July 19 2010 12:00 AM

Bernero looks to undecided progressive voters with new endorsements

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernero picked up endorsements today by prominent LGBT-rights groups, which he believes will connect him to undecided Democrats in the Aug. 3 primary.

“This (issue) is a signal that Democratic voters look for in their candidates,” the Lansing mayor said after the press conference. “I’m very proud.”

He said he is excited about the latest endorsement by Equality Michigan Action Network, a statewide LGBT advocacy group. Similar groups, including the Lansing Association for Human Rights, the Michigan Democratic Party LGBTA Caucus and Between the Lines newspaper, also endorsed Bernero.

Bernero won the 2004 “Ray of Light” award for “Outstanding contributions to the LGBT community,” at the Lansing PRISM Awards. As mayor, he supported the 2006 Human Rights Ordinance, a citywide ban on sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in hiring and owning or renting property.

In an interview after the press conference, Bernero connected the endorsements to other positions on social issues.

He pointed out that he is the only pro-choice gubernatorial candidate. He believes this is one aspect of his campaign that will lead him to victory in the primary against Speaker of the House Andy Dillion, as well as in the November general election.

“I am the progressive candidate in this race who supports gay rights, is pro-choice and for stem cell research,” Bernero said. “This stance, along with my progressive environmental and economic policies, is a ‘trifecta.’”

As time winds down until the Aug. 3 primary, Bernero said his campaign is just “winding up.”

“We want to end with a bang and we are peaking at just the right time,” said Bernero, who plans to announce endorsements Tuesday by multiple environmental groups, as well as his environmental agenda called Greening Michigan’s Future.

“Unions are communicating well with their members. These are real activists who are turning on to this campaign,” he said. “We are energizing the base.”

Other major Bernero endorsements have come from Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, Michigan NOW, Michigan Education Association, Michigan Nurses Association and Michigan AFL-CIO. The AFL-CIO is a collection of more than 600,000 active and retired employees from 59 unions throughout the state.