March, 2011

Lady Gaga concert will be used to raise money for Florida Democrats

By at March 23, 2011 | 1:04 am | 4 Comments

March 3rd, 2011
Lady Gaga concert will be used to raise money for Florida Democrats

Washington (CNN) – “I want your love” won’t be the only lyrics rock star Lady Gaga sings from her top ten repertoire but Florida Democrats will be singing right along as they use tickets to her concert as a lure for donors.

The Sunshine state’s Democrats hope to raise funds for its “House Victory 2012″ campaign by selling tickets to Gaga’s April 16 concert in Tampa. That’s according to the St. Petersburg Times.

The newspaper reports that Florida Democrats will also sell luxury box seating for other concerts: a Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks event on March 23; and a Katy Perry concert on June 10. None of the rock stars are directly involved in the political effort.

A spokesman for the Florida Democratic party would not confirm details of the events, but he did tell CNN that it’s not unusual for his political organization to woo donors with tickets to concerts and sporting events.

“This is one of many standard fundraisers we do at sporting events and concerts,” Eric Jotkoff, communications director for the Florida Democratic Party, told CNN.

“The party has purchased tickets for certain events and used that as a fundraising opportunity.”

Jotkoff explained that funds raised will benefit the Florida Democratic Party. One function of the state party is helping to financially support Florida Democrats, including those elected on a federal level.

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OUT TO WIN – Victory Fund’s National Champagne Brunch

By at March 20, 2011 | 11:00 am | 0 Comment

Sunday, March 20

National Champagne Brunch
Washington Hilton, 1919 Connecticut Avenue, Washington, DC 20009
11:00AM – 2:00PM

Join Congressman David Cicilline, Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, and University of Michigan Student Assembly President Chris Armstrong as the Victory Fund celebrates 20 years of success growing the number of openly LGBT leaders in elected office across America.

This event will feature a silent auction showcasing a variety of exciting items, including theatre tickets, gift certificates to great restaurants, and vacation packages.

Buy tickets »
Book a hotel room at the special Victory rate »

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It’s not over after the Victory Champagne brunch! Reception for Hartford’s Gay Mayor Segarra at Hilton

By at March 20, 2011 | 2:00 am | 1 Comments


Please join Victory Campaign Board Member Renée Rosenfeld & Hon. Art Feltman for a reception honoring

Mayor Pedro Segarra of Hartford, CT
Immediately after the Victory Fund National Champagne Brunch
March 20, 2011
2:00 – 3:30PM
TDL Bar   Washington Hilton
1919 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20009
New England’s Latino Gay Mayor

Named to Out Magazine’s 100 Most Compelling People – GLBT Fundraiser in support of Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra of Hartford, CT will take place immediately following the Victory Fund Brunch at the Washington Hilton Hotel. For more information, please RSVP to or just show up.

Mayor Segarra is up for election this fall and needs our support. It is going to be a competitive race and there have alright been hints of homophobic attacks.  The event is a “give what you can” as many of you haven’t met Pedro yet. But, we suggest a $75 contribution.

Please stop by to meet the Mayor and meet a rising star in our community. Details are on the attached invitations. If you can’t attend, I hope you will consider a contribution. You can give online here:

or call

(401) 633-6096 f

Hartford Mayor Pedro E. Segarra (born April 28, 1959) is an American politician of Puerto Rican origin and Mayor of Hartford, Connecticut. Prior to becoming mayor, Segarra was president of Hartford’s City Council. He succeeded former Mayor Eddie Perez who resigned in disgrace after he was convicted by a state Superior Court jury of bribery and extortion in a political corruption case. Segarra, who was sworn in as mayor on June 25, 2010, is Hartford’s second mayor of Puerto Rican ancestry and the first openly gay mayor of the city. He is also the second openly gay mayor of an American state capital city (David Cicilline of neighboring Providence, Rhode Island was the first)


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Hon. Cedric Richmond (LA-02) Reception

By at March 18, 2011 | 7:00 am | 0 Comment

3/18/11 5:30 pm – 3/18/11 7:00 pm
***Hon. Cedric Richmond (LA-02) Reception: Landry’s on the Lake 800 Lakeshore Drive, New Orleans, LA 70122 Contact: Will Griffith or Randy Broz at 202-479-2527 or Contribution: $5000 PAC Host, $2500 PAC Sponsor, $2500 Individual Host, $1000 PAC Guest, $1000 Individual Sponsor, $500 Individual Patron, $250 Individual Guest Committee: Richmond for Congress, 499 S. Capitol St. SW, Suite 422, Washington, DC 20003

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Hon. Linda Sánchez (CA-39) Evening Reception

By at March 16, 2011 | 7:00 am | 0 Comment

3/16/11 5:30 pm – 3/16/11 7:00 pm
Hon. Linda Sánchez (CA-39) Evening Reception: Phoenix Park Hotel 520 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20001 Contact: Kelsey Odom at 202-547-1334 or Contribution: $5000 Chair, $2500 Host, $1000 PAC Committee: Committee to Elect Linda Sánchez, 13416 Telegraph Road, Whittier, CA 90605

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Hon. Betty McCollum (MN-04) Breakfast

By at March 15, 2011 | 10:00 am | 1 Comments

3/15/11 8:30 am – 3/15/11 10:00 am
Hon. Betty McCollum (MN-04) Breakfast: Democratic Club 30 Ivy Street, Washington, DC 20003 Contact: 202-547-0945 or Contribution: $2500 PAC Sponsor, $1000 PAC Host, $500 Individual Committee: Betty McCollum for Congress, P.O. Box 14131, St. Paul, MN 55114

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Hon. Donna Edwards (MD-04)Breakfast

By at March 15, 2011 | 9:30 am | 0 Comment

3/15/11 8:00 am – 3/15/11 9:30 am
Hon. Donna Edwards (MD-04) Transportation and Infrastructure Breakfast with Special Guest Congressman Nick Rahall II: Johnny’s Half Shell: Portrait Gallery 400 North Capitol St. NW, Washington, DC 20001 Contact: Jeremiah Pope at 202-701-5757 or Contribution: $5000 Chair, $2500 Sponsor, $1000 PAC, $500 Individual Committee: Donna Edwards for Congress, P.O. Box 441153, Fort Washington, MD 20749

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Hon. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14) Breakfast

By at March 15, 2011 | 9:30 am | 0 Comment

3/15/11 8:00 am – 3/15/11 9:30 am
Hon. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14) Breakfast 206 D Street SE, Washington, DC 20003 Contact: Carl Silverberg at 202-320-9797 or Contribution: $2500 PAC Sponsor, $1000 PAC Guest, $500 Individual Committee: Maloney for Congress, 110 D Street SE, #312, Washington, DC 20001

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Hon. Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-08) Reception

By at March 15, 2011 | 7:30 am | 0 Comment

3/15/11 5:30 pm – 3/15/11 7:30 pm
Hon. Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-08) Reception: International Brotherhood of Teamsters 25 Louisiana Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001 Contact: Molly Allen or Jaime Gershberg at 202-454-5262 or Contribution: $5000 Maximum PAC contribution, $2500 Maximum Individual contribution Contact the campaign for more details Committee: Giffords for Congress, 209 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20003ero.

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Labor Union Breakfast for Rep. Dan Lipinski

By at March 10, 2011 | 8:15 am | 0 Comment

Labor union breakfast for Rep. Dan Lipinski on Thursday, March 10 at 8:30 a.m. in the Phoenix Park Hotel, 520 North Capitol Street hosted by TTD, the Air Line Pilots, the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists and the United Transportation Union.

Rep. Lipinski serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Science Committee, where he consistently votes with transportation labor.  He supports EFCA and collective bargaining for firefighters, air traffic controllers and Fed Ex employees.  He fights for railroad workers and has voted to reauthorize and increase funding for Amtrak.  Rep. Lipinski has been a staunch proponent of advancing Buy America and he worked to bolster transportation infrastructure funding levels in the Recovery Act.  He voted to protect airline employee pensions and against allowing foreign control of U.S. airlines.  Last month, Rep. Lipinski voted against amendments to the C.R. that would have cut Amtrak funding, defunded the NLRB and eliminated PLAs.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Jeff Larivee at <>  or 202/821-5203.


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Hon. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) Breakfast

By at March 8, 2011 | 10:00 am | 0 Comment

3/8/11 8:30 am – 3/8/11 10:00 am
Hon. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) Breakfast: Charlie Palmer Steak 101 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001 Contact: Sarah Gersten at 847-424-1998 or Contribution: $5000 Chair, $2500 Sponsor, $1000 Host, $500 Guest Committee: Schakowsky for Congress, P.O. Box 5130, Evanston, IL 60204

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Gay legislators having impact in marriage debates

By at March 6, 2011 | 6:05 pm | 2 Comments


By DAVID CRARY The Associated Press updated 3/6/2011 1:52:39 PM

NEW YORK — Of America’s 7,382 state legislators, only 85 are openly gay or lesbian. They are, however, playing an outsized and often impassioned role when the agenda turns to recognizing same-sex couples with civil unions or full marriage rights. In Hawaii and Illinois, gay state representatives were lead sponsors of civil union bills signed into law earlier this year. In Maryland and Rhode Island, gay lawmakers are co-sponsoring pending bills that would legalize same-sex marriage. In New York, a gay senator, Tom Duane, is preparing to be lead sponsor of a marriage bill in his chamber later this session. “For my colleagues, knowing that I am not allowed to marry the person that I love and want to marry, that’s very powerful,” said Duane, a Democrat from Manhattan. “It’s more difficult for them to take for granted the right they have to marry when I don’t have it.” The gay lawmakers have impact in two important ways. Their speeches, often evoking personal themes, can sometimes sway wavering colleagues, and they can forge collegial relationships even with ideological foes through day-to-day professional and social interaction. Rep. Deborah Mell, a Chicago Democrat elected to the state House in 2008, made a point of bringing her partner to legislative functions, and a year ago announced their engagement on the House floor. The fiance, Christin Baker, was on hand when Mell gave an emotional speech Nov. 30 during the civil union debate. One of Mell’s points: Current law would bar doctors from consulting her if Baker, her partner for more than seven years, became seriously ill. “The more visible we are, the better,” Mell said in a telephone interview. “When you look someone in the eyes, it’s a little harder for them to deny that we should have the same rights.”

Also speaking in that debate was Greg Harris, another gay Chicago Democrat, who urged his colleagues to be “on the right side of history.” The vote was 61-52 to allow civil unions, the Senate followed suit a day later, and Gov. Pat Quinn signed the bill into law on Jan. 31. Harris — who is HIV-positive — said last week he felt pressure delivering that floor speech. “What you say or don’t say can win or lose a critical vote,” he said. “There was a palpable sense that one way or the other, history was going to be made and everyone on the floor was going to be remembered for that vote.” 1. Other political news of note 1. Top Senate Democrat rejects GOP’s deep cuts A leading Democrat predicted Sunday that the Senate would reject House Republicans’ deep budget cuts, setting up tense negotiations and the need for another short-term spending measure to keep the government operating. 2. Gay legislators having impact in marriage debates 3. Former pizza chain CEO mulling presidential run 4. What’s fueling health care costs? 5. Anti-abortion plans pose dilemma for GOP In Hawaii, where a civil unions bill was signed into law last month, one of the key players was House Majority Leader Blake Oshiro, a gay Democrat. Oshiro stood up in the closing minutes of the 2010 session to force a House vote on the measure, which was approved but vetoed in July by Republican Gov. Linda Lingle.

In September, Oshiro won a primary election over a former Honolulu councilman who strongly opposed civil unions, then beat a Republican in November — ensuring the bill would re-emerge this year with a supportive Democrat, Neil Abercrombie, taking over as governor. For Oshiro, the key moment was deciding to make a personal plea to members of his Democratic caucus to overcome their doubts and agree to a vote on civil unions in April 2010. “I was thinking I wouldn’t be able to really look in the mirror, knowing I had just let it fade,” he said. “Ultimately, the caucus supported bringing it to the floor, even if some of them didn’t support the bill. “That was my one ‘ask,’” he said. “The governor vetoed it, but it really set the stage for this year.” Hawaii and Illinois are now among seven states that allow civil unions or their equivalent — state-level marriage rights in virtually everything but name.

Five other states and Washington, D.C., let gay couples marry outright, and Maryland and Rhode Island would join that group if pending bills win approval. The Maryland marriage bill cleared the Senate by a 25-21 vote on Feb. 24. The debate included a speech by the chamber’s only openly gay member, Richard Madaleno, citing his partner of 10 years and their two children. “He is my spouse in every sense of the word, but to the law, he remains a legal stranger,” Madaleno said.  Timing is uncertain for a vote in the Maryland House, which has six openly gay members. But freshman lawmaker Mary Washington, a lesbian from Baltimore, has been anticipating the chance to speak in support of the bill. “It will be an important moment in Maryland history,” she said. “I wouldn’t miss the opportunity to speak up, not just for myself but for the many families in Maryland who need protection.”

In Rhode Island, legislation to legalize same-sex marriage has failed in previous years, but advocates are optimistic this year because the new governor, independent Lincoln Chafee, is supportive. One of the bill’s co-sponsors is Democratic House Speaker Gordon Fox, who is gay; he has not yet set a timetable for voting on the bill. “He’s passionate about this issue,” said Kathy Kushnir, executive director of Marriage Equality Rhode Island. “It’s not an abstract issue to him — he’s talking about his life, his family.” Among the bill’s leading foes is the Rhode Island branch of the National Organization for Marriage, headed by Christopher Plante. Plante described Fox as “very pragmatic” and said he clearly has the potential to influence some colleagues during the debate on the bill.

However, Plante asserted that its chances of passage remain questionable, notably in the state Senate. In 2009, New Hampshire’s legislature became the first to legalize same-sex marriage without ever facing pressure from marriage-rights lawsuits. One of the emotional high points of that debate was a speech by Rep. David Pierce, a gay Democrat from Hanover who is raising two daughters with his partner. He described telling his oldest child, 5 at the time, that “some people don’t believe we should be a family.” Afterward, Pierce said, a fellow representative came over to say that the speech prompted him to change his vote in favor of same-sex marriage. After last November’s election, the Democrats became the minority in both chambers, and Republicans proceeded to introduce bills aimed at repealing same-sex marriage. Pierce serves on an election law committee chaired by David Bates, prime sponsor of one of the repeal bills. “We acknowledge we fundamentally disagree on that question,” Pierce said. “But it doesn’t have to dissolve into being uncivil. … We treat each other with as much respect as anybody.”

He said he had only one conversation with Bates on the marriage issue last year, recalling that the Republican had told Pierce not to take the repeal effort personally. “I said, ‘Of course it’s personal. You want to delegitimize my relationship with my partner of 18 years, and my two kids,’” Pierce recalled. Bates, whose repeal bill is now scheduled for consideration next year, said he and Pierce work together well in the Legislature despite “diametrically opposed opinions on marriage.” As for the impact of Pierce’s 2009 speech, Bates said, “It played upon the sympathies of individuals who don’t think the matter through.” According to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which recruits and supports gay political candidates, the number of openly gay and lesbian legislators nationwide has increased from 44 in 2003, when it started counting, to 85.

Chuck Wolfe, the fund’s president, said gay legislators were having an impact even in relatively conservative states where gay marriage has no short-term prospect of winning approval. He cited the example of Arkansas Rep. Kathy Webb, whose heartfelt arguments played a role in the rejection of a bill to bar gays from adopting or foster-parenting. Gay lawmakers “are people, as opposed to issues,” Wolfe said. “The impact of having one of your colleagues directly affected by the legislation on the table is very powerful.”,



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Obama to raise $1M in Florida for Democratic campaigns

By at March 5, 2011 | 1:58 am | 0 Comment

Posted by Mark Knoller

MIAMI — For President Obama, the 2012 campaign begins today.

In Miami this afternoon and evening, he’ll be appearing at two Democratic fundraisers, the first such events to draw his participation in the 2012 political cycle.

At an event at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, and another at a private residence, Mr. Obama will help raise a million dollars to be split between the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the re-election campaign of Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

A DSCC spokesman expects 500 people to attend the two events.

Mr. Obama hasn’t done a fundraising event since October 25th last year, when he appeared at two of them in Rhode Island to benefit the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the state Democratic Victory fund.

Those were the president’s final political money events of the 2010 campaign cycle which proved to be a blow to Mr. Obama, who admits he took “a shellacking” as Democrats lost their majority in the House and seats in the Senate.

Our CBS News tally shows that during the 2010 cycle, Mr. Obama did 97 political fundraisers generating nearly $96 million dollars for the Democratic Party, its campaign committees and candidates.

To amortize the cost of flying the president to Miami for today’s fundraisers, the White House scheduled an official policy event as well. It was arranged for the president to visit Miami Central High School, long-deemed a failing school that is showing signs of turning around with the help of $785,000 in Special Improvement Grants from the U.S. Department of Education. To show the visit was non-partisan, it was arranged for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican, to accompany Mr. Obama on the school visit.

By doing an “official” event during the same trip as political fundraisers, the costs the DSCC and the Nelson campaign must pay to reimburse the government for Mr. Obama’s trip to Miami is significantly reduced, although the White House has yet to disclose the formula it uses to arrive at the amounts to be reimbursed.

Mr. Obama’s predecessors all engaged in the same practice of scheduling “official” events to offset the costs of travelling to political fundraisers.

Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow him on Twitter here:

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