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Equality Maryland backs trans candidate, rivals & more

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Equality Maryland backs trans candidate, rivals

Equality Maryland announced this week its endorsement of transgender candidate Dana Beyer — and the three candidates with whom she is competing in her race for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates.

If successful, Beyer, an eye surgeon turned community activist, would be the nation’s first out transgender person to win election to a state legislature. She is running in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary for one of three seats assigned to House of Delegates District 18, which includes parts of Montgomery County.

“We couldn’t not endorse her,” said Equality Maryland spokesperson Kevin Walling, in discussing Beyer and her role as a board member for the group and an advocate for LGBT issues.

“But we also couldn’t not endorse the other three, who are champions of our bills,” he said.

Under Maryland’s electoral system, candidates and incumbents compete in a combined race for three seats in each of the state’s 47 delegate districts. In Beyer’s race, Democratic incumbents Al Carr, Ana Sol Gutierrez and Jeffrey Waldstreicher — all of whom Equality Maryland has endorsed — currently hold the three seats. Beyer and two other challengers, Randy Evan McDonald and Vanessa Atterbeary, are running against the incumbents.

The three candidates receiving the highest vote count are declared the winners in the primary. Although voters have the option of voting for three candidates in delegate races, campaign workers often ask backers of a particular candidate to cast just one vote, known as a “bullet vote,” for the candidate they prefer the most, an action that increases the candidate’s chance of winning.

In the solidly Democratic Montgomery County, the winners of the primary are assumed to be the strong favorites to win the general election in November.

Walling said Car, Sol Gutierrez and Waldstreicher are sponsors of a same-sex marriage equality bill and a transgender non-discrimination bill that are pending before the legislature. He noted that all three have been supportive on virtually all other LGBT-related issues.

“We would be equally satisfied if any of the four would be elected to those positions,” he said.

Beyer said she is happy to receive the endorsement and is working hard to show Montgomery County voters that she will be a champion for them on a wide range of issues, especially economic and social services issues.

She said that because the progressive leaning voters in District 18 are supportive of LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage, she intends to show that she’s better than her rivals on other issues.

LOU CHIBBARO JR.

Va. Partisans endorses Moran for Congress

The statewide LGBT Democratic group in Virginia last week threw its support behind Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) in his bid for re-election.

In a statement dated June 22, Terry Mansberger, president of the Virginia Partisans, formally endorsed Moran and called the lawmaker an “advocate on all the important issues around LGBT concerns for many years, even before it was a politically popular or safe position.”

“As a long-time friend and mentor to our community, Jim deserves our vote and financial support to keep doing the good work that he naturally knows how to do,” Mansberger said.

Since he first began serving in Congress in 1991, Moran has been recognized as a supporter of the LGBT community. He was among 67 U.S. House members to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.

Moran has also been vocal in his support for repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In December, he sent a letter signed by 96 lawmakers to Defense Secretary Robert Gates requesting monthly reports on service members discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” that detail the expelled troops’ rank and time served.

In a statement to the Blade provided by his campaign, Moran said he is “deeply appreciative” of Virginia Partisans’ support and hopes to “continue working with them to bring about a more open, honest, inclusive and progressive society.”

“For me, these issues are a no-brainer,” Moran said. “Discrimination is wrong. One’s sexual orientation shouldn’t prevent them from being granted the same opportunities as every other American.”

The 10-term lawmaker is fighting to retain his seat to represent Virginia 8th congressional district against Republican Patrick Murray, an Iraq war veteran. The 8th district, which includes Arlington and Alexandria, is heavily Democratic and Moran is favored to win.

CHRIS JOHNSON

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Virginia

Virginia Beach high school students stage walkouts to support transgender rights

City’s school board approved policy to out trans students to parents

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Transgender flags (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.)

Students at five Virginia Beach high schools on Friday staged walkouts in support of transgender rights.

The walkout is in response to the Virginia Beach School Board approving policy 5-31, which the Pride Liberation Project says will require schools to out trans students to their parents.

Students have been organizing walkouts across the state since Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin earlier this year announced new guidelines for trans and nonbinary students.

“Students like me aren’t going to be able to talk to our teachers if we’re constantly worried about our school officials calling home to forcibly out us,” AJ, a trans Kellam High School Student, told the Pride Liberation Project.

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District of Columbia

Pepco, Exelon announce $2.7 million in funding for four minority-owned businesses

‘It’s good business sense to bring more people to the table’

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Pepco and Exelon held a press conference Friday to announce four recipients of $2.7 million in investments. (Photo courtesy Exelon)

Pepco and Exelon announced a $2.7 million investment in four minority-owned businesses on Friday.

“Today’s been a long time coming,” said Pepco Vice President of Governmental and External Affairs Valencia McClure.

Pepco’s parent company, Exelon, launched the Racial Equity Capital Fund (RECF) in 2022 to expand capital access to diverse businesses. This latest $2.7 million investment is just a portion of RECF’s $36 million in funding.

At the announcement, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser spoke about the other ways Pepco and Exelon have “put their money where their mouth is” through their partnership with the D.C. Infrastructure Academy. She reported that all 22 of the residents that graduated from the program last week have a job offer from Pepco.

“We know that is not just a job, but a career,” she said to the crowd’s applause. “We know that working together, we can invest in D.C. residents, provide opportunity, and ensure that our D.C. businesses are a part of D.C.’s growing prosperity.”

The four minority businesses that received funding were Gemini Energy Solutions, Public Sector Solutions Group, CJR Development Partners, and Escalate.

“It’s good business sense to bring more people to the table,” said fund recipient Nicole Cober, CJR Development’s Principle Managing Partner.

Gemini Energy Solutions, which is Black owned, received $1 million, the most of the four companies. Its mission is to equitably scale energy efficiency to marginalized communities. For the founder and CEO Anthony Kinslow II, this investment means that he is able to get paid and advance the work of his organization.

“We are now able to accelerate the work in our software and technology development,” he said. “What we were going to do in two years, we are now going to do in six months.”

For Escalate, a workforce development platform focused on frontline worker retention, the funding means that it will be able to double the pay for frontline workers.

Public Sector Solutions Group CEO Darryl Wiggins emphasized that this investment was not just ‘charity’ work, but mission-driven work.

“The principle and the intent is greater than the money we receive,” he said. Public Sector Solutions is Black owned.

Public Sector Solutions Group received a $600,000 debt investment; CJR Development, a minority and woman-owned small business, received a $600,000 debt investment; and Escalate, a majority Black and woman-owned company, received a $500,000 equity investment.

Exelon launched the RECF in partnership with RockCreek, one of the world’s largest diverse-owned global investment firms, in 2022. The RECF expands capital access to diverse businesses so they can create more jobs, grow their companies and reinvest in their neighborhoods and communities, according to a statement from Exelon.

New RECF applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Interested businesses may apply online or contact RockCreek at [email protected] for more information.

(Photo courtesy Exelon)
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Comings & Goings

Armstrong recognized with Lifetime Achievement Award

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Lynden C. Armstrong

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected].

Congratulations to Lynden C. Armstrong on his Lifetime Achievement award from the Congressional Management Foundation in recognition of his exemplary public service in Congress. 

Upon receiving the award Armstrong said, “This recognition is not just a personal achievement, but a testament to the unwavering dedication and hard work of colleagues and mentors who have been with me on this journey. I’ve dedicated my entire career to public service within the Senate, where recognition isn’t the primary motivation for our work, making this recognition even more humbling.” He is currently Deputy Assistant Senate Sergeant at Arms and Chief Information Officer.  

Armstrong started his career with Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), where he rose to Deputy Chief of Staff in his more than 13-year stint. In 2004, during his tenure with Domenici, amid a debate on the Federal Marriage Amendment, Armstrong became a co-founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Allies Senate Staff (GLASS) Caucus. In 2014, he moved to the Sergeant at Arms CIO organization, where he established a new department within the CIO that was crafted to engage Senate offices in comprehending and harnessing technologies provided by the SAA. 

Lynden has previously served as Chief Clerk on the U.S. Senate, Committee on Rules and Administration, and with the U.S. Senate, Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, as Deputy Inaugural Coordinator, 2012–2013.  In that role among other responsibilities, he served as civilian liaison to the National Special Security Event Executive Steering Committee and subcommittees, including the Capitol, USCP, Crowd Management, Public Relations, Transportation, and credentialing, and as liaison to the Joint Task Force – National Capital Region. 

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