Marcus Brandon elected to House District 60, becomes second openly gay member in N.C. General Assembly history
On a night when advocates of LGBT policy saw many of their preferred candidates lose, Democrat Marcus Brandon became only the second openly gay member of the North Carolina General Assembly.
Brandon will represent the House District 60, covering portions of Greensboro and High Point. Julia Boseman, a state senator representing Wilmington who was the first openly gay member of the General Assembly, did not seek reelection this year.
Brandon, a political consultant and founder of KMB Consulting, has a background in politics, including serving as national finance director for U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) during his run for president in 2008. Just 35 years old, Brandon defeated Earl Jones, a four-term incumbent, by 20 points in the Democratic Primary.
Jobs, or the lack thereof, was the central issue of his campaign. In a statement on his website after the primary election, Brandon said, “Jobs is the biggest issue right now. People are not working. They are tired of their representatives sitting around a table deciding what’s best for them.”
Showing his ideological allegiance to Kucinich, Brandon will be one of the most liberal members in the state House. He favors a single payer health-care system and says he will introduce the “North Carolina Health Care Act,” which would implement a single payer system for residents of North Carolina. He claims such a system would come to $1.5 billion in administrative costs.
But Brandon’s focus doesn’t stray far from jobs. In an interview with Greensboro News-Record, he described his community in stark terms. “This is one of the poorest zip codes in the state. It has one of the highest HIV rates, highest infant mortality rates, and has one of the highest achievement gaps in the state,” he said. And the root of fixing these problems is investing in a green jobs economy, he says. With help from stimulus grants and tax credits he hopes to create a “Guilford County Green Jobs Corridor.”
Brandon will join a state House with a radically different balance of power after huge gains by Republicans in the mid-term election. His plans to introduce a single payer system in North Carolina comes at an inopportune time; instead, efforts to repeal the federal health-care bill by the newly-minted Republican majority will be the battle that receives the most attention from state legislators.
(Photo: Facebook/Marcus Brandon)