By Georgeann H. Ikuma
Like a superhero armed with powers in public advocacy, Jonathan Lovitz, Special Advisor on Public Policy for the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), has passionately fought for economic justice and equity. In his prior role as Senior Vice President of the NGLCC for the past five years, he was recognized and honored by organizations throughout Pennsylvania and across America for his leadership on issues including saving small businesses, fighting for equality, and promoting anti-violence and civic engagement. Now, in his continued quest to break down barriers and shatter glass ceilings, he takes his public servitude to new heights in his run to represent the people of the 182nd House District in Philadelphia.
“My life was forever changed working at the NGLCC and seeing what happens when you roll your sleeves up and get into the issues that need help,” said Lovitz, who has been responsible for writing and passing more than twenty-five state and local laws, opening up billions of dollars in contracts and economic development to small business owners, including minorities, veterans, those with disabilities, and LGBTQ-owned entrepreneurs.
“When you bring coalitions together and stand firm in your convictions you can get something done and you can shatter the myth that bureaucracies and the way things have always been done will always stand in our way.”
From legacy to leadership
As a proud union member, and the son of a public school teacher and a small business owner, Jonathan believes there is no greater power than the power of the people. His passion for service and taking care of his neighbors is rooted in a belief that when everyone does better, we all do better.
“Living in Philly, I’ve seen how COVID-19 has ravaged the economy of this fast-growing city and the center city district I hope to represent,” he said. “If I can bring what I know to be true about the power of businesses to help communities grow and reinvest in the cities and states that we live, we can stabilize and grow this economy in a way that delivers on affordable and inclusive healthcare; essential services for seniors and veterans; gun free, fully-funded schools; supporting our arts and culture institutions; preserving our environment; and all the things that we know make a better society.”
His comprehensive platform also includes protecting Philadelphians’ voice in government. During the early days of the pandemic, he helped found the PhillyVoting.org initiative to expand voter registration and civic confidence in Philadelphia.
“Helping communities do better and helping them invest in a better future for the people around them is what I do for a living,” said Lovitz. “This moment really needs leadership with experience and I don’t think we can take a chance on people who don’t have the ability to not only get the job done, but also support the bigger mission of getting more democrats elected and getting better funding into the system to help others down ticket get elected, so we can fundamentally change the system and get things done.”
While Lovitz focuses on his run for public office, he also reflects on his legacy at the NGLCC helping work on America’s LGBT Economy Report in 2016.
“Never before this report did anyone know the actual economic impact of our community, and we finally had enough certified LGBTQ business owners to aggregate all their data,” said Lovitz “The 1.4 million LGBT businesses that are estimated to be across the country created more than 1.7 trillion dollars. If LGBTQ-owned businesses were their own country, they’d be the 10 wealthiest country in the world, and I’d want to live there.”
Staying on as a special advisor with the NGLCC while also running for office encapsulates the character of a person whose passion in life is not only to give back, but to pay it forward.
“I have an obligation as we succeed as a community to throw the ladder down and make sure we’re pulling others up with us.”