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National League of Cities recognizes Kenmore's first openly Bisexual councilmember

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Photo courtesy of Campaign to Elect, Corina Pfeil for Kenmore
Photo courtesy of Campaign to Elect, Corina Pfeil for Kenmore

Kenmore City Councilmember Corina Pfeil has received member spotlight recognition by the National League of Cities (NLC) for the month of October due to her service on the LGBTQ+LO Committee and the Federal Policy Committee on Human Development.

The NLC is an organization comprising city, town, and village leaders who focus on improving the quality of life for current and former constituents.

"This is serious work we perform," Pfeil said, "focusing on diversity, equity, inclusion, and intersectionality, [and] supporting our American cities, towns, and villages in meaningfully addressing issues of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, [including] the disproportionate impact of the pandemic... felt and experienced by our LGBTQ+ community."

Pfeil, an openly Bisexual, 30-year Kenmore resident who was elected to serve on its City Council in 2019, brings the work she does at the NLC back to her city. During her first year serving on the City Council, she became a member of the Association of Washington Cities, which she described as a path to working with the NLC.

Members who serve on the Federal Policy Committee on Human Development focus on developing policies and advocating for issues such as those that affect people with disabilities, employment and workforce development, immigration reform, and public healthcare, among others.

"Everything we do in development is the glue that holds the society together," Pfeil said. "You name it — it's jam-packed. It's everything our society relies upon to hold us up and [get] us through."

Pfeil mentioned that the Federal Policy Committee on Human Development responds to issues at the federal level in the state Senate and the House of Representatives, to ensure that there is future funding for things such as infrastructure.

"We're fighting for our local municipalities to ensure that the funding will be there to pull us through hard times, or the funding will be there for the programs we rely upon," Pfeil said.

The LGBTQ+LO Committee, established in 1993, is made up of people who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, or those who are allies. Its goals are to share ideas on best practices in order to develop policy and leadership experience. The LGBTQ+LO Committee meets several times per year; the executive board — which Pfeil recently applied to and is waiting to hear back from — meets monthly.

"We acknowledge that parts of the US have more advancement in policy, like the state of Washington or New York, but there are areas that don't," Pfeil said. "There are municipalities in North Carolina or Georgia that have different values and policy positions, and it's hard. That impacts everything from the ability to get a house, rental conditions, or a rental unit to live in independently safely, to being out and open in your community."

Pfeil brought up how some areas in the United States still use a "green book," which lists places that are LGBTQ+ inclusive. A few examples of green book lists include LGBTQ+-friendly hotels, shops, and restaurants.

"We look forward to the positive side of things, helping our local municipalities work through those issues," Pfeil said. "Not many municipalities actually have a solid policy on nondiscrimination. And Kenmore is one that will be adopting an ordinance in the future."

Pfeil described how she fought hard to move the issue of diversity, equity, and inclusion on the Kenmore City Council's list of priorities since she began serving.

"It took six months of pointing [to] issues that occurred in our community," Pfeil said. "We're almost a year into developing the framework after adopting a resolution and other formed policy and position statements, so I'm real proud of that work, and I'm really proud of our council for leaning into this."

A major focus of Pfeil's is to minimize and close all opportunity gaps, whether related to the LGBTQ+ community, seniors, disabled communities, or others. Her background as humanitarian and a behavioral science social-services specialist allows her to find comfort in the work she does with the NLC, and she's currently attending night school in order to obtain her public health degree.

"For [the] LGBTQ+LO work that we are doing, there's not a whole lot of LGBTQ leaders or even Two Spirit leaders who are out and open and involved in politics. And so if you are a member of the community and you're part of this committee, board, or even an ally, it's important to show others in our community that you can live life out loud," Pfeil said.

"You can have a place in leadership and be successful and be welcomed into that space, and the work we do together creates better opportunities for... future generations... That inspires our youth and makes things better for our seniors, and it's beautiful, lovely work."