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Elections

Barney Frank wants Brady Walkinshaw to be next openly gay member of Congress

State legislator Brady Walkinshaw represents Washington State's 43rd District.
Courtesy of Ann Norton
State Rep. Brady Walkinshaw is running for the 7th congressional district against State Sen. Pramila Jayapal.

Pramila Jayapal got Bernie. 

Now Brady Walkinshaw gets Barney.

Democrat Barney Frank, the former congressman from Massachusetts, visited Seattle on Friday to campaign and raise money for congressional candidate Brady Walkinshaw.

Frank hopes Walkinshaw will become another openly gay member of Congress.

For decades, Frank has been an outspoken advocate for gay rights. He said he met state representative Brady Walkinshaw through an association for gay and lesbian elected officials. Frank said one of the main reasons he’s campaigning for Walkinshaw is because Walkinshaw is openly gay, and that’s still a tiny group in Congress.

“We’re still in a period in American life where it’s important for important people to get to know someone who’s openly gay, to get to know a same-sex married couple," Frank said. "There are still stereotypes and attitudes that have to be rebutted.”

Walkinshaw is running in Washington’s 7th congressional district against State Sen. Pramila Jayapal. Both are progressive Democrats. Frank said he believes Walkinshaw would bring the pragmatism needed to get his ideas passed.

Frank served in Congress with Jim McDermott, who is retiring from the 7th District seat. Frank said McDermott’s medical background was a huge asset to his fellow Democrats as they tackled healthcare and other issues.

“Jim being a doctor, an MD, was just very important," Frank said. "To combine his compassion and commitment to fairness with indisputable technical expertise of that sort helped us defuse the argument that we were just woolly-headed, etc.”

During his Seattle stop, Frank spoke to Walkinshaw supporters at a private home in Belltown. 

Year started with KUOW: 2005