REGIONAL: Novotny says her advantage is Kern’s extremism

Trans candidate for Oklahoma House says Republican supporters say Kern is ‘on a different level’ from conservative constituents

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer taffet@dallasvoice.com

Brittany Novotny
Brittany Novotny

OKLAHOMA CITY — The New York Times named several transgender candidates around the country as having a good chance of election. Among them was Brittany Novotny, running for the Oklahoma Legislature.

Other transgender candidates are running in more likely places like Hawaii, Oregon and California. Theresa Sparks, a candidate for San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, is seeking the seat once held by Harvey Milk and is seen as the conservative candidate in the race.

Novotny’s district encompasses northern suburbs of Oklahoma City usually considered on the far end of the conservative spectrum. But she said this week her campaign is going well.

While Novotny stays on message, her Republican opponent, incumbent Rep. Sally Kern, rose to fame by calling gays a bigger problem than terrorism. The comment was especially harsh in a district that was home to many of the Oklahoma City bombing victims.

After media criticism every time she spoke about homosexuality, Kern agreed to stick to the issues rather than leveling personal attacks. However, a Kern supporter recently referred to Novotny as “a confused it.”

“The issues in my district are economic development, good jobs, roads and transportation, education,” Novotny said. “Teachers, technology, textbooks.”

Her district is usually characterized as Republican with a conservative incumbent.

Novotny said that isn’t a fair description of the area.

“It’s a moderate swing district,” she said, with an extremist incumbent.

She has been told that 48 percent in her area consider themselves moderate or liberal. People in the area are concerned with jobs, not her gender identity, she said.

“In knocking on 3,000 doors, it’s only come up once,” she said, referring to her gender identity.

Novotny said her Republican supporters have told her, “I’m conservative but Kern is on a different level.”

She believes that will be the margin of difference that will get her elected.

“We feel we have done a good job of sticking to the issues,” Novotny said.

In an interview last month, Houston Mayor Annise Parker commented on Novotny’s approach to the race by concentrating on issues.
“That’s how you win an election,” Parker said.

Novotny said she went to law school because of her interest in going into public service.

“Some thought I was going to be the LGBT candidate,” she said. “But I’ve always been interested in politics.”

Kern refused to debate Novotny in an open town hall forum. Instead they squared off on KFOR, the NBC affiliate in Oklahoma City, on the show Flash Point for 20 minutes.

The Daily Oklahoman, the state’s largest newspaper that is based in Oklahoma City, has declined to endorse in legislative races.

“But they’re not fans of my opponent,” Novotny said.

She spent 45 minutes with the editorial board and said they talked about her values and vision for Oklahoma.

Mara Keisling is the executive director of The National Center for Transgender Equality, an organization that does not endorse candidates. She commented on Novotny’s race and compared it to Parker’s Houston election.

“The people of Houston weren’t looking for a lesbian mayor,” she said. “They were looking for a competent mayor.”

She said the question to voters is: Can she do a better job?

She believes Novotny has a good chance of election because Kern “has a reputation of being controversial.”

Keisling said that if Novotny wins, it will be because people in Oklahoma are concerned about jobs and the economy and want a responsible and mature state representative.

“I never wanted my trans status to hold me back,” Novotny said.

She has out fundraised Kern. In the latest filing, Novotny reported $25,000 to Kern’s $14,000. She is ahead in total raised throughout the campaign as well and has 500 small donors, also more than her opponent.

“I’m real proud of the way we’ve run the campaign and I hope it pays off on Election Day,” she said.

If elected, she would become the first transgender state legislator in the country.

Her election watch party on Nov. 2 will be at the Holiday Inn on Old Route 66 in Bethany, Okla., the same location where she announced her candidacy more than a year ago.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 29, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas

Brittany Novotny fires back at Sally Kern

Brittany Novotny, the transgender candidate who’s challenging anti-gay Republican State Rep. Sally Kern in Oklahoma, has issued a statement responding to an attack last week from a Kern supporter who called Novotny a “confused it.” In the statement titled “How do we move Oklahoma forward?” Novotny notes that Kern issued a statement Sunday attempting to distance herself from the attack:

In a statement released today, Rep. Kern claims that she has “repeatedly asked [her] supporters not to use any degrading or insulting comments toward [me].” Unfortunately, the evidence indicates this is not the case. In a speech on August 7, 2010, Rep. Kern told supporters:

“And this year, in 2010 election, I have a very interesting race, I have an individual who was born a man, has had a sex change operation, and now considers themselves to be a woman. So, if you live in my district or know anyone who does, please get the word out. Because if I say anything about it, it’s gonna look like I’m smearing, and I’m not, it’s just a fact. And ‘they’ talk about it themselves. (Emphasis added).”

Does this rhetoric sound like someone asking her supporters not to use any degrading comments? Does this rhetoric sound like someone who is trying to keep the campaign about the issues facing Oklahomans?

When I announced my intention to run for this seat, Rep. Kern said she planned to keep this campaign focused on issues. As you are now aware, she has failed to keep her word on that count.

Novotny also posted the above video ad, accusing Kern of ignoring real issues to promote “her narrow social agenda” and “her own extremist interpretation of the Bible.” Ya think?

—  David Taffet

Group backing Sally Kern calls her transgender opponent Brittany Novotny ‘a confused it’

Brittany Novotny

A political action committee that supports Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern sent an e-mail to members this week calling Kern’s transgender opponent, Democrat Brittany Novotny, “a confused it.” The e-mail from the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee, posted on Novotny’s website on Thursday, goes on to say that “Some have suggested that having a sex change operation is a person’s greatest act of rebellion and hatred toward God for His making them what they were.”

“It is truly sad to see people reject God’s love for them by being willing to mutilate themselves,” the OCPAC e-mail states. “If they would submit their life to God, they could find the true the joy in life that will forever elude them while on their path of rebellion. The hatred and rage toward Sally continues unabated in the homosexual community because Sally dared to declare their political agenda for what it truly is, more dangerous to the future of America than the threat of terrorism.”

The OCPAC e-mail comes not long after Kern herself defended the infamous 2008 comment saying homosexuals pose a bigger threat to national security than terrorists.

“Here in America we’ve had what, maybe three known real big terrorist attacks on our nation,” Kern told Fox 25 in Oklahoma City recently. “But every day our young people especially, all of us, but our young people especially are in a sense bombarded with the message that homosexuality is normal and natural.”

OCPAC is the same group that sent out a memo in March 2008 accusing the LGBT community of harassing Kern in response to the 2008 statements.

“It is obvious the agenda of the homosexual community and their liberal friends is to make life hell for Sally Kern, it is becoming the definition of harassment,” OCPAC said in the March 2008 memo. “This is getting ready to backfire upon the homosexuals as this is Oklahoma, not a homosexual infested liberal enclave like some parts of the United States.”

Below is the text of OCPAC’s e-mail this week:

—–Original Message—–
From: ocpacupdate@googlegroups.com [mailto:ocpacupdate@googlegroups.com] On
Behalf Of Charlie Meadows
Sent: Tuesday, September 07, 2010 10:06 AM
To: Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee
Subject: OCPAC e-mail

Members and friends of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action
Committee (OCPAC). …

SALLY KERN’S OPPONENT IN HOLLYWOOD FOR A FUNDRAISER

A week ago Saturday, State Representative Sally Kern’s opponent Brittany Novotny attended a fundraiser on her behalf in the home of Hollywood actor and voice over artist Ben Patrick Johnson. In a group picture I saw, presumably at Johnson’s home in West Hollywood, Brittany was actually smiling right in the middle of what I guess was about 50 likeminded people.

Brittany used to be a “he”, had a sex change operation to make him into a “her” but turned out to become a confused “it.” Some have suggested that having a sex change operation is a person’s greatest act of rebellion and hatred toward God for His making them what they were.

It is truly sad to see people reject God’s love for them by being willing to mutilate themselves. If they would submit their life to God, they could find the true the joy in life that will forever elude them while on their path of rebellion. The hatred and rage toward Sally continues unabated in the homosexual community because Sally dared to declare their political agenda for what it truly is, more dangerous to the future of America than the threat of terrorism.

Brittany has suggested Sally doesn’t represent the values of her constituents. Sally, on the other hand, from the time she first ran for office, told her constituents that she was a Christian and would stand for traditional morality and family values. Aside from the moral issues, Sally is one of the most conservative and well informed lawmakers in the state on a broad range of issues. In November, we will see which set of values the voters in HD 84 care most about. Remember, all elections are first about the quality and character of the voters.

I look forward to seeing everyone this Wednesday.

Charlie Meadows

—  John Wright