Ian Mackey hopes to succeed outgoing LGBTQ ally, gun control advocate and women's rights champion Rep. Stacey Newman in the state legislature next year in representing Missouri's 87th House district.


Following his August Democratic primary win, the out teacher, attorney and advocate has been omnipresent on the campaign trail heading into Nov. 6th and is taking nothing for granted.


#Boom recently interviewed Mackey as part of our "OUT on the Trail" series profiling Missouri and Illinois’ LGBTQ+ candidates in 2018.


Tell us about your district; where is it, what does it include?


The district extends roughly from the city/county line West to Warson Rd. in Ladue and from Delmar Blvd. on the Northern edge down to Highway 40 in Richmond Heights. It also encompasses the Brentwood Forest neighborhood. The 87th district contains the Danforth campus of Washington University, the entire city of Clayton, the south side of the Delmar Loop, and five public school districts.


What was the catalyst for you getting into this race?


I fell in love with this community when I moved here in 2008, from Southern Missouri, to manage Rep. Stacey Newman's first campaign for this seat. I also served as a delegate from the 2nd congressional district to the Democrat National Convention that year. Since then, along with other pursuits, I've remained politically involved in the community. I've been travelling to Jefferson City since I was in high school to lobby as a citizen on behalf of issues I'm passionate about. I credit my Republican state rep. growing up for fostering my ongoing involvement in state government. From day one the theme of our campaign was 'Bringing People Together'. My goal is to be an effective member of the Democratic Party in our state capitol, and to lead other members of the community to engage in productive dialogue with fellow citizens of different political persuasions. It's up to us to preserve our Democracy, and we can't do it in a bubble.


There are a record breaking six openly LGBTQ candidates running for the state legislature in Missouri in November. State Sen. Jolie Justus famously said, "If you don't have a seat at the table - you're probably on the menu." What are your thoughts on having out representation in Jefferson City and how do you plan to use that platform?


As with other forms of minority representation in the capitol, the more members of a particular class that are represented, the more "seen" that class becomes in society. The addition of women, LGBT members, and people of color provide the opportunity for personal relationships to develop that otherwise may not develop in the private sector. When we get to know each other, our stereotypes are challenged, and hopefully overcome. Seemingly extraordinary existences are normalized, and vice versa. I look forward to sharing my experience in Jefferson City, and listening to the experiences of others who've been sent by their constituents.


Women's rights, voting rights, and of course, LGBTQ rights have been under attack in Missouri for some years now. We all know this is an uphill fight. But where do we start?


To start, every member of the LGBT community should understand the foundation that was laid by the women's liberation movement that made our success so far in the LGBT movement possible. A simple glance at Supreme Court precedent makes it clear that the struggle for reproductive rights paved the way for the rights that we enjoy currently as LGBT citizens. This links our movement in a way to the women's movement that ought to inspire each of us to undertake our responsibility to fight back as hard against the curtailment of women's rights as we do for gay and trans rights. Beyond that, we start by telling our stories. We start by talking to folks who for whatever reason "other-ise" us. It's easier for me as an adult gay white male than it is for a trans youth person of color, but we've seen what can happen when marginalized members of society show up to tell their story and share their experience. We stopped SJR 39, we stopped the bathroom bill. It took average Missourians traveling to Jefferson City to testify and putting themselves in vulnerable positions subject to insults, tears, and inquiry - but we did it. Nothing about this is easy, but we have to keep at it.


You support the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, which would protect LGBTQ Missourians from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodation. What's your approach or argument to bring opponents around on the issue.


The argument I often hear from those who oppose this measure is that LGBT individuals are asking for "special rights" or that an employer with a religious objection will be forced to undertake an employment decision that is in conflict with a sincerely-held religious belief. When pressed in my experience, however, these folks also admit that they personally are opposed to discrimination in the workplace, in housing, etc. There's a perception that this discrimination does not exist, or is so rare that a government regulation is not needed to combat it. What we must do, again, is share our stories. Stories are the proof that back up the statistics, and evidence, and data that we hope will persuade others who feel differently about this bill.


Let's talk about some other issues of importance to our readers. Crime is a major concern in the metropolitan area. What's your plan to address it?


Continued reform of our criminal justice system was a primary plank of my platform in the August election. We incarcerate more women than any other state, and we are in the top ten states for overall incarceration rates, and the majority of people in our prisons are people who have been there before. We've seen from other states that a more rehabilitative approach to justice reduces crime. The number one determinant of recidivism is unemployment. We also have a school to prison pipeline that disproportionately singles out students of color for punishment. The solution to lower crime in our region is investment in our under-served communities. Access to childcare, employment, health care, goods and services, and quality schools varies vastly from zip code to zip code. A more equitable distribution of resources is required if we truly want to solve this problem.


Student Loan debt?


As a millennial with plenty of it, it's a concern close to home. Unfortunately, much of the solutions to this crisis exist at the federal level, but there are tools in the state's tool box to chip away at the problem. Adequately funding our public colleges and universities for one - so that they're not forced to continue to raise tuition year after year. As a state we can also offer loan forgiveness programs for certain industries or income levels, similar to the program in place in New York, or as other states have done, offer a state-run refinancing program at a lower interest rate for in-state borrowers.


Access to healthcare for Missourians?


Missouri is behind our neighbor states when it comes to expanding Medicaid. Because of that we have rural hospitals closing, and rural Missourians dying. Missourians working 40 plus hours a week at or near minimum wage earn too much income to qualify for subsidized health care. Missouri limits Medicaid eligibility to single adults making less than $16,000 a year, or $1333 a month. Beyond the crisis in our poorest communities, I've talked to small business owners in my district who have purchased their insurance from the federal marketplace only to be turned away by doctors who will not accept it, for fear they will be unable to pay. Our health care system is still profit-driven and will be as along as private insurance companies run the show. Right now in Missouri, there is one Party working to preserve this profit-driven system, and one Party working to reform it. We must elect more Democrats to Jefferson City if we want to see better health care access for the majority of Missourians.


Equality advocates in Missouri find themselves playing more and more defense when it comes to LGBTQ rights. What are your thoughts on the Religious Freedom legislation allowing discrimination based on religious objections that is being introduced around the country?


We've defeated our religious liberty bill here in Missouri in the past and we can do it again. I attend church at least once a week, and take my faith seriously. I also try to take seriously the faith of others as they articulate it. Just as important to me is the separation of church and state established by our federal constitution. Individual members of the public are free to make their own religious choices, including the choice, in their private lives, to discriminate against other people - but no one has the right to enter the public marketplace, where they benefit from state resources, and then rely on their religious beliefs to limit their services and discriminate against distinct classes of people. This struggle, like so many others in our movement, has evolved in a positive direction by the creation of new relationships, broader understanding and empathy, and the stories that we tell.


Visibility is so important and I love that you feature your husband so prominently on your campaign website. Tell us about the marriage proposal at the DNC.


Lol - thank you for this question! My husband, Stephen, and I met at the 2008 Democratic National Convention as delegates from separate congressional districts in Missouri and for separate candidates (he supported the winner). We continued dating and moved in together during the four years between 2008 and 2012. He was scheduled to attend the 2012 DNC for work and did not expect that I would accompany him. I immediately began plotting with one of his co-workers, a mutual friend of ours, and she was able to arrange an extra ticket for me for the day of the president's speech. I arrived at 8 a.m. that day and surprised him at the front door of their rented condo. He began ripping into me that in fact the main event had been moved inside to a smaller venue because of weather, there were no extra tickets, etc. etc. In fact this did have me panicked, and throughout the day my entry ticket was in limbo. By shear luck I found an extra ticket on the ground - and as it turns out later that day my ticket opened back up. So, I not only secured my entry, but also managed to elate a random stranger by giving them the extra ticket. Our friend and I orchestrated an awkward dance through the security line so that I could sneak in the ring (still in its box) without Stephen seeing and then we made our way to our seats. As soon as President Obama finished accepting the nomination and confetti and balloons began falling, I calmly bent down and asked Stephen to marry me as our friend a few strangers next to us documented the moment.


Stacey Newman has been such an incredible ally to our community. Could you talk a bit about her legacy in the legislature?


Stacey has been a role model to me both professionally and personally. Throughout my time in politics I have tried to always surround myself with candidates and officeholders that I know I won't have to worry about. Stacey always does what she knows is right and is not tempted or dismayed for a minute by the nefarious forces that too often poison the political well. She stands firmly on principal, following that old RFK quote - 'history will judge you, but you will also judge yourself.' As I become her state rep. I hope I'll be a legislator she doesn't have to worry about. And I commit to anyone reading this, that I'll always do what I know is right.


When speaking to voters in your district, what are the top issues they want to talk to you about?


As any voter in my district, and probably elsewhere, will tell you - there is no one issue. On average, the concern I probably hear the most is what do to about gun violence in our region. I talked to a voter yesterday who told me a stray bullet struck her house and pierced the wood frame near a window. The fear that children can go to school and be shot, that a bullet can come in the window at any time, and that a few zip codes away we have one of the highest murder rates in the country is real and palpable and dominates many other conversations. Beyond that, my conversations typically concern quality public education, reforming our justice system, protecting reproductive rights, expanding access to health care, and protecting our environment. 


Voter turnout will be key for a Mackey victory. Talk to our readers, especially the younger readers, about the importance of one person, one vote.


My predecessor, Rep. Newman, won her primary election in 2012 by one vote. Don't ever think that one vote doesn't matter. Also, there's a lot of myths about voting that need to be dispelled. You do not need to complete your ballot to have it counted. If for whatever reason your name is not listed on the rolls, you can demand a provisional ballot and cast that ballot like any other. If you do not have a Missouri driver's license, passport, or military photo ID you can sign a sworn affidavit and cast your ballot like any other. Do not let the hurdles, myths, or misconceptions deter you. Cast your vote, or don't complain when you start feeling the consequences of the election you skipped.


"OUT on the Trail" is an ongoing series of profiles on out LGBTQ candidates in 2018. Check out our interviews with Kathy EllisTom HanneganMitch WeberIan MackeyPatrice BillingsGreg Razer , Ryan DillonMaggie TrevorGreg HarrisKelly Cassidy and Lamont Robinson.    



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