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Ann Arbor plans statue for country's first openly gay person to be elected to public office

Kathy Kozachenko
Bentley Historical Library
University of Michigan
Kathy Kozachenko

The City of Ann Arbor has begun the process of honoring an icon of the LGBTQ community.

When Kathy Kozachenko was elected to Ann Arbor City Council in 1974, she was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in the United States. Next year, during Ann Arbor’s Bicentennial and the 50th anniversary of Kozachenko’s election, the city plans to honor her with a statue and a state historical marker.

The city plans to raise $100,000 for the project.

Travis Radina is a city council member and the Mayor pro-tem.

“Kathy’s election helped pave the way for thousands of openly LGBTQ elected officials in the decades that followed her election, including my own and those of at least 1,185 LGBTQ+ out elected officials currently serving in the United States today.”

Radina points out that Jerry DeGrieck and Nancy Wechslerwere elected to city council the term before Kozachenko, but neither had come out publicly until they were council members.

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Josh Hakala is the general assignment reporter for the WEMU news department.
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