Bruce Williams

From OutHistory

Jump to: navigation, search

Bruce Williams (right), Mayor, Takoma Park, Maryland. Photo by Ron Schlittler.

Bruce Williams

Born October 9, 1949


Takoma Park, Maryland

17,250 constituents

Career Overview

Elected City Council Member November 1993

Re-elected 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005

Elected Mayor Pro Tem by the Council for much of tenure

Elected Mayor 2007

Bruce Williams is accompanied by his partner, Geoffrey Burkhart in this photograph. They have lived in Takoma Park since 1980. Williams is a building contractor.

Interview with Bruce Williams for Out and Elected in the USA

Q: What is Mayor Pro Temp?

A: That is the Mayor when the Mayor is absent, and is appointed by the Mayor.

Q: Though your office is non-partisan, you are a gay Democrat. Does that mean you are a liberal?

A: I generally think of myself as liberal, on the other hand, my constituency is probably more liberal than I am – Takoma Park is probably more liberal than I am – and I would not necessarily have thought that, but there have been times when I’ve done things and I’ve thought, “You know, I’m more conservative on this, and I’m aligning myself on my vote with my Republican colleague.” We kind of think alike on some things.

As an example, and I’m sure there are better ones, it came up that people were erecting basketball hoops in the public ride-of-way. Basically on the street in front of their house, like at the end of their driveway. I ended up being the only one who voted to not allow them to continue to do that. I basically said, “I don’t want to be in a position of saying I told you so when some kid gets run over playing basketball in the street.”

People said things like, “Well, in big cities people play in the street all the time,” and, “We don’t have enough basketball courts and people are feeling like they don’t want to send their kids across busy streets to various play grounds, so they want them to play close to home where they can keep an eye on ‘em and it’s a neighborhood so that should be encouraged…”

But my feeling was, “OK, have them play in the basketball court in the driveway. If they don’t have a driveway, a neighbor’s driveway. Something – but they should not be in the street.”

As it turned out everybody else felt that, “No, we have to allow people to do this, we can’t be restrictive like that, the streets are for everybody…”

And I said, “No. The streets are for cars.” I end up sometimes feeling a little curmudgeonly.

Q: How has your being openly gay played out?

A: It’s played into it nicely in that my usual experience is that whenever there is an issue with a gay aspect to it I have colleagues who say, “You don’t always get to be the sponsor of that one. We want you to share it with us, we want to show support, we want to be the sponsor this year.” Whether it be a proclamation for Gay Pride or when we had situation where the city newsletter was hand-delivered to everyone in the city by the Boy Scout troop. It wasn’t working out logistically – there were a lot of people who weren’t getting it – and so we were talking about the logistics of that and one of my colleagues said, “You know, there is another reason that we should change how we’re doing this. We shouldn’t be supporting the Boy Scouts.” We talked to the local troop and they said, “We don’t agree with the national (BSA), we have a different policy (regarding gays). But, we understand how you need to take that stand against the national.”

One of my favorite stories is that when I was elected the first time, there were a number of local media that wanted to do the story. One of them was a television reporter. He came around and interviewed me and said, “Can we talk to some of your constituents?” So, I called up a constituent and said, “Are you home? The press wants to come talk and they’re bringing a camera.” Well, we talked for a while, and while we were talking somebody else who was a businessman across the street said, “Hey! Congratulations!” And the Reporter said, “Can I talk to you? What about the fact that he is the first openly gay elected official in Maryland?” He said, “Oh, I didn’t know that. That was never an issue. He has been involved in everything, I know him from five other connections, but not that one. It’s no big deal.” And then they started down the street knocking on doors. There was one woman that came out in curlers and a baby on her hip and answered the door, and they asked what her reaction was, and she basically said, “What’s the big deal?” The only negative reaction that I heard second hand was of somebody before the election who said something to a neighbor about the fact that the neighbor had one of my signs in his yard. The guy who had the sign in the yard was a long-time resident, a volunteer fireman and a registered Republican. The person said, “Are you supporting that guy?” And my neighbor said, “I support anybody who wants to run for local office and take on the work and do the job – sure I support him.”

Return to Out and Elected in the USA: 1974-2004 index • Go to next article

For information on a touring exhibit version of Out and Elected in the USA: 1974-2004, contact Ron Schlittler at

This entry is part of the featured exhibit Out and Elected in the USA: 1974-2004 curated by Ron Schlittler. As it is content created by a named author, editor, or curator, it is not open to editing by the general public. But we strongly encourage you to discuss the content or propose edits on the discussion page, and the author, editor, or curator will make any changes that improve the entry or its content. Thanks.

Add A Comment Here (You need to create an account.)

lerot aghoghovia said ...
06:19, 12 November 2009 (PST)
Dearly Beloved in Christ,

I bring you greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

WORD ALIVE BIBLE MINISTRIES is committed with the mission of saving Souls from the Kingdom of satan into the Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. My name is Pastor LEROT and it was really a great miracle for person like me to get saved because I was the servant of my Father in his Idol Worship and Since I got saved I have this Passion of reaching as many Souls as Possible with the saving message of our Lord so that these Souls do not perish.

I am excited to inform you that my Daddy who is an Idol Worshipper and my Mother are now saved through the mighty Power of God , and they are as well preaching the saving message of our God Praise God. Brethren in Christ, what a Joy to see muslims renouncing their religion and accepting the Good News of Kingdom. This year 2009, God has used me to win several muslim Brothers and Sisters to the Lord and We are glad to see what the Lord is doing through them.

We can work together to see that more and more Souls are saved from the Kingdom of satan through your Support with materials we can reach more and more Souls for Christ this year 2009. And I am writing you to help us with TWO SUDY BIBLES KJV and TEN GIANT PRINT BIBLES KJV for Precious Souls who need them and they cannot buy one because of their they can hardly feed themselves and they are hungry for God's word.

These Precious Souls are above 50 years old and they cannot read small character Bible and I pray that the Lord will use you and your Church to meet this need for these Large Print Bibles.

And if you cannot help us with the entire Bibles requested for, whatever you are able to help with will be highly appreciated because these Souls are need of God's Word. We also have an Orphanage home and Please keep praying for these 12 Precious Children whose Parents died of HIV/AIDS that God will use us to bring them up to his Glory.

Looking forward to your reply soonest.


Personal tools