A gay Democratic political activist in Southwest Georgia was attacked for his sexual orientation by a former state lawmaker concerned that the 19-year-old man was running for a seat with the county party.
State. Rep. John White, who now lives in Alabama, denounced Andrew Niquette in an email to Rebecca DeHart, executive director of Georgia Democrats, and other state party officials when he learned of Niquette's bid for a district committee seat with the Dougherty County Democratic Party. Via the Albany Herald:
He fired off an email to DeHart and two others in response to Niquette’s plan. He also included a photo of Niquette kissing his partner.
“Rebecca, is this what you are thrilled about? I can’t say ‘I am thrilled about all you are doing,’” White wrote. “Andrew Niquette can do his Whatever in Florida. I have ZERO Tolerance for this lifestyle.”
White bolded the sentence for emphasis.
DeHart fired back at White, the first black man elected to the Georgia House from Albany. Via the Herald:
“Yes, I am absolutely thrilled by Andrew’s enthusiasm and absolutely all of him and absolutely all he represents. I am beyond angry at what you have just emailed me, Mr. White,” DeHart wrote. “For the officers of the party — and to the general counsel of the party that I have included in this email, let me explain what has happened. I congratulated Andrew Niquette, who I had the pleasure of getting to know in Philadelphia, as he was an elected Delegate representing our great state.
“Andrew wants to run for a post seat holder in Dougherty … and I sent him an email commending his passion — we want young, bright leaders carrying the torch for our party. I have absolutely zero tolerance for hateful emails like the one you just have sent me. I am a Democrat. I believe in equality with every single bone in my being and I will not be silent — ever — should I ever be in receipt of an email such as this."
Niquette, who describes himself as "activist, CEO and chef," served as a delegate to the Democratic Party National Convention earlier this summer and was later named Deputy Regional Organizing Director for the Florida Party, according to the Herald. Niquette criticized White and his email.
“Such a shame that a reputable former Democratic Representative who was an advocate for Civil Rights has the audacity to judge me for whom I choose to love,” Niquette wrote. “I do hope that you get together with the 21st Century, Rep. White, and you can be sure that it will be known of your homophobia.”
Niquette lost his bid for a post in the county party on Saturday, according to the Herald. But he won't be dismayed by White's attack, he said in a Facebook post.
This week, I've been subject to attacks on my sexual orientation and my age, being told that I'm too young to understand politics.
My age has no impact on my ability to lead or my ability to stand up for what is right. I'm a 19 year old who cares about my community, my friends, my family, and the future. And I will devote my time and energy to bringing the much needed change to Southwest Georgia.
Here's to a bright future for us all.
A week before the county party election, Niquette campaigned to become secretary of the LGBTQ Caucus of Georgia Democrats. He was not successful. Last week, he announced a run for the state House in 2018 with a progressive agenda.
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