Connect with us

National

Baldwin announces bid for U.S. Senate

Wisconsin lawmaker would be first openly gay senator

Published

on

Tammy Baldwin

Tammy Baldwin announced Tuesday she would run for U.S. Senate. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The only out lesbian in Congress officially threw her hat in the ring to become the next U.S. senator from Wisconsin — and the first openly gay member of the U.S. Senate — in an announcement Tuesday.

“I can’t wait to take my fight to the Senate: a fight to grow our economy, protect seniors, force Wall Street to clean up its act, and bring our troops home from Afghanistan,” Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) wrote in an email to supporters. “And I can’t wait to see you on the trail as we bring our campaign to every corner of Wisconsin.”

Baldwin has served in the U.S. House since 1999. A win for Baldwin would mean she would replace Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.), who announced earlier this year he would retire from the Senate upon the completion of his term next year.

“I know that, in this campaign, we’ll be up against some powerful special interests,” she said in her announcement. “But I’ve beaten the odds before. All my life, the naysayers have told me that I can’t win because I’m a progressive…because I’m a woman…even because I’m a lesbian. And I’ve proven them wrong because I’ve had rock-solid supporters like you standing with me.”

MORE IN THE BLADE: GAY WIS. LAWMAKER HOPES TO WIN BALDWIN’S SEAT

Baldwin is no stranger to achieving victories for the LGBT community. Her election to the U.S. House in 1998 marked the first time a non-incumbent openly gay person was elected to Congress.

Gay advocates — particularly the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund — have been pushing Baldwin to make history again by seeking to become the first openly gay person elected to the Senate.

Chuck Wolfe, CEO of the Victory Fund, praised Baldwin in a statement and said his organization would work hard to help her win in 2012.

“We are enormously proud that Tammy has taken this courageous step, and we will be strong supporters of her campaign,” Wolfe said. “Tammy’s record in Congress proves she’ll be a fighter in the Senate for expanding fairness and freedom for all Americans, and Wisconsin families will have no better advocate in Washington.”

The Victory Fund also announced the launch of a website, VictoryForTammy.com, which is dedicated to providing information to LGBT people about the Baldwin campaign. In addition to featuring news about the race and event information, the site will allow people to donate directly to her campaign.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, announced on the same day as Baldwin’s announcement that his organization has endorsed the lesbian lawmaker in her bid for a Senate seat.

“Tammy Baldwin’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate is monumental for both the state of Wisconsin and the country’s LGBT community,” Solmonese said. “Tammy has proven herself as an effective legislator over the course of her 13 years in Congress and this campaign will be a top priority for the Human Rights Campaign.”

Katie Belanger, executive director of the state equality group Fair Wisconsin, said the possibility of electing the first openly gay senator is “inspiring” and the Badger State “could not hope for stronger advocate for fairness and equality.”

“Tammy Baldwin has proven in the second congressional district that she can represent a diverse constituency, from farm families to college students to seniors,” Belanger said. “She is well-prepared to represent all of Wisconsin’s diverse communities and will have the vigorous statewide campaign necessary to win the state.”

Baldwin is likely to face primary opponents who are also seeking to carry the Democratic banner in the general election next year. A primary would take place in the first half of September 2012. Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wisc.), an eight-term member of the U.S. House, and Steve Kagen (D-Wisc.), a former House member, have been named as possible competitors.

Russ Feingold, a former U.S. senator from Wisconsin, was also seen as a possible opponent — and likely frontrunner to win the Democratic nomination — but announced last month that he wouldn’t seek elected office in 2012.

But Baldwin appears ahead other Democratic contenders in a hypothetical primary matchup. According to data published last week from Public Policy Polling, Baldwin leads in a three-way race with 37 percent compared to 21 percent for Kind and 15 percent for Kagen.

Additionally, Baldwin has raised significant money compared to her possible opponents. In the most recent Federal Election Commission reports, Baldwin posted $1.1 million in cash on hand after raising more than $600,000 thus far this election cycle. Comparatively, Kind has $478,000 in cash on hand after raising $592,000 this cycle. Kagen has no cash on hand and has only raised $18,000 this cycle.

But in the general election, Baldwin could face more of a challenge. The data from Public Policy Polling found that potential Republican opponents — like former Gov. Tommy Thompson or former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann — are marginally ahead of her in the polls.

The data from PPP shows that in a match between Neumann and Baldwin, Neumann would win 44-40, although 15 percent said they were undecided. In a contest between Thompson and Baldwin, Thompson would win 50-42, although eight percent of voters identified as undecided.

Last week, Neumann officially threw his hat into ring for the Republican nomination and asserted that he believes his opponent will be Baldwin in the general election.

While announcing his candidacy Monday morning, Neumann said, “I believe our opponent is Tammy Baldwin and I believe it is essential that we bring Tammy Baldwin’s record to the forefront.”

A Tea Party Republican, Neumann is more conservative than Thompson. During the 1990s, Neumann made headlines for anti-gay remarks made during his career as a U.S. House member.

According to the New York Times, Neumann said in 1996, “If I was elected God for a day, homosexuality wouldn’t be permitted, but nobody’s electing me God.”

Additionally, Neumann in 1997 suggested he wouldn’t hire an openly gay person as an office staffer during a speech to the Christian Coalition.

“If somebody walks in to me and says, ‘I’m a gay person, I want a job in your office,’ I would say that’s inappropriate, and they wouldn’t be hired because that would mean they are promoting their agenda,” he said. “The gay and lesbian lifestyle [is] unacceptable, lest there be any question about that.”

Watch the video of Baldwin announcing her Senate campaign here:

NOTE: This article has been updated.

Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

Federal Government

Trump indicted in classified document mishandling case

Former president to appear in federal court in Miami on Tuesday

Published

on

Former President Donald Trump (Photo by shganti1777 via Bigstock)

A federal grand jury has indicted former President Donald Trump on seven criminal counts in connection with his mishandling of more than 100 classified documents.

In a series of posts to his Truth Social account Thursday, Trump said that he has been indicted related to his mishandling of the classified documents taken to his estate at Mar-a-Lago after his term of office ended in January 2021.

The unprecedented decision comes after a more than yearlong investigation by special counsel Jack Smith into whether Trump knowingly retained classified and top secret government records when he left office and then disregarded a subpoena to return all classified documents in his possession and whether he and his staff obstructed Federal Bureau of Investigation efforts to ensure all documents had been returned.

A person familiar with the situation who was not authorized to discuss it publicly said Trump’s lawyers were contacted by prosecutors shortly before he announced on his Truth Social platform that he had been indicted, the Associated Press reported.

In the first of a series of posts Trump wrote:

“Page 1: The corrupt Biden administration has informed my attorneys that I have been Indicted, seemingly over the Boxes Hoax, even though Joe Biden has 1850 boxes at the University of Delaware, additional Boxes in Chinatown, D.C., with even more boxes at the University of Pennsylvania, and documents strewn all over his garage floor where he parks his Corvette, and which is ‘secured’ by only a garage door that is paper thin, and open much of the time.”

“Page 2: I have been summoned to appear at the federal courthouse in Miami on Tuesday at 3 p.m. I never thought it possible that such a thing could happen to a former president of the United States, who received far more votes than any sitting president in the history of our country, and is currently leading, by far, all candidates, both Democrat and Republican, in Polls of the 2024 presidential election. I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!”

“Page 3: This is indeed a DARK DAY for the United States of America. We are a country in serious and rapid decline, but together we will Make America Great Again!”

The Justice Department didn’t respond to a request for a comment.

The AP also noted it remains unclear what the immediate and long-term political consequences will be for Trump. His first indictment spurred millions of dollars in contributions from angry supporters and didn’t damage Trump in the polls.

No matter what, the indictment — and the legal fight that follows — will throw Trump back into the spotlight, sucking attention away from the other candidates who are trying to build momentum in the 2024 presidential race, the AP pointed out.

Continue Reading

The White House

White House debuts new actions to protect the LGBTQ community

The administration is coordinating efforts across different federal agencies

Published

on

The White House was lit in rainbow colors following the Respect for Marriage Act signing ceremony (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

White House Domestic Policy Advisor Neera Tanden, during a call with reporters on Wednesday, announced a slate of new actions the administration will undertake to better protect the LGBTQ community.

These will focus on three major areas, she said: safety and security, issues for LGBTQ youth like mental health and housing insecurity, and combatting book bans.

President Joe Biden has “already developed a historic record of supporting the LGBTQ community,” Tanden said, noting that he and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden are also prepared to “host the largest Pride celebration in White House history” on Thursday evening.

At the same time, she said, LGBTQ Americans are now experiencing “a whole range of attacks” from “hateful, un-American legislation” to “a disturbing surge in violent threats.”

Administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the administration’s “community safety partnership” will “work hand in hand with LGBTQ community organizations” to provide safety training and resources, Tanden said.

For example, she said, “and it’s so unfortunate to have to say this,” but the partnership will help LGBTQ community centers “prepare for the worst” – including “bomb threats, active shooters, and cybersecurity threats – while also protecting “healthcare providers who serve the community by working with doctors and medical associations.”

Actions for LGBTQ kids that Tanden previewed on Wednesday include HHS’s development of a behavioral health care advisory for transgender and gender diverse youth, to help ensure young people are given the best evidence-based care.

On Thursday, she said, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will launch federal initiatives to combat LGBTQ youth homelessness and new regulations to “protect LGBTQ kids in foster care.”

Finally, Tanden said, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights “will appoint a new coordinator” to combat book bans, which disproportionately target, for exclusion, materials with LGBTQ characters or themes, or communities of color.

DoE’s coordinator will “offer trainings and resources to schools to help them understand that students have a right to learn free from discrimination, and that book bands may violate federal civil rights laws if they create a hostile environment for students,” Tanden said.

A senior administration official, responding to a question from the Washington Blade following Tanden’s remarks, elaborated on the scope of the community safety partnership.

Community organizations, they said, will include “health clinics, community centers, and organizations that are planning Pride celebrations, but it also includes small businesses like restaurants and bars that have been targeted because they’re run by LGBTQI+ Americans or because they host events that support that community.”

“We’ll be encouraging and reaching out directly to organizations that have been impacted by these violent threats to help make sure that they have the training and the resources they need to stay safe,” the official said.

They added that DHS and DoJ, in anticipation of the possibility that threats will increase in June, “have both been working proactively over many months leading up to Pride to communicate with state and local law enforcement about the threats that the community may face and to help local pride organizers get access to any federal safety resources they may need to help keep the community safe.”

Asked to explain how HHS’s healthcare focused initiatives will be reconciled with restrictions targeting medical interventions for trans youth in conservative states, the official noted ongoing efforts to fight back – including by federal rulemaking and litigated challenges of policies that violate Americans’ rights.

When it comes to the actions previewed by Tanden, the official said, “Almost half of LGBTQI+ youth say they seriously considered committing suicide in the past year, and that attacks on their rights have made their mental health worse. That’s a serious crisis that we want to take on and this advisory will help.”

Additionally, they said, “HHS is announcing that they’re going to release new guidance to states to help them use federal funds to offer dedicated mental health services to the LGBTQI+ community,” while “the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMSA, is releasing $1.7 million in new federal funding for programs that support the health and mental health of LGBTQI+ youth by investing in programs that are focused on family affirmation.”

Responding to other questions about anti-LGBTQ legislation and the rising transphobic and anti-LGBTQ sentiment in America, the official offered some insight into the Biden-Harris administration’s positions on these matters more broadly.

“Part of our role here is to lift up the stories of transgender kids and their families to help the American people understand what is happening to families who, as the President says aren’t hurting anyone but are being hurt by these laws,” said the official.

“These aren’t just attacks on the rights of LGBTQI+{ Americans, they are part and parcel of a coordinated attack on our democracy,” they said. “We’re not just talking about laws that target transgender kids. These are really laws that get at the heart of our basic freedoms and values: the right to free expression, the right to make decisions about your own body, the right to parent and raise your children.”

The official added, “Opponents of LGBTQI+ Americans are leading a pretty significant campaign of disinformation,” which have included “the same types of hateful lies and stereotypes that have been used against our community really for decades and for generations.”

Continue Reading

California

Calif. school district meeting over LGBTQ studies turns violent

Police officers and protestors clashed outside Glendale Unified School Board meeting

Published

on

(YouTube screenshot from KCAL)

Police officers and protestors clashed outside a meeting of the Glendale Unified School Board over LGBTQ studies and the GUSD polices on addressing LGBTQ related issues.

News footage from CBS Los Angeles KCAL showed approximately 50 Glendale police officers attempting to keep the two groups separated and then fists were thrown as both sides engaged in physical assaults. A Glendale police spokesperson confirmed that some arrests had been made but wouldn’t comment further.

Witnesses and news crews noted that many of those protesting against the LGBTQ community were from the same group that had protested at Saticoy Elementary School in North Hollywood, angered over a Pride month assembly. Officers from the LAPD’s North Hollywood Community Station responded and there were physical assaults as well.

The situation in Glendale has become increasingly acrimonious. Last year during Pride month, a third grade teacher at Thomas Jefferson Elementary, Tammy Tiber, had enraged some parents after speaking to her students about LGBTQ topics on Zoom. The GUSD officials later transferred her because Tiber had told them she no longer felt safe.

A spokesperson for the district said that all materials are vetted by the GUSD, and are in full compliance with curriculum that deals with LGBTQ history, mandated under California’s FAIR Education Act, which was signed into law on July 14, 2011, and went into effect on Jan. 1, 2012.

It amends the California Education Code to include the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful reference to contributions by people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community in history and social studies curriculum.

Last month on May 18, a man who is not the parent of a child in the district, accused GUSD school board vice president Jennifer Freemon of concealing consistent attempts to “indoctrinate” students on LGBTQ issues.

“They are saying boys can be girls and girls can be boys,” Henry said during the board meeting. “If you believe in that, that is your opinion, and if that is your official policy, Jennifer, that is indoctrination because it offends a lot of people’s actual doctrine.”

As an example of instructing students to “behave inappropriately,” Henry referenced an alleged recent incident involving a student with special needs. GUSD student Thelma Gonzalez, who spoke later in the meeting, was allegedly asked to provide the definition of “scissoring” during a health lesson, despite her mother requesting that she be excused.

“A violation of their doctrine, their Christian doctrine,” Henry said, referring to Gonzalez and her mother. “Regardless of what you think, what I think, what the community thinks about any faith, you violated that. And if you don’t condemn that today, Jennifer, you are a hypocrite and a liar.”

He then mounted an attack on district polices regarding its transgender students.

“If you think they value your children, you’re more than entitled to think that,” Henry said. “They will not lie to you about your child, they will lie to these parents. They will conceal that private information from parents. You have enshrined that into doctrine, into policy, which is a misinterpretation of the law.”

It is not immediately clear what policy Henry was referring to. However, GUSD’s anti-discrimination policy states the district will only disclose a student’s “transgender or gender-nonconforming status” with their consent. It also mandates that a district official may discuss with that same student “any need” to confide in their parents or guardians.

Inside the Tuesday GUSD board meeting, pro- and anti-LGBTQ protesters faced off over how schools teach gender and sexuality, attendees were suddenly told to shelter in place as the violence outside escalated. The interruption came after about an hour of public comments, most of them in defense of the LGBTQ community and the district’s handling of materials and policies.

Protesters fight outside Glendale school district meeting about LGBTQ studies:

Related:

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade

Advertisement

Popular