The Democratic National Committee has hired former congressional staffer and campaign manager Sean Meloy as its new director of LGBT Engagement, where he will help organize LGBT support for the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee and Democratic candidates throughout the country.
Meloy, a former aide and campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), said he started his new job at the DNC on April 15, when he began a series of meetings and phone conversations with members of the DNC’s LGBT Caucus.
“I’m here to work for them and with them to make sure that the party is inclusive and continually fighting for LGBT rights,” he told the Washington Blade. “So I’ve been introduced to them and I have been connecting with them in my short time here.”
Earl Fowlkes, chair of the 36-member DNC LGBT Caucus, has said the LGBT Engagement director was expected to play an important role in working with the caucus to help recruit and elect LGBT delegates to the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Meloy said that although it’s still early in the delegate selection process, he has begun work with Fowlkes and other LGBT Caucus members to lay the groundwork for electing LGBT delegates in 2016.
“We’re happy to work with anyone who wants to be engaged in the delegate selection process,” said Meloy. “We want to make sure we have a diverse representation at the convention and that the goals from 2012 are exceeded,” he said in referring to plans for increasing the number of LGBT delegates at the 2016 convention from those attending the 2012 convention in Charlotte, N.C.
In a separate action, DNC spokesperson Kristin Sosanie said the DNC has retained gay hospitality industry executive Todd Lambert to help coordinate the bookings of hotel rooms and special event meeting space for the Democratic Convention next year.
Lambert, president and CEO of EventSphere, a hotel booking and meeting fulfillment company, will partner with another event planning firm, Akintayo Management Group, in its efforts to secure convention-related housing and meeting space, according to a DNC statement to the Washington Blade.
Among other things, the two firms will coordinate hotel bookings and meeting space for special events outside the convention hall for thousands of delegates, Democratic Party activists, and news media representatives expected to attend the 2016 convention, Lambert told the Blade.
“We are a very proud member of the Democratic family,” Lambert said in discussing his company’s role in working for the Democratic convention in 2016. He noted that he also helped organize hotel bookings and meeting facility arrangements for the Democratic conventions in 2008 and 2012.
Meloy, a Pennsylvania native, got his start in politics as president of the Penn State College Democrats in 2007. The following year he became an intern for Doyle, his home district congressman. In 2009, he became a staff assistant in Doyle’s congressional office and the following year served as campaign manager for Doyle’s re-election bid.
He later resumed work on Doyle’s legislative staff before becoming a public policy associate for the Association of Community College Trustees in Washington. In 2012, he became campaign manager for Democratic congressional candidate Kristin Cabral, who ran unsuccessfully against longtime GOP incumbent Rep. Frank Wolfe of Virginia.
Prior to assuming his new job at the DNC, Meloy served as an issues campaign manager for Public Knowledge, a telecommunications and Internet advocacy group that supports the ‘Net neutrality movement.
He told the Blade he expects to be involved in helping elect LGBT supportive Democrats on the federal, state and local levels.
“Each one of those entities, each one of those positions affects LGBT people,” he said. “So we’re working not just for the presidency but for the presidency all the way down in making sure that LGBT people know that the Democratic Party has had their back and will continue to have their back,” he said.
The DNC’s LGBT Engagement position now held by Meloy has remained unfilled since September 2013, when gay Democratic activist Jeff Marootian, who held the post since 2011, resigned to take a job as White House liaison to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Some LGBT Democratic activists have urged the DNC to make the position permanent rather than continue its past practice of hiring a full-time LGBT “desk” director mostly during presidential election cycles before discontinuing the post in off-year elections.
Meloy said he did not know what the DNC’s plans may be for the long-term future of the LGBT Engagement post.
“The Democratic Party has been continually committed to the rights of LGBT people regardless of this position being filled and I don’t see that changing any time soon,” he said.