If you haven’t noticed, on Alicia Menendez Tonight, we love stories of individuals who are “the first.”
Well, just last week, State Representative Marcus Brandon officially filed his bid to represent North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District. If Brandon wins the heavily Democratic district made up of cities like Charlotte and Winston-Salem, he will be the first openly gay black person to be elected to Congress and the first openly gay representative of the south.
“If I stayed in the shadow, if I stayed in the closet, how does 120 members of the North Carolina General Assembly move beyond where they are,” Brandon told the AMTonight team during a recent trip to the Tar Heel state.
In May 2012, voters in North Carolina voted in favor of Amendment 1, an initiative that made same-sex marriages and civil unions unconstitutional under state law, a process that Brandon says was one of his most difficult times while serving as the only openly gay state representative in North Carolina.
“I feel like it’s a responsibility to make sure that the next person that runs in North Carolina that is LGBT – that is not such a big deal,” Brandon said.
Primaries will be held May 6.
Alongside Brandon, in neighboring District 2, former “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken, who also identifies as gay, is seeking a Democratic nomination in hopes of unseating current Republican Representative Renee Ellmers.