Freethought PAC Endorses Six Candidates Dedicated to Church/State Separation

June 8th, 2016

FEF PAC Endorses Ernie Chambers, Jennifer Goulet, Eric C. Grimm, Mike Honda, Gayle Jordan, and Perrin Swanlund

For Immediate Release

Contact: Ron Millar, 202-238-9088 ext. 201, rmillar@cfequality.org

Goulet.Swanlund.ChambersHOnda.Jordan.Grimm(Washington, D.C., June 9, 2016) — The Freethought Equality Fund (FEF) PAC is proud to endorse six more candidates, all of whom are dedicated to upholding Jefferson’s wall separating church and state. The candidates are running in races ranging from the US Congress to local probate court, and all will advocate for public policy based on evidence and reason while giving the secular community a voice in the public sector.

“Humanists, atheists and other nontheists need politicians who will champion church/state separation in local, state and national government,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the Freethought Equality Fund. “By endorsing candidates at every level, we can ensure that nontheist Americans’ concerns are addressed in their local communities and on the state and national agendas.”

Sen. Ernie Chambers is seeking re-election to Nebraska’s 11th State Senate District. Chambers is a hero in the secular movement with his attempt to end state-supported chaplain legislative prayers in the Supreme Court case Marsh v. Chambers (1983) and his 2007 legal action against God to protest frivolous and inappropriate lawsuits. He the longest-serving state senator in the history of Nebraska, although he did have to take a short break when term-limits were introduced. Senator Chambers received the American Humanist Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award at its 75th anniversary conference this year. He won his nonpartisan primary election on May 10 with over 73 percent of the vote.

Jennifer Goulet is seeking election to Washington’s State House as the 9th Legislative District State Representative – Position 1. Goulet identifies as an atheist and has been active in many secular groups including the Tri-City Freethinkers, Secular Coalition for Washington and Mid-Columbia Coalition of Reason. She is also on the board of Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho. Goulet says, “Any time religion interferes with the wellbeing and rights of others, I am there to push back.” In addition to the separation of government and religion, Goulet advocates for a stronger K-12 public education system and affordable college, ensuring a living wage, and fostering the development and use of energy from clean and renewable sources to curb climate change. Goulet faces two opponents, including the Republican incumbent, in the top two primary on August 2.

Eric C. Grimm is seeking election to be a judge on the Probate Court of Muskegon County, Michigan. Although raised Catholic, he does not recall ever believing in anything supernatural, and he identifies as a naturalist. Grimm, an undergraduate National Merit Scholar and an honors graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, served on the staff of two courts (Texas Supreme Court and U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas) in the 1990s. In his 22-year legal career, he has represented clients across the country. He also served as a council member of the City of Roosevelt Park from 2008 to 2011 and again from 2012 to 2015. Grimm resigned his seat because some of his council colleagues refused to be more inclusive, citing – among other factors – the city’s recognition of the National Day of Prayer but not the National Day of Reason. As a judge, he promises to ensure the scales of justice are balanced, with prompt, fair, and impartial hearings to ensure equal justice under the law. Grimm faces four opponents in the primary election on August 2.

Rep. Mike Honda is seeking re-election to California’s 17th Congressional District. The Representative has been a longtime friend of the secular community. He has sponsored a resolution honoring the National Day of Reason in 2015 and 2016 and this year co-sponsored legislation to protect nonreligious immigrants. “I am proud to stand strong for the separation of church and state and to defend the civil liberties of all Americans, regardless of their religious views or lack thereof,” said Honda. “I know what it’s like to have my constitutional rights violated because of my identity, and as long as I am in Congress I will work to make sure this doesn’t happen to others.” Rep. Honda is proceeding to the general election after the California June 7 primary.

Gayle Jordan is seeking election to Tennessee’s State Senate, District 14. She identifies as an atheist and humanist, and is a member of Murfreesboro Freethinkers. Jordan is an attorney and serves as the executive director of Recovering From Religion. Jordan says she has “watched the legislature of my beloved state govern with unkind, uncaring, and unnecessary legislation, costing the state millions of dollars in legal battles. I listened as they made divisive and hateful statements regarding immigrants, refugees, members of the LBGT community, women, the uninsured, and the poor.” She is running to correct these injustices and end intrusive government overreach. Jordan is unopposed in the Democratic primary on August 4.

Perrin Swanlund is seeking election to California’s 34th State Assembly District. Swanlund identifies as an atheist, and was motivated to run because the current incumbent made national headlines when she said the drought was God’s wrath at abortion laws. “Although she is termed out,” Swanlund said, “her brand of religious conservatism will continue in her successor if we fail to act.” Swanlund is running on a progressive platform of reforming the state prison system, addressing the water crisis, and implementing a single-payer healthcare system. If successful in November, Swanlund would be the youngest member of the Assembly in modern times. He has just graduated high school and plans to be an English and political science major at the University of California-Davis. Swanlund placed second in the blanket primary on June 7 and will proceed to the general election.

More information on the candidates endorsed by the Freethought Equality Fund PAC is available here.