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June 06, 1974 - Image 8

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1974-06-06

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Page Eight

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Thursday, June 6, 1974

Kozachenko: Radical council voice

By CHERYL PILATE
Councilwoman Kathy Koza-
chenko, clad in a white blazer
and faded bluejeans, took the
oath of office this April with a
raised fist. This gesture elicit-
ed cheers of support from
members of the city's gay com-
munity who had appeared en
masse at the City Council meet-
ing to voice support for their
lesbian sister.
Demonstrating her "continu-
ing commitment to struggle" at
each subsequent council meet-
ing, Kozachenko silently re-
mains seated during the Pledge
of Allegiance because "what it
says about liberty and justice is
not true in this country."
AT 21, Kozachenko is the
second - youngest member of
City Council and, since April,
the sole representative of HfRP
on the 10-member body.
Elected by a razor - thin
margin from the student-domi-
nated Second Ward where her
only opposition came from a
liberal Democrat, she ran on a
platform that advocated com-
munity of the police force, im-
plementation of an HRP-spon-
sored anti - rape program, and
increased funding of the city's
social services.
Kozachenko, who is the first
woman in the country ever
elected to city council after run-
ning openly as a lesbian, em-
phasized gay and feminist is-
sues in the early stages of her
campaign.
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A L T H O U G H she pro-
claimed herself a radical les-
bian in her first campaign
leaflet, Kozachenko did not
view her sexual preference as a
campaign issue, but rather as a
statement of her overall politi-
cal perspective.
"I thought it important that
the voters be aware of my po-
litical philosophy as well as my
stInd on particular issues," she
explains. "I am actively com-
mitted to the needs of gays,
svomen, blacks and other mi-
nority groups."
An advocate of a socialist
economy, Kozachenko con-
demns the "present political
system which supports capital-
ism over human beings and puts
real power in the hands of a
very few."
WHEN SHE first joined HRP
three years ago, Kozachenko's
politics were closely aligned
with the "Chocolate Almond
Caucus," the most radical, ide-
ologically - oriented faction of
the party.
Although she still espouses a
leftist viewpoint, Kozachenko is
not one to let rigid adherence
to ideology jeopardize a poten-
tial friendship or a political
deal.
Acknowledging that as the
only HRP member on council
she "obviously can't affect a
whole helluva lot," Kozachenko
realizes that compromising is
often her only alternative.
THIS WAS evidenced in Koza-
chenko's recent "deal" with
Republican Mayor James Ste-
phenson when she offered to
support the city millage -
which HRP had previously op-
posed because the party felt
not enough city funds were al-
located to social services - if
$20,000 slated for city vehicles
was transferred to programs for
youth and the aged.

SINCE APRIL'S elections, Kathy Kozachenko (HRP-Second Ward) has served as the Human
Rights Party's only representative on City Council. Kozachenko, who terms herself a radical les-
bian, says she ran to bring a feminist perspective to city politics.

The former antagonism and
bitter debates that formerly
characterized the relationship
between HRP and the Republi-
cans is now largely absent. Ko-
zachenko's congenial, straight-
forward manner, which was one
of her greatest assets during
the campaign, is also evident in
dealings with her conservative
colleagues.
When a fellow HRP member

celebrated her birthday in the
council chambers prior to the
Monday night session, Koza-
chenko offered a piece of the
non-partisan birthday cake to
Republican Councilman John
McCormick a n d Democratic
Councilman Jamie Kenworthy.
"T H E Y ACTUALLY like
me," she says with an amused
laugh.
Although her main commit-
ment right now now rests with
HRP, Kozachenko's long range
plans focus almost exclusive-
ly on feminist concerns.
"I'm not looking forward to
a lengthy career in politics -
what I would really like to do
is start a radical feminist jour-
nal somewhere," she says. "Al-
though I believe it is impera-
tive that women - especially
strong feminists - run for pub-

lic office, I still feel the need
for women to organize separate-
ly."
CURRENTLY serving as
chairperson of the County Ad-
visory Committee on the Sta-
tus of Women, Kozachenko
cites the need for sweeping
changes in a society where "wo-
men are treated as ornaments."
"Feminism to me means
revolution," she declares. "By
being a strong feminist and an
'out-of-the-closet lesbian on
council, I hope to challenge
some of society's hard and fast
stereotypes."
While on council, Kozachenko
hopes to do some speaking both
to school and community groups
about gayness and also "to
reach out to all the women who
normally take no interest ,in
politics."
See KOZACHENKO, Page 9

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JUNE 6-8 ,........... 10 A.M.-8 P.M.
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Judy Manos/Willis Patterson/Don Gillis
June 6, 7, 8/POWER CENTER/8 p.m.
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