be an out LGBTQ+ community member.

Stark County in northeast Ohio is a reliably Republican district, which is currently represented by Ohio State Senator Kirk Schuring.

Schuring is a long-serving Republican legislator — he first took office in 1993 — who avoids term limits by swapping House and Senate positions with Scott Oleslager, who was first elected in 1985.

When Gorman saw earlier this year that Schuring was running unopposed, she decided that someone had to challenge him.

Despite collecting over 1,200 signatures, she fell short of the 1,300 signature threshold required to be on the ballot, so Gorman is running as a write-in candidate.

The Buckeye Flame caught up with Gorman after a full day of door-knocking to see how the political newcomer was navigating the campaign trail.

First, talk about what it’s like being gay in that red part of the state.
It’s pretty rough. It is indeed a very red area. My spouse and I have been together for 44 years and finally got married in 2020. But now it’s like Republicans are trying to turn everything back: on women’s rights, on gay marriage, just everything.

I’m not a young person. I’ve fought for reproductive freedom. I’ve fought for the gay community. And I don’t want us to lose what we fought so hard to achieve.

It’s definitely pretty tough here, but we’ve seen some hope. The Stonewall Dems of Stark County has a great president with Craig Covey. He’s a really strong leader and that’s going to help people come together.

I read online that you decided to run when you saw that Republican Kirk Schuring was running unopposed.
Exactly. He’s been in office for about 30 years, even though there are 8-year term limits. He and this other guy, Scott Oleslager, just flip seats every 8 years to stay in office. One is in the House and the other is in the Senate. And then they flip.

He’s anti-everything that I’m for. He’s for the Heartbeat Bill. He’s against trans athletes. He’s not a real ally for LGBTQ+ individuals. The people in this community need a different option.

How has campaigning been for you?
I’ve been blessed in that I have built a lot of good, positive relationships with people. So I’m getting a lot of positive support and feedback. Even strangers I’m talking to are tired of everything and are ready to sign on to anyone who isn’t Kirk Schuring. When I was out there gathering signatures, people asked who I was running against and when I told them “Kirk Schuring,” they wanted to sign on right away.

Being a write-in candidate has to be some added stress.
It’s been very hard. I had to run as an independent because the local Democrats couldn’t identify a candidate before the filing deadline. After that,  there’s a formula about how many signatures you need. An independent has to get 1% of the number of people who voted for governor, so I needed 1,300 signatures.

I got over 1,200, which I thought really spoke to the change people want in Ohio. But it wasn’t enough to get on the ballot, so that’s why I’m a write-in candidate.

Kirk Schuring only needed 50 signatures. My 1,200 people don’t count as much as his 50 people. And that’s part of a larger issue around redistricting and gerrymandering.

Your website describes that you are passionate about voting rights. 
I am. The Republicans are going to try to restrict voting in Ohio. I just want everyone who is eligible be able to cast a vote, not be intimidated, and have their vote counted. I want to be the voice for people who haven’t been heard.

What do you want Ohioans to know about you?
I’ve never been in politics before. This has been a whole education for me. I’ve seen how much people care about this position and I want to work hard for this community. I have seen how people are discarded if they don’t have the right pedigree or are not in the right party.

I want people to know that, if elected, I will be a legislator that takes action on behalf of the people of Ohio. For example, Stark County returned $7 million out of $11 million federal dollars allocated for emergency housing assistance. Certainly that money could have benefited more Stark County residents.

Also, it has been reported that the State of Ohio is sitting on $10 billion that was intended to help the people of Ohio in difficult times. However, while other states quickly put their money into use helping those with with challenges, Ohio’s legislature has decided to sit on it.
I say, put it to use in ways that help the most people. Everyone is complaining about high gas prices. Why can’t there be a program where every licensed driver in Ohio gets a 50 cent discount on 20 gal of gas every week for six months? That would only use about 20% of the money they are sitting on. Think about other areas that money could be used: prescription discounts, child care assistance, helping the union guys who lost their healthcare and life insurance.

I started out believing that the left wing and the right wing are part of the same bird, but I learned that not everyone wants to work with everyone else. I really want to work with all people and make a difference. I am committed to doing just that.🔥

Ignite Action:

  • Learn more about Lynn Gorman and her bid for Ohio State Senate by visiting her website
  • Vote. Seriously: VOTE. 

About Author

Ken Schneck is the Editor of The Buckeye Flame. He received the 2021 Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for the LGBTQ Journalist of the Year from the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists. He is the author of "Seriously, What Am I Doing Here? The Adventures of a Wondering and Wandering Gay Jew" (2017), "LGBTQ Cleveland" (2018), "LGBTQ Columbus" (2019), and "LGBTQ Cincinnati" (2020). In his spare time, he is a professor of education at Baldwin Wallace University.

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  1. Pingback: Ohio’s LGBTQ+ candidates went 2-4 in the 2022 midterms - The Buckeye Flame

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