September 28, 2007

HRC Steps Up Their Political Presence

The Human Rights Campaign, an organization I am a proud member of, has taken some important steps to become a factor in the 2008 political campaigns. From The Advocate:

The Human Rights Campaign marked a first in its history this month when it opened a campaign office in Concord, N.H. -- a central hub for presidential candidates on the campaign trail.

Though the move attracted little attention nationally, the ceremony drew about 100 people, including HRC members, staffers from the Obama, Edwards, and Clinton campaigns among others, and key state politicians such as Ray Buckley, the New Hampshire Democratic Party chair. State senate president Sylvia Larsen presented an official proclamation welcoming HRC into the mix.

The organization has also hired a full-time organizer and political operative, Heather Gibson, to help coordinate the efforts of LGBT groups and HRC members on the ground in New Hampshire.

National field director Marty Rouse said the move is part of a protracted campaign by HRC to have a presence in key states where the group can have an impact both locally and nationwide.

“We can’t be in all 50 states,” said Rouse, “so our goal has been to look across the country and see where we can be helpful in moving forward a GLBT agenda that, while important to the community members in that one state, also might have national implications.” He estimated that HRC would pour upward of $50,000 into New Hampshire during the primaries alone.

HRC has also been actively working in Iowa with One Iowa, the state's LGBT civil rights organization. In June they launched a campaign there to highlight the military contributions of LGBT soldiers called the Legacy of Service Tour, which received press coverage by most of the state's local TV affiliates, the Des Moines Register, and the Associated Press.

HRC also corralled 50 volunteers on September 16 to the 30th annual Harkin Steak Fry -- Iowa’s compulsory event for Democratic presidential candidates.

“Every single presidential campaign saw us and we have pictures of them holding up our T-shirts,” said Rouse. “What we’re trying to do is increase the LGBT visibility in these campaigns so the candidates know that they need to address our issues.”

Kudos to the HRC for being proactive, even aggressive in putting their message, quite literally, in front of candidates and voters. The $50,000 committed to New Hampshire might seem like a lot, but it's not. It means the HRC efforts will strongly rely on volunteers contributing a lot of sweat equity to get the message of GLBT equality out.

I usually don't do this here, but I want to encourage my readers to consider supporting the HRC, either by volunteering, donating, or both. They are trying very hard to make a difference in this nation's political landscape and deserve your support.

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