2017 Endorsements

Cecil Bothwell

Running for: Asheville (NC) City Council

Cecil Bothwell ran for re-election to the Asheville City Council in North Carolina. Unfortunately, he lost the primary election by just 106 votes out of a total of 31,843 votes cast. Cecil gained national attention when some members of his community attempted to prevent him from being seated — because they had “problems with people who don’t believe in God” — when he was first elected to the City Council in 2009. Prior to this challenge Bothwell did not think his religious beliefs were anyone’s business, but since then he has delivered lectures in 25 cities, covering 12 states, on being a secular elected official.

Patrick Delices

Running for: New York City Council (District 17)

Patrick Delices, who identifies as an agnostic, ran for the New York City Council in District 17, which represents the South Bronx. He was not successful in the November 7 general election. Patrick is a self-described “rational Republican” advocating for reproductive rights, church-state separation, and LGBTQ rights. He is also the “People’s Politician” honoring the Bronx’s rich history and dynamic cultural diversity by working to realize its great economic promise. He seeks to expand employment opportunities and economic empowerment, educational access and affordability, healthcare and social services, and fair and effective civil and criminal justice systems.

Howard Katz

Running for: Batavia (IL) Township Clerk

Howard Katz won his election on April 4 to become the Batavia (IL) Township Clerk. Batavia Township is located forty miles west of Chicago and just north of Aurora, IL. Howard is very active in the secular community. In addition to being a Humanist Celebrant, he is a board member of the American Humanist Association and the Humanists of West Suburban Chicagoland. He has been active in politics since the third grade when his parents had him handing out flyers for Hubert Humphrey’s presidential campaign. He is also Chair of the Democratic Party in Batavia Township. Howard has been appointed to local office before, including the Clerk position, but this was his first electoral victory (he ran unopposed). See his essay on seeking elected office – “I’m doing my part – are you?”.

Audra Killingsworth

Running for: Apex (NC) Town Council

Audra Killingsworth won a seat on the Apex Town Council in the November 7 general election. Apex is a small town of 45,000 residents just a few miles southwest of Raleigh, North Carolina. Audra identifies as a secular humanist and is a member of the American Humanist Association and the Triangle Freethought Society. “After watching the impact that government can have on us,” says Audra, “I realized that I want to contribute. I want to make a difference. What better place to start than locally, in my own community.”

Aaron Moreau-Cook

Running for: Bothell (WA) City Council (Position 7)

Aaron Moreau-Cook ran for the Bothell City Council in Washington state. In 2016, he ran as a first-time candidate for an open state representative seat. Although he was not successful in the Democratic primary, he used that experience to build his name recognition, campaign skills, and community networks. For this election, Aaron built a strong list of organizational and individual endorsements — even the endorsements from two of the candidates he ran against in the 2016 Democratic primary – including the new state representative Shelley Kloba. Aaron identifies as agnostic. He was not successful in the November 7 general election.

Neil Polzin

Running for: Covina (CA) City Council

Neil Polzin ran for the Covina City Council. Covina is located twenty miles east of Los Angeles, California. Neil was one of four candidates seeking three seats on the Council, with two incumbents seeking reelection. He is active in the secular community as a board member of Camp Quest. Neil also served as both a board and staff member of the Secular Student Alliance. Neil received national attention when he lost his position with the Boy Scouts of America after he informed them he was an atheist. Neil was not successful in the March 7 election.

Herb Riede

Running for: Meadville (PA) City Council

Herb Riede has previously served as a Councilmember and Mayor in McSherrystown, Pennsylvania and was looking forward to applying his expertise in planning and effective budgeting in Meadville. Herb was raised by a Methodist-turned-atheist father and lapsed Baptist mother, who taught him to question everything. He identifies as an atheist, secular humanist, and occasionally as a Gene Roddenberryian. He was not successful in the November 7 general election.

Shawnee Rios

Running for: Knoxville (TN) City Council (District 6)

Shawnee Rios ran for the City Council District 6 seat in Knoxville, Tennessee. Shawnee was not successful in the district primary election on August 29, 2017. Shawnee identifies as an atheist and is very active in the secular movement. She serves on the board of directors for both the Rationalists of East Tennessee and the Freedom From Religion Foundation – East Tennessee Chapter, and also serves as the co-organizer and treasurer for the Atheist Society of Knoxville.

Christopher Schaeffer

Running for: Pomfret (NY) Town Council

Christopher Schaeffer won re-election to the Pomfret Town Council in New York. He gained international attention when he wore a colander, as the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster encourages, during his swearing-in ceremony. “In my first term,” states Schaeffer, “I was able to keep my campaign promise to represent all members of our community and help make our town run smoothly. I’m looking forward to continuing my work in a second term.” Schaeffer identifies as agnostic and Pastafarian.

Andrew Zwicker

Running for: New Jersey General Assembly (District 16)

Andrew Zwicker is a scientist, freshman legislator, and atheist, and won re-election to the New Jersey General Assemby. Assemblyman Zwicker is the far too rare scientist-legislator. He is a physicist and Head of Science Education at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. His victory in 2015 was the biggest upset in New Jersey when he won by less than 100 votes. His win in 2017 was more comfortable. As a scientist, Andrew promotes public policy using evidence based decision making, not ideology, and is focused on rebuilding the state’s infrastructure and economy, protecting the environment, and enhancing public education and making college affordable.