House District 59 preview

Political newcomer William Phelps, an openly gay man, is challenging gay-friendly incumbent Margaret Kaiser in the July 31 Democratic primary. There are no Republican candidates.

Georgia Equality and Atlanta Stonewall Democrats endorsed Kaiser.

Margaret KeiserMargaret Kaiser was first elected in 2006. She graduated from Emory University and has worked in constituent affairs with the Secretary of State and also The Carter Center. She’s currently president of her family’s business, Kaiser Dough and Pizza Concepts, which owns Grant Central and Grant Central East Pizza.

What are the top three issues you want to support in the General Assembly?

Access to quality, public education; access to quality, affordable healthcare; equal protections for all Georgians, especially anti-bullying, anti-discrimination practices.

Please list your top three accomplishments within the LGBT community or on behalf of LGBT equality.

I have worked across party lines to discuss broadening language in the parent protection act, specifically. I have, always, cast votes in this regard, but unfortunately in a Republican dominated legislature, there are too few opportunities to make real effective change.

Why should LGBT voters vote for you?

LGBT voters should vote, again, for me because I am an effective Democrat in a very partisan, racially and geographically divisive environment. I am a trained mediator who is able to work across party lines to push forward issues that are important to voters and my district’s residents. 

I am, and have always been, accessible and pro active and always open to hearing others’ opinions on issues and being open and truthful about my own position.

William PhelpsWilliam Phelps of East Point Phelps served in the Marines from 2002 to 2010, including a deployment to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom (helping with logistics) from March 2008 to November 2008. He was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the Operation Enduring Freedom Medal for outstanding military service.

Now as a disabled veteran, Phelps is a mentor for disabled veterans, university students and is a supporter of veterans’ rights, rehabilitation and services.

What are the top three issues you want to support in the General Assembly?

Education, hate crimes law, transportation.

Please list your top three accomplishments within the LGBT community or on behalf of LGBT equality.

Resounding support for the repeal of DADT as a veteran: Being a Marine veteran it was humbling to stand with my sisters and brothers in uniform to help advocate the end of such oppression.

I help promote and advise a new LGBT organization for men and women of color who have worn the uniform named Secret Operations People of Color. This organization has a five-fold mission: mentorship, community service, outreach, advocacy and information.

I’ve also helped counsel numerous LGBT youth on issues that are relevant to our community.

Why should LGBT voters vote for you?

I think when people look at our campaign you see someone who has put their money where their mouth is. I think there is no greater sacrifice than to serve our great country, then to have the unique opportunity to represent District 59 is awesome.

Our district is very diverse on every level and it is important for everyone to know that I am willing to fight for everyone. I have always been a fighter and I am willing to fight for every single resident of the 59th District. I will not be a representative who sits back and is never heard or seen, I will be active and very present.