Freethought PAC Endorses Unaffiliated, Agnostic and Humanist Candidates

July 14th, 2016

Candidates will advocate for public policy based on evidence and reason, core values of the humanist and secular community

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

(Washington, D.C., July 14, 2016) — The Freethought Equality Fund (FEF) PAC is proud to endorse Martha Hennessey, Chris Kennedy, Strom Peterson and Barbara Stocker, running in state legislative races in New Hampshire, Colorado, Washington and Missouri, respectively. Each candidate will advocate for public policy based on evidence and reason, core values of the humanist and secular community.

“By being open about their views as religiously unaffiliated, agnostic or humanist, these candidates will inspire more members of the nonreligious community to run for public office at all levels of government,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the Freethought Equality Fund. “More public officials who directly support church/state separation will give nontheist Americans an amplified voice in their state governments.”

Martha Hennessey is seeking election to New Hampshire’s 5th State Senate District. She is currently a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives (District Grafton 12). Hennessey is not affiliated with a religious organization and believes “in the dignity of all human beings and our individual rights to pursue personal meaning and truth; I believe in complete separation of church and state.” Hennessey is a Psychologist and taught at Dartmouth College’s Geisel School of Medicine. She is a progressive legislator advocating for the environment, women’s reproductive rights, public education, LGBT rights and gun control. The current Democratic incumbent is not seeking re-election, and Hennessey is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Chris Kennedy is seeking election to Colorado’s 23rd State House District. Kennedy, who was raised without religion in his life, identifies as agnostic. He made a major career change from architectural engineering to public service because “he could no longer stand on the sidelines and watch the erosion of the middle class, the squandering of our federal budget on wars and handouts to special interests, the destruction of our environment and the denial of equal rights to so many of our citizens.” Kennedy has volunteered on many local and federal campaigns and worked for several local elected officials. From these experiences and the political contacts he developed, Kennedy was urged to run for this open seat, as the Democratic incumbent cannot seek re-election due to term limits. Kennedy was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Strom Peterson is seeking re-election to Washington’s State House as the 21st Legislative District Representative – Position 1. Peterson identifies as agnostic and says that “Religion does not play a role in my personal life but my personal beliefs such as helping the poor and protecting the environment influence my policy decisions.” Serving in his first term in office, he has successfully reached across the aisle to pass environmental legislation to protect honey bee colonies, provide funds to replace outdated and leaking petroleum storage tanks, and made it easier for doctors to monitor the over-prescription of opioids. He is also a champion of fully funding public schools to reduce class size and increase teacher pay. Peterson has no Democratic or Republican opponents in the top two primary on August 2.

Barbara Stocker is seeking election to Missouri’s State House in District 115. Stocker is a member of the American Humanist Association and identifies as a secular humanist. She moved to Missouri in 1972 with a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry to work in medical research at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis. Stocker transitioned from academia to the corporate sector with positions at Ralston Purina and Monsanto. Now retired, Stocker serves on the board of Jefferson College and is treasurer of the Southeast Missouri Rural Caucus. She is running to help build the economy in southeast Missouri and ensure the economic and social protection of its citizens. Stocker is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

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

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The mission of the Freethought Equality Fund (FEF) is to change the face of American politics and to achieve equality by increasing the number of open humanist and atheists, and their allies, in public office at all levels of government. FEF supports progressive candidates who are strong advocates for the separation of religion and government and the protection of American’s civil liberties. FEF is affiliated with the Center for Freethought Equality, which is the advocacy and political arm of the American Humanist Association. To learn more about the Freethought Equality Fund, visit Facebook and Twitter.