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UU candidates win elections

State ballot initiatives on abortion, marijuana, show mixed results.
By Donald E. Skinner
11.14.08

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Unitarian Universalist candidates fared well in the November 4 elections. Several were elected to state offices and at least one to a school board. In addition, there were a number of social justice issues on state ballots concerning abortion, the medical use of marijuana, renewable energy, assisted suicide, and animal rights that were of interest to UUs. (For coverage of ballot initiatives related to gay marriage, see “Ballot initiatives bring setbacks for same-sex couples,” 11/10/08)

The Rev. Kelly Flood, minister emerita of the UU Church of Lexington, Ky., and vice president for advancement at Starr King School for the Ministry, was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives.

In Florida, Claudia Jiminez, director of religious education at the UU Congregation of Vero Beach, was declared the winner of a seat on the Indian River County School Board at Vero Beach, but only after a recount. She won by 111 votes.

David Edwards, a member of the UU Community Church of Washington County, Hillsboro, was reelected to the Oregon House of Representatives.

Donna Howard, a member of the First UU Church of Austin, won reelection to the Texas House of Representatives. Kelda Helen Roys, a member of First Unitarian Society in Madison, won election to her first term in the Wisconsin State Assembly. Melissa Walsh Innes, a member of First Universalist Church of Yarmouth, won her first term in the Maine House of Representatives.

In Louisiana, Chester T. Kelley, a member of All Souls UU Church of Shreveport, is running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The election is scheduled for December 6.

Michigan voters made their state the 13th to allow the medical use of marijuana by 63 to 37 percent, the largest margin ever for a medical marijuana initiative. Massachusetts voters decriminalized the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, replacing arrests, legal fees, court appearances, the possibility of jail, and a lifelong criminal record with a $100 fine, much like a traffic ticket, that can be paid through the mail.

Washington became the second state to approve assisted suicide, by a margin of 59 to 41 percent. Oregon has had such a law for 11 years.

In some states, renewable energy was one of the top issues facing voters. Missouri voters approved a requirement that investor-owned utilities buy or produce 15 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020. A measure requiring California’s electric utilities to get half their power from renewable sources by 2025 was defeated.

Two years after South Dakotans rejected a nearly total ban on abortion, a somewhat less restrictive measure, including exceptions for rape, incest, and pregnancies that threaten the life or health of the woman, failed on November 4. In Colorado a measure that would have criminalized abortion by defining a person as “any human being from the moment of fertilization,” failed.

A ballot measure banning affirmative action by governmental agencies passed in Nebraska by 58 percent. In Colorado a nearly identical initiative failed.

Arizona voters rejected a measure that would have revoked the business licenses of employers who knowingly hired illegal immigrants. Missouri voted to make English the state’s official language.

Californians approved an animal rights initiative requiring farms to give egg-laying hens, calves, and pregnant pigs room to turn around, lie down, stand up and fully extend their limbs.


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