“People underestimate their capacity for change. There is never a right time to do a difficult thing. A leader’s job is to help people have vision of their potential.” John Porter quotes

By at October 12, 2012 | 6:54 am | 0 Comment

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Political Party Time Candidate Fundraisers Feed – Sunlight Foundation

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Polling Place Information by the Voter Information Project – New Organizing Institute

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Lady Gaga visits the White House to discuss bullying prevention

By at December 11, 2011 | 3:25 pm | 0 Comment

By Beth Marlowe, Washington Post

Little Monsters, rejoice! Pop superstar Lady Gaga will visit the White House Tuesday to discuss anti-bullying initiatives with member of the Obama administration.



President Obama was not home to meet the fashion icon—he was in Kansas on Tuesday afternoon to give a major economic speech,so Gaga (real name Stefani Germanotta) met with staffers from the Office of Public Engagement to discuss how to end bullying, which the administration has said affects 13 million U.S. students.

The issue isn’t new to either the Obama administration or to the pop singer. Earlier this year, the White House hosted a conference on bullying, and Gaga has often spoken publicly against bullying.

She did so again in September when 14-year-old student and Gaga fan Jamey Rodemeyer committed suicide after being bullied for his sexuality. Gaga tweeted, “It is hard to feel love when cruelty takes someones life….Bullying must become illegal. It is a hate crime. I am meeting with our President. I will not stop fighting. This must end.”

No word yet on what Gaga, who’s famous for pushing the sartorial envelope, wore to the White House, but we’re guessing she left themeat dress at home


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How To Live In Washington D.C.

By at July 17, 2011 | 11:19 am | 0 Comment


July. 17, 2011

By Clarissa Ramon

Recently moved to DC to pursue a career in politics from my hometown of San Antonio Texas.

Get accepted into a “competitive” fellowship or internship or entry level lobbying position – whatever. Think this is it: it’s only a matter of time before you are saving the world (or securing a “real” job). Look on Craigslist for an apartment… see that the price of a one bedroom condo by the Capitol is $2700.00. Silently squeal to yourself. Look farther way. Google Shaw-Howard. Look closer. Spend 2 weeks scouring Craigslist, emailing friends and distant cousins. Find a bedroom in a house in Maryland, or a couch with a friend in Columbia Heights. It doesn’t matter, you’re moving to DC.

Spend the first few nights getting to know your fellow fellows, classmates, or co-workers. Ride the metro for the first time in your life. Go the wrong direction. Have people from NYC scoff at you for being confused. Go to Adams Morgan and be surrounded by the exact same crowd as college. Take too many shots, eat at the McDonalds with a security guard and cab it back to safety. Look at your bank account and realize you’ve spent $200 that week on tennis shoes, a plastic drawer set, pad thai, metro fares, cabs, alcohol, brunch, an umbrella, Tylenol, toothpaste and a new suit. Silently kick yourself.

Learn to take the bus. Put yourself on a budget. Visit Safeway and realize that you can’t stuff your trunk with a month’s worth of Ramen noodles and Capri Suns. Buy a goofy cart, fill it with groceries, try to include something healthy. Realize you’ve lost 10 lbs from walking so much. It’s the end of summer and your shirt is sticking to your back and your feet are swollen. Think about how you would do terrible things to get access to a rooftop pool.

Visit the Holocaust Museum. Cry.

Make friends fast. Everyone is friendly. Everyone is from somewhere else. They are away from home for the first time like you, or coming from a 6 year grad/law school program where they helped with AIDS research. Whoa, people are smart in DC. Clutch your B.A. in Political Science, or Government, or History, or Women’s Studies for dear life. Drink with Republicans. Make out with Liberals. See more diversity than you ever have in your entire life living back home.

Have your first day on the “Hill.” Realize that people come here for very different reasons. There is someone on the other side, from the other “party” who exists solely to combat everything you believe in. Spend half your time answering phones, meeting people for coffee, getting recommendations from others about how you just have to talk to so and so. Email them for coffee. Realize you probably have an addiction. File paperwork, run errands, respond to letters, work late. Think how recess is the best thing ever. Give a tour. Bullshit your way through. Realize that your 8th grade history needs to be refreshed. Who put people like you in charge? Realize that the people “in charge” are in the committee room next to you. Walk past John Boehner. Realize you have absolutely nothing to say to John Boehner.

Go to a “networking” event. Drink too much wine and eat too many hors d’oeuvres. Listen to the person speaking incessantly about themselves and what they do. Want to punch them. Want to jump out the window. Leave feeling defeated. After meeting 100 new contacts and handing out dozens of cards, realize you have not had a substantial conversation in what feels like days. (Later, after your 37th reception, you have perfected it to a science. Drink 1 and half glasses of wine, skip the food, collect 5 cards, leave early and go to a bar.)

Have nights where you have absolutely nothing to do. Feel lonely. Call home. Skype with a friend. Wonder what the hell you ever came to DC for.

Pass by a homeless person on the way to the metro. Realize that for being the capitol of the country, there is a lot of disparity. Read about the poor education system. Notice that most of the Senate staffers are white. All of the service workers are not. Feel disconnected to the reason you came here. Get frustrated with D.C. traffic, slow metros, bad neighborhoods, expensive cost of living, and overall insanity. Wonder if going through a metal detector everyday is healthy for you. Feel guilty and powerless. You are not saving the world. You have not found a job.

Realize that you are among your peers. Even though you are surrounded by people of privilege, you still feel like you’re in the right place. Have your party lose the house and have you’re world flipped upside down. Life here is cyclical. Parties switch. Power shifts. Become jaded with politics. Wonder if you even matter, if anyone’s work even makes a difference. Read a bill that you helped draft. Think you just helped save a tiny piece of the world.

Work with different types of people. Feel pressured to get more education. Realize that people here are just the same as the ones back home, just better at hiding it. They creep slowly into debt, live in places like Rossyln or Silver Spring and try to live off $30 K a year whilst paying for $30 brunches. Meet lots of douchey law students or worse: pre-law students. Go to a rooftop party. Visit an apartment that costs more than your parents house. Go to the W and sneak onto the rooftop. Drink $20 jack and cokes. Hate yourself. Party with people from Chicago, LA, and Texas. Meet people who intern at the White House. Become annoyed with people who intern at the White House. Your 8 months here have made you more judgmental. Become less trusting.

Gain back the 10 lbs you lost and then some over winter. See snow for the first time or the 25th time. Get a winter boo. Lose the winter boo. Go on dates, meet people, hook-up. End your pseudo relationship back home. See couples on the street and stare at them like zoo animals. Everyone is too young for that here. Not really, just more self involved. Question your life path. Consider letting pseudo girlfriend/boyfriend visit. Discuss relationships and sex with your new girlfriends/guyfriends over Ben’s Chili Bowl at 3:00 am after a night of debauchery. Stop questioning your life path.

Get invited to a gala or staff your boss at an event. See people you only see on Huffington Post, New York times or CNN up close. Realize you are in the center of it all. Hear the President speak. See the crowd move. Shake his hand. Stare at hand. Call your parents.

Pause on a beautiful spring day. Smell the cherry blossoms. Think: Damn, I live in D.C.


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Newest Congresswoman supports marriage equality

By at July 13, 2011 | 7:34 am | 0 Comment

July 13, 2011 / Denis Dison Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund


Janice Hahn, a member of the Los Angeles City Council, won a special election last night to represent California’s 36th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, beating Craig Huey, a tea party-style Republican who opposes marriage equality and abortion rights.

Hahn’s campaign Web site lists her positions on LGBT issues:

Janice Hahn has always been a staunch supporter of equal rights for all Americans, and has always strongly believed that every person should have the right to marry whoever he or she chooses. She stood up against Proposition 8 and has supported efforts to overturn it, is strongly against the Defense of Marriage Act, and is proud of President Obama’s effort to do away with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. When she goes to Congress, Janice will be a fighter for the LGBTQ community and will do everything she can to ensure equality for all Americans.


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“A man is morally free when, in full possession of his living humanity, he judges the world, and judges other men, with uncompromising sincerity.” George Santayana

By at July 4, 2011 | 9:59 am | 0 Comment


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Happy New Fiscal Year!

By at July 1, 2011 | 9:56 pm | 0 Comment

July 1st, 2011

Fiscal Year 2011 is coming to a close in 46 states.  Many of those states have budgets for FY2012 firmly in place, but some do not, including MinnesotaMassachusetts and New Jersey.  Check out the individual state pages for covereage, and get the latest news on budget happenings around the country from

Getting Schooled


Happy new fiscal year from Fredericksburg

OK. So, the start of a new fiscal year may not sound exciting to you. However, this fiscal year could spur some nostalgia given the wave of Spotsylvania school employees who just left and have left over the past two years.

At the next School Board meeting – on July 11 – there will be a number of new faces on the dais, staring out at the public. There will be a new superintendent, a new clerk of the board and new assistant superintendents sitting there. Plus, in the back will be the new schools spokeswoman.

And, of course, that’s not to mention the number of new people in the buildings. The county said good-bye to a number of people including the principals at Courtland High and Robert E. Lee Elementary.

I understand there were some emotional good-byes yesterday as careers came to a close, or perhaps, began a new chapter.

So, happy new year to those arriving and remaining, and best wishes to all who recently left.

By Pamela Gould on July 1st, 2011 9:51 am

Happy New (Fiscal) Year from Arkansas!

June 28, 2011 By Shelley Keith Leave a Comment

June 30: it’s a Thursday. It’s the end of the month. And, for many of us, it’s also the last day of the higher ed fiscal year , that time when many of us hear from budget managers that there are “leftover” funds that we must use by July 1 or lose forever. What to do?

Allow us to make a suggestion: register to attend HighEdWeb Arkansas.

The HighEdWeb Arkansas regional conference on July 21-22 offers three tracks totaling 15 fantastic sessions, a conference-wide panel discussion, a lunch keynote, and two pre-conference workshops featuring amazing presenters from Arkansas and all over the country. As well, two social events (perfect for networking with your regional peers) are also included in your registration fee. And that fee? Only $35 for a one-day registration or $60 for both days; a great value!

Register today to make the most of those “use or lose” year end funds, and join us in Arkansas for HighEdWeb AR! Alternately, if your new budget year goes into effect after July 1, don’t forget to take advantage of renewed professional development monies before the July 8th registration deadline.

Get Connected

Be sure to connect with us as we move closer to #hewebar11


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Cicilline Among Only Freshmen to Join Democratic House Leadership In Unveiling the “Make It In America” Jobs Agenda

By at May 18, 2011 | 1:32 am | 0 Comment

May 5, 2011 Issues: Economy and Jobs
Cicilline Among Only Freshmen to Join Democratic House Leadership  In Unveiling the “Make It In America” Jobs Agenda

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, U.S. Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) joined House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) and House Democrats in unveiling the “Make It In America” jobs agenda for the 112th Congress, a plan to support job creation today and in the future by encouraging businesses to innovate and make products in the US and sell them to the world by strengthening our infrastructure and supporting investments in key areas like education and energy innovation. This effort builds on House Democrats’ actions to create jobs and continue growing the economy and focuses on investing in key priorities while cutting wasteful spending.

Congressman Cicilline’s Make it in America Block  Grant proposal has been included in House Democrats’ “Make It In America” agenda. His proposal is among the only Freshmen Democratic legislative policies to be included in this jobs plan.

Cicilline’s proposal would establish a federal grant program at the Commerce Department to provide funding to small manufacturers in communities hardest hit by unemployment to help them re-tool and train their workforce to transition into the manufacturing of clean energy, high-technology, and advanced products, and increase their exports.

“I’m proud that my proposal is part of the ‘Make It In America’ jobs plan,” said Congressman Cicilline. “’Make It In America’ is based on the belief that when we make more products in America, more families are able to Make It In America. Manufacturing continues to drive our economic recovery and the ‘Make It In America’ agenda is aimed at building on that growth. This jobs plan will strengthen American competitiveness, create jobs and ensure American workers can make it in America.”

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said Congressman Cicilline is strongly committed to supporting small- to medium-sized businesses hit hardest by unemployment. Mr. Hoyer said, “Congressman Cicilline has worked to find ways to ensure manufacturers have the resources and strategies they need to compete and succeed in a new energy economy. His legislation has been included in Democrats’ ‘Make It In America’ agenda which is focused on creating jobs, increasing manufacturing, and supporting small businesses so that we can put people back to work.”

The ‘Make It In America’ agenda unveiled today encompasses a range of issues that all help to create an environment where manufacturers and small businesses can expand and create jobs here.

In addition to the Make it in America Block Grant, Congressman Cicilline has co-sponsored several bills that help form the basis of his Six-Point Plan to Rebuild Rhode Island Manufacturing which includes the following:

National Manufacturing Strategy Act(Rep. Lipinski, H.R. 1366): Directs the president to work with industry, labor leaders, and other stakeholders to develop a national strategy to increase manufacturing.

National Infrastructure Development Bank Act (Rep. DeLauro, H.R. 402): Establishes a wholly-owned government corporation to facilitate efficient investments in and financing of infrastructure projects—from leading-edge broadband networks and energy delivery systems to modern ports—that foster economic development and keep America competitive.

Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act(Reps. Levin and Tim Ryan, H.R. 639): Levels the trade playing field by holding accountable countries that create an unfair trade advantage by manipulating their currency

Build American Jobs Act (Rep. Levin, H.R. 922) & Build America Bonds to Create Jobs Now Act (Rep. Connolly, H.R. 11): Extends the Build America Bonds program, provides additional funding for the Recovery Zone bonds program, and makes improvements to existing bond and credit programs to help states and local governments leverage private capital to create jobs today and build the infrastructure that is the backbone of future economic growth.

Security in Energy and Manufacturing (SEAM) Act (Rep. Rothman, H.R. 724):This program, initially created in the Recovery Act, invested $2.3 billion in tax credits for advanced energy manufacturing facilities generating more than 17,000 jobs and incentivizing an additional $5.4 billion in private-sector investment.


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News Corp. To Disclose All Political Donations

By at May 17, 2011 | 11:49 pm | 0 Comment

Eric Lach | May 16, 2011, 9:22AM


Rupert Murdoch

News Corporation’s board of directors has adopted a policy to annually disclose all the company’s political donations. The media giant — which owns Fox News, The Wall Street Journaland 20th Century Fox — made the move quietly on April 12, but it was reported this weekend by the Associated Press. In a statement, the company founded and controlled by Rupert Murdoch said it would make the disclosures on its website.

“News Corporation will post on its web site all corporate political contributions made in the 2011 calendar year by January 16, 2012,” the statement said. “As part of instituting this policy, News Corporation intends to provide transitional disclosure on its web site of all corporate political contributions made from January 2011 through June 2011 by July 15, 2011.”

News Corp. attracted media attention during the 2010 election for two large donations: one to the Republican Governors Association and another to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The New York Times reports that the company’s decision may have been spurred by shareholders who raised concerns at a meeting in October. An executive of one of those shareholders told the Associated Press her foundation was concerned about the value of the donations.

“Our concern was not only that shareholders found out not through the standard decision-making process but through media reports, but more importantly that this was shareholder money that was being used — but it was not being used for a clear rationale for furthering shareholder value,” Laura Campos, director of shareholder activities for the Nathan Cummings Foundation, said.

At least one News Corp. foe isn’t satisfied with the policy change.

“Unfortunately, the new policy has the style but not the substance of transparency,” Media Matters Executive Vice President Ari Rabin-Havt told the Associated Press. “Filing contribution information in the next calendar year in no way meets standards of disclosure. The public deserves to be informed about News Corp.’s financial backing of candidates before an election, so that they can assess for themselves the bias of the coverage they see on Fox News.”


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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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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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