Given his background in politics, where he has worked for a variety of elected officials and campaigns, you wouldn’t guess that Manley Paul Calhoun III is only 31. But politics has been his focus since high school and getting more LGBT people engaged in the political process is one of his goals.
Calhoun was confirmed last month by the Maryland Democratic Party Executive Committee as chair of its LGBT Diversity Leadership Council (DLC). There are several such DLCs in the Maryland Democratic Party; each of the chairs sits on the party’s Executive Committee.
The LGBT DLC’s goal is to maintain and increase the diversity of the Democratic Party. In addition, it serves to help educate other Democrats on LGBT issues and to engage the LGBT community. In that respect, Calhoun says “it’s crucial that we turn out the LGBT community on June 24 for the primary election and Election Day in November to make our voices heard.”
Making elections relevant to the LGBT community is a challenge. “Like young people, the LGBT community doesn’t turn out to vote mainly because they don’t feel government does enough for the community,” Calhoun told the Blade. “It’s important to help our community to understand that every vote does count, and if the community and our families’ vote, in time elected officials will recognize our community as an important part of the electorate.”
In addition to motivating voters, the DLC can also act as an advisory council for the party and the Central Committees across the state. The Maryland Democratic Party is the first state Democratic Party to have made all of the various DLCs official.
Calhoun is currently a legislative aide to Councilwoman Mary Ann Lisanti of Harford County, who is also running for the House of Delegates.