A presidential-like endorsement

By Sam Inglot

Lance Enderle and Todd Heywood endorsed by former presidential candidate Fred Karger

Thursday, Sept. 27 — At a press conference Thursday morning in front of the Lansing Community College administration building, a former presidential candidate endorsed two Lansing area political hopefuls.

Republican Fred Karger, a former U.S. presidential candidate, voiced his support for Lance Enderle, the Democrat running against Republican incumbent Mike Rogers for the 8th Congressional District. He also endorsed Todd Heywood, who is campaigning for a seat on the LCC Board of Trustees.

Heywood served a partial term on the board from 2001 to 2003. He is one of five candidates vying for two open seats. Heywood is the only openly gay man ever elected to a community college governing board in Michigan. Enderle ran an unsuccessful campaign against Rogers in 2010.

Karger said both Enderle and Heywood have “great new ideas” for their prospective offices and reflect “bipartisanship” that is needed to accomplish goals in Washington D.C. and Lansing. He said he has endorsed numerous Democrats recently for various offices because the Republican Party has moved “so far right.”

Karger is the first openly gay presidential candidate in either major party. In the February Republican presidential primary, Karger received more votes in Ingham County than Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. He called off his campaign in June and has turned his attention to LGBT advocacy.

Heywood said improving both LGBT support services and transparency of board financial decisions were some of the things he would push for in his campaign and as a board member. He also criticized LCC President Brent Knight about the park he wants to build on the corner of Shiawassee Street and North Capitol Avenue, saying the project does nothing to help students.

Earlier this week, Heywood's opponent, Joe Manzella, announced the endorsements of former Lansing Mayor David Hollister and former City Council President Alfreda Schmidt.

The Equality Michigan Pride PAC also endorsed both candidates. Amy Hunter, the PAC president, said Heywood and Enderle represent a “progressive coalition” that is much needed in Michigan.

Speaking on Heywood specifically, she said, “His resume is impeccable. He has been a trailblazer as the first openly gay trustee on the board. It’s important to hold our public and private partnerships accountable and Todd is the guy to do that.”

Both Enderle and Heywood said they support a boycott being organized by Karger against Amway, the Grand Rapids-based company, for funding anti-LGBT political activities in the United States, like the National Organization for Marriage.