When out gay State Assemblymember Daniel O’Donnell — who has served a Manhattan district stretching from the Upper West Side to West Harlem since 2003 — opened a campaign office on Broadway this week to support his run for public advocate, he was feeling the love of family. His LGBTQ Manhattan Assembly colleague Deborah Glick was on hand. So too were Cathy Nolan, a Queens assemblymember, and a former member of the Assembly, Keith Wright of Harlem, who now chairs the county Democratic Committee. Lesbian and longtime AIDS activist Ann Northrop also turned out.
Oh, and so did one Rosie O’Donnell, or as her name tag read, “the sister.” Rosie said her brother was a born politician, as a child telling a neighbor who’d chased them to the sidewalk that they were now on government property.
Danny, in very personal remarks, recalled growing up without a lot of money, being gay, falling in love with John Banta, but believing for too long that politics was closed to him as an out gay man. He described the office of public advocate as an independent one without ties to either the mayor or the governor — “No problem there,” he said — and also not a stepping stone to the mayoralty. Voicing opposition to the new Amazon deal in Long Island City, O’Donnell stressed that he wants to be a “watchdog” for the people — and a local counterweight to the growing “fascism” in Washington.