Op-Ed for Philadelphia Gay News
April 19, 2021
My name is Jonathan Lovitz. I’m an out gay man, proud union member, dedicated husband, and the son of a teacher and a small business owner. I am also an LGBTQ+ advocate who has dedicated the last decade of my life to lifting up every community. I am running to be our next State Representative for District 182, serving the people of Center City Philadelphia.
After years of public service, I am more sure than ever there is no greater power to bring about change than the power of the people. That is why my campaign is about the needs of the people first, and always. A state legislator’s number one responsibility is constituent services — being accessible and doing all I can to improve the quality of life of my neighbors. If I haven’t had the honor of meeting you directly yet — and I hope I do soon — allow me to introduce myself and why I am seeking to work so hard for you and our community.
When we’re battling the opposition for our most basic civil rights: equality, freedom to vote, healthcare, the environment, and education, we don’t need slogans and angry rhetoric. We need results. We need leadership. We need someone who can work across the aisle to build consensus while never compromising convictions about what is right.
When I was being trained by the Victory Fund to be an effective LGBTQ candidate, I heard such powerful stories about how the kind of visibility, leadership, and gravitas I will bring to this office can have ripple effects that benefit every single member of our community, and our allies. I do not take my privilege as a cisgender white man lightly; I take it as a solemn obligation to ensure that as I work to build longer tables we are filling the seats with the leaders and voices kept too far from the spotlight for far too long. That is also why you’ll see every possible element of my campaign be sourced from Philly-based small, minority, and LGBTQ-owned businesses. I will live up to the same commitment to inclusion we should expect at every level of government.
I won’t need on-the-job training when I get to Harrisburg; I’m already doing the work. In the last five years I have been responsible for writing and passing more than twenty-five state and local laws, including right here in Pennsylvania, opening up billions of dollars in contracts and economic development to small business owners, including minorities, veterans, those with disabilities, and LGBTQ-owned entrepreneurs. I have helped institutions, from the largest corporation to the smallest local government, spend their money more efficiently, equitably, and with greater direct impact on our communities than ever before.
I saw the impact of that work when I helped bring the world’s largest LGBTQ business conference to Center City Philadelphia, helping bring millions of dollars in new revenue to our local, community-owned businesses and organizations. The groundwork for creating unprecedented economic success for TGNC and BIPOC business owners and employees I helped lead here in Philly during that time has led to exponential growth in Black, Hispanic, and Trans-owned entrepreneurship and visibility that results in life-saving changes in hearts, minds, and economies.
In 2020 I co-created the PhillyVoting.org initiative, to expand voter registration and civic confidence in our great city– especially for our underserved and underrepresented Bllack and LGBTQ neighbors. By hitting the streets with some extraordinary volunteers we helped register and galvanize nearly a thousand new voters during the most important election of our lifetime. I apply that same commitment to grassroots organizing, equity and opportunity for all through my service on the Board of Directors of the Global Philadelphia Association and the William Way Community Center.
The ongoing violence against our communities, especially against our trans siblings, is a stunning reminder that our work together continues. Once again the movement for long-overdue social change in America is being led by communities of color, especially right here in Philly. And the LGBTQ community must continue to stand in solidarity with them. If you don’t think racial justice is an LGBTQ+ fight too, you simply don’t get it. And that is why my campaign will be guided by community leaders with lived experiences that inform every decision we make on what the least among us need most, and not what the needs of the most powerful might be.
Over the next year of this campaign I hope to meet with you, hear your issues, and come up with a plan to make things better. Let’s connect at LovitzForPA.com and work to solve our city and our Commonwealth’s challenges together. Let’s work hard to lift one another up and help our communities succeed. Let’s make a difference.