Six Victory Fund candidates upgraded to DLCC Essential Races

Today, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee in coordination with Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund announced six Victory Fund-endorsed candidacies were upgraded to DLCC 2016 Essential Races. The joint endorsement highlights the critical importance of these six races in key legislative chamber battlegrounds and in furthering equality everywhere.

The six Victory Fund-endorsed candidates added to the DLCC 2106 Essential Races include: Jane Campbell, North Carolina House District 98; Tommy Greene, Ohio House District 16; Daniel Hernandez, Arizona House District 2; Stephen Skinner, West Virginia Senate District 16; Beth Tuura, Florida House District 47; and Jennifer Webb, Florida House District 69.

Read the full release here.

Learn more about Victory Fund’s 2016 Spotlight Races.

 

Denise Juneau’s opponent booed after saying being a lesbian is a choice

Denise Juneau squared off against opponent Ryan Zinke in a debate full of hot topics – but the most memorable moment came as the crowd booed Zinke for saying being a lesbian is a choice.

Throughout the debate, Denise shined and Zinke sunk, especially when asked how the two would work to protect LGBT rights. Denise received applause after saying, “That’s an awesome answer for me. No. 1, get elected.” She then highlighted she would be the first Congresswoman from Montana since 1941, the first Native American woman ever in Congress, and the first LGBT person elected to Congress from Montana. Denise closed her statement saying “representation matters.”

Zinke’s response, on the other hand, received jeers from the crowd. While stating his support for freedom of religion, he said: “It’s not my right to dictate how you think or what you do. And so I do support you (Juneau)… if you want to be lesbian, if you want to be Muslim, it doesn’t matter. You have the right to be you.” His response, implying Denise chose to be a lesbian, drew boos and groans from the audience.

We could not agree with Denise more. Representation does matter. And we need more voices like Denise’s in Congress – in part to stop the kind of ignorance Zinke demonstrated last night.

Help Denise Juneau's campaign fight back with a direct gift >>

Reminder: John Bradford voted to siphon $500K of disaster relief money to pay for HB2

As a storm approaches the Carolinas, Victory Fund, Equality NC and Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic remind the residents of North Carolina House District 98 that Rep. John Bradford not only bragged about being an architect of the state's discriminatory House Bill 2, he also voted to siphon $500,000 from the state's disaster relief budget in order to defend it court. 

By contrast, Victory Fund candidate Jane Campbell was inspired to run after learning of Bradford's role in writing, introducing and passing HB2. Read more about Jane at ThinkProgress

Here's our full joint statement: 

Charlotte, NC – State Rep. John Bradford voted for a bill to strip $500,000 from the state’s Emergency Response and Disaster Relief Fund to cover legal fees from HB2 – the bill he championed – despite dire warnings from NC State researchers this hurricane season would be significantly more active. As North Carolina braces for tropical storm or hurricane conditions with potentially devastating consequences for eastern and central parts of the state, it is important to remember the devastating consequences of HB2 on the state’s disaster relief budget.

 

John Bradford raided the state’s emergency response and disaster relief budget to clean-up the manmade disaster he created by drafting, sponsoring and voting for HB2. His legislative incompetence is costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands in legal fees, damaging the state’s reputation and economy, and under resourcing its disaster relief efforts as Hurricane Matthew barrels toward the shore. Bradford’s short-sightedness led him to remove $500,000 from the fund that will assist residents and rebuild cities in a hurricane’s aftermath. He was playing politics when he stripped the civil rights of North Carolinians by supporting HB2, and then stripped the disaster relief budget of precious resources to pay for his catastrophic mistake. 

The Emergency Response and Disaster Relief Fund’s $10 million budget was reduced by five percent as a result of the vote by Rep. John Bradford and his colleagues.

_________________

Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund works to change the face and voice of America’s politics and achieve equality for LGBT Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBT elected officials at all levels of government.

victoryfund.org

Equality North Carolina

Equality NC is dedicated to securing equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) North Carolinians.

equalitync.org

Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic

Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic (PPVSAT) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. Fortifying our commitment to protect access to health care for all, educate teens, and prevent unintended pregnancies, PPVSAT engages in educational and electoral activity, including public education campaigns, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.

ppvotessouthatlantic.org

Help Jane Campbell fight back with a contribution directly to her campaign >>

Victory Fund's Aisha Moodie-Mills disappointed LGBT issues not addressed during VP debate

Vice Presidential Debate

After tonight's Vice Presidential Debate with Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, Victory Fund President & CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills released the following statement:

“Mike Pence has made a career of singling out LGBT people for discrimination, and it is disappointing tonight’s debate did not address his long record of using public office to advance his backward views,” said Victory Fund President & CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills. “Pence opposes recognition of our relationships, opposes LGBT soldiers serving openly in the military, and opposes prohibiting restaurants and other businesses from refusing service to LGBT customers. It is important the Trump campaign’s extremist anti-LGBT positions be exposed in future debates – along with its attacks on women, immigrants, Latinos, Muslims, and veterans recovering from war. Their entire campaign has been built on fear and bigotry, and we believe voters will reject their attempts to turn back the clock on progress."

Victory Fund endorses 21 more LGBT candidates

Victory Fund Endorsee

Today we announced the endorsement of 21 more LGBT candidates from across the nation. This election cycle, we have endorsed 166 candidates from all levels of government – including school boards, state legislatures and the U.S. Congress.

“Our latest slate of endorsed candidates are qualified and viable leaders who will champion LGBT equality, while also addressing the issues most important to their constituents,” said Victory Fund President & CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills. “LGBT elected officials move equality forward by humanizing our lives and influencing their colleagues, so it is critical we elect these leaders up and down the ballot in November.”

The list of newly endorsed candidates is below. See a complete list of Victory Fund endorsed candidates this cycle, including our Spotlight candidates.

Endorsed Candidates

Rachael Booth, New Hampshire House of Representatives, District 15

Greg Ford, Wake County Commission, District 6 (NC)

Sue Fulton, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders (NJ)

Kathy Gillespie, Washington House of Representatives, District 18 (WA)

Grace Hanlon, New York State Supreme Court, 8th Judicial District

Joe Huftel, Wisconsin State Assembly, District 75

Thomas Lister-Looker, Palm Springs Unified School District (CA)

Jason Morgan, Washtenaw County Commission, District 8 (MI)

Bao Nguyen, US House of Representatives (CA-46)

Samuel Park, Georgia House of Representatives, District 101

Alex Randolph, San Francisco Community College Board Trustee (CA)

Richard Renner, Pioneer Township Supervisor (MI)

Marti Smith, Jefferson County Commissioner, District 1 (CO)

Paul Southwick, Oregon House of Representatives, District 37

Les Zendle, Director, Desert Healthcare District, Palm Springs (CA)

Billie Joe Wright, Anaheim Elementary School District Board of Trustees, Trustee Area 1 (CA)

Endorsed Incumbents

Mike Bonin, Los Angeles City Council, District 11 (2017 election cycle)

Ed Butler, New Hampshire State House, District 7

Chris Clark, Mountain View City Council (CA)

Cathy Connolly, Wyoming State House, District 13

Gary Miller, Roseville City School Board (CA)

Since 1991, Victory Fund has helped thousands of openly LGBT candidates win local, state and federal elections.

Pierce forced to apologize after appalling domestic violence comments

Above: Dr. Bud Pierce at a gubernatorial debate held in Portland on Friday, September 30. (Youtube/John Tierney)

Update on 10/5/16: Bud Pierce's spokeswoman Stacey Kafka resigned citing his comments, according to the AP. Read more >>

At the second debate last Friday between Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and opponent Bud Pierce, Pierce stated that educated women and women with good jobs are less susceptible to domestic violence.

“A woman that has a great education and training and a great job is not susceptible to this kind of abuse by men, women or anyone,” Pierce said of domestic violence.

The comment immediately drew boos from the audience in Portland. Pierce later apologized to Gov. Brown and the public.

You can view the clip of Pierce’s comments here.

Before Pierce’s statement, Gov. Brown revealed she had been the victim of domestic violence in a past relationship. She also discussed her advocacy on behalf of survivors of violence throughout her career.

“I know what it feels like to represent clients who can’t get restraining orders on abusive partners,” Brown said. “That’s why I spent a number of years in the Oregon Legislature strengthening Oregon’s domestic violence and sexual assault laws, including increasing penalties for domestic violence when a child was present, including getting the first general fund dollars ever for domestic violence shelters.”

Brown is the nation’s first openly bisexual governor and has shepherded several major reforms – from voting rights to LGBT rights to the minimum wage – during her short tenure.

 

 

Sierra Club and Victory Fund release joint statement criticizing Florida Rep. Kathleen Peters

Mosaic Sinkhole

Today Sierra Club and Victory Fund released a joint statement criticizing Florida state Representative Kathleen Peters for her hypocritical response to an environmental disaster in Florida, which has spilled hundreds of millions of gallons of toxic water into the Floridan aquifer. Peters, who is running against Victory Fund and Sierra Club endorsed candidate Jennifer Webb, is calling for "transparency" after the disaster, in the form of legislation to require the public be notified of an environmental disaster within 24 hours. While notifying the public is important, the statement is critical of her call for transparency given her voting record favoring big fracking companies, and making it more difficult for the public to learn about the toxic chemicals they use. A notification period also does nothing to prevent future disasters like Mosaic.

Read the entire joint statement:

 

  

STATEMENT FROM SIERRA CLUB AND GAY & LESBIAN VICTORY FUND

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hypocrisy Alert:

Kathleen Peters Calls for Band-Aid Environmental Transparency, But Shields Polluters from Accountability

Mosaic, Oil and Gas Fracking Companies Among Kathleen’s Biggest Contributors

Earlier this week, State Rep Kathleen Peters said she’ll sponsor legislation to require public notification of contamination to our environment within 24 hours.  Her announcement was triggered by the discovery that Mosaic’s phosphate pit was spewing hundreds of millions of gallons of radioactive water into the Floridan aquifer, a water source for 10 million people, including Pinellas county and the city of St. Pete. The company waited three weeks before telling anyone.

Now, Kathleen Peters is calling for transparency after an environmental disaster – but she’s voted repeatedly to allow unfettered fracking in Florida – an oil and gas extraction process that can cause sinkholes like the Mosaic disaster and earthquakes. Florida’s fragile, shallow limestone subsurface is uniquely vulnerable to sinkhole disasters like mosaic. 

Earlier this year, Peters voted for HB 191, allowing fracking in Florida, and making it illegal for local communities to ban fracking. She also voted for a measure that would have effectively shielded fracking companies by making it difficult for the public to learn about the toxic chemicals used in the fracking process.  She joined with other fracking industry legislators when she voted against several efforts that would have required additional environmental and public health protections that would have forced the fracking industry to study and disclose the impact of fracking chemicals on prenatal health and that would have prevented fracking companies from using carcinogenic chemicals.

Pinellas county is one of the many Florida counties that have banned fracking. Yet Peters voted to allow it anyway, and to ignore the will of the voters by passing a state law that pre-empts their ability to ban fracking.

“Let’s be clear: Kathleen Peters is calling for band-aid transparency, but not accountability,” said David Harbeitner, Political Chair of Sierra Club Suncoast Group. “Her position is essentially that she’s ok with fracking and the inevitably catastrophic environmental damage it can cause as long as the offending companies tell consumers within 24 hours about it afterwards.”

Peters has a cozy relationship with the polluters at the center of the Mosaic disaster and the oil and gas fracking industry. She has directly taken at least $500 from Mosaic’s political committee, the Florida Phosphate Committee. However, her Political Committee, Florida Speaks has taken $25,000 from other political committees directly supported by large contributions from Mosaic and thousands of dollars from the oil and gas industry.

_______________

Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is the nation's largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization.  To learn more about the Suncoast group of the Sierra Club, visit suncoastsierra.org.

Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund works to change the face and voice of America’s politics and achieve equality for LGBT Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBT elected officials at all levels of government. To learn more about Victory Fund, visit victoryfund.org.

LGBT officials in California lead charge to cut ties with anti-LGBT states

Above: Assembly Member Evan Low (left) and Supervisor Scott Wiener 

Two separate measures introduced by a California Assembly member and a San Francisco supervisor restricting the use of government dollars to pay for discrimination advanced Tuesday.

AB 1887 prohibits the use of state money to pay for travel to states that don’t allow local governments to protect LGBT people from discrimination. Introduced by openly gay Assembly Member Evan Low, a Victory Fund candidate, the bill was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday.

From ThinkProgress:

AB 1887 doesn’t target any specific state, but lays out in detail whether a state will be impacted. Travel is forbidden to any state that has passed a law that explicitly discriminates against LGBT people, or that has passed a law voiding or repealing state or local protections for LGBT people. It requires the Attorney General to maintain a list of the states that would qualify.

Currently, the law would impact at least three states. The most obvious is North Carolina, because HB2 both voids local LGBT protections and mandates discrimination against transgender people when it comes to what facilities they can use. Also guaranteed to be on the list, however, would be Tennessee and Arkansas, two other states that have “preemption” laws prohibiting municipalities from extending nondiscrimination protections beyond what’s available at the state level, thus voiding any city or county ordinances protecting sexual orientation and gender identity.

In San Francisco Tuesday, openly gay Supervisor – and state senate candidate – Scott Wiener’s legislation to bar the city from doing business with states that don’t allow LGBT protections passed the Board of Supervisors unanimously.

Board of Supervisors just passed my legislation making SF 1st city in country to ban contracting with states that pass anti-#LGBT hate laws.

— Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) September 27, 2016

“I’m proud that our city is stepping out and being a leader in this fight,” said Wiener in a statement. “I hope other jurisdictions follow suit and send a clear message that these laws have no place in our country.”

Both measures are the first of their kind, though many governors and mayors have issued executive orders to the same effect.

Despite California’s liberal reputation, progress for the LGBT community has been hard-fought and relatively recent. The documentary Political Animals recounts the difficulties faced by the first four LGBT legislators in the state – all Victory candidates – when fighting for LGBT equality. 

LCV to invest $1 million in defeating Jason Lewis and other climate change deniers

Angie Craig

The League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund (LCV) will spend $1 million to defeat two congressmen with terrible records on environmental issues. The effort will target, Jason “Mini-Trump” Lewis,  the opponent of Victory-endorsed candidate Angie Craig. Jason Lewis has a long record of ignoring facts, science and evidence and peddling outlandishly false claims on climate change.  The race remains close less than two months before the election.

While Angie vows to address climate change and create renewable energy jobs, Lewis claims one “nasty winter” is evidence climate change is not real, and is critical of plans to move toward renewable energy. But his ignorance extends well-beyond climate change. Lewis has called young women “non-thinking” because of their support for abortion and marriage equality, said trans students using bathrooms is an “abomination,” and implied slavery should be legal and that he would be fine with it.

"Lewis is the spitting image of a 'mini-Trump', and makes the same sorts of outlandish claims,” said LCV’s Clay Schroers. “We're ready to bring the fight against climate science denial and Big Polluters allies to the House, and are committed to defeating these two candidates.”

View a list frightening statements by Jason “Mini-Trump” Lewis.

Contribute to Angie’s campaign >>

Latest poll shows huge increase in support for U.S. Senate candidate Jim Gray

Jim Gray

A new poll shows Victory-endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Jim gray gaining significant ground in his race against Senator Rand Paul –further indication this is the sleeper race of the 2016 election cycle. A Babbage Cofounder Pulse Poll found Jim just seven points behind Paul, a tremendous 12 point gain since an early August poll showed Jim 19 points behind. Significantly, 42 percent of Kentucky voters remain undecided despite Paul’s strong name recognition, and these voters are gravitating toward Jim’s problem-solving Kentucky-focused message.

Meanwhile, Paul continues to hide from Kentucky voters. Jim has called on Paul to “come out of the closet” and participate in a debate on the issues important to Kentuckians – which he has so far refused to do. Paul knows Jim is better on the issues voters care about, and that his substantive policy solutions resonate. Paul’s weak support in the poll demonstrates that voters have soured on Paul’s failed Senate term. They’ll remember Paul didn’t do his job while he spent months campaigning across the country on a spectacularly failed bid for the presidency. It’s time for new leadership. Gray’s appeal has been pitch perfect for Kentucky voters and we look forward to calling him the next U.S. Senator from Kentucky.

Contribute to Jim’s campaign >> 

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