December 14, 2013 at 10:19 am EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
‘Ready for Hillary’ event draws packed house
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Democratic activist Phil Pannell (left) is among the more than 450 Hillary Clinton supporters who turned out Thursday for a ‘Ready for Hillary’ event. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

More than 450 people, including LGBT activists, turned out for D.C.’s first official rally and fundraiser Thursday night for Ready for Hillary, the independent super PAC formed earlier this year to urge former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016.

As many of the attendees entered Look restaurant and lounge on the 1900 block of K St., N.W., where the event took place, they were greeted by veteran D.C. gay rights and civic activist Phil Pannell, who was among the volunteers staffing a check-in table.

“I’m really excited to be here and excited about Hillary,” said Pannell, who is among a growing number of D.C.-area LGBT activists who supported Barack Obama over Clinton in the 2008 presidential race but who are enthusiastic Clinton supporters now.

“Like so many people I know, I want to be a part of this,” Pannell said.

In keeping with their policy of encouraging support from small donors, organizers of the Ready for Hillary rally Thursday night set the admission price at $20.16.

Gay Democratic activist Peter Rosenstein, one of Ready for Hillary’s early supporters, said that same admission price will be in place for the organization’s next event in D.C. that will target a specific LGBT audience. Called “Out and Ready for Hillary,” the event will take place Jan. 15 at the gay nightclub Town Danceboutique.

Among those working on plans for the January event is Lisa Changadveja, Ready for Hillary’s LGBT Americans director. Changadvja announced the January event at Town from the stage at the rally Thursday night.

In an interview with the Blade in November, Changadveja said she and a corps of volunteers will be setting up Ready for Hillary booths at LGBT Pride events across the country in 2014.

“We’re here to encourage her to run in 2016 because she has the grassroots support behind her and she has the LGBT community behind her if and when she decides to run,” Changadveja said.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), the first member of Congress to officially endorse Clinton for president in 2016, told the gathering Thursday night that he sees support for a Clinton candidacy growing in his home state of Ohio and all parts of the country.

“What we want this campaign to be is something that ushers in the new era of politics in the United States, that Hillary can break the logjam in Washington, D.C. and move our country forward,” he said. “And with your help she’s going to be able to do that.”

Among the LGBT activist leaders listed as members of the host committee for the January Ready for Hillary event at Town nightclub are veteran transgender advocate Dana Beyer; gay Democratic National Committee member and Center for Black Equity CEO Earl Fowlkes; gay Democratic activist Lane Hudson; Gertrude Stein Democratic Club Secretary Jimmie Luthuli; and gay restaurant manager and civic activist Dito Sevilla. Rosenstein is also a member of the host committee.

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Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) spoke at the event. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • Why should anyone support Hillary Clinton? She supported the Iraq war and as far as I know, she never apologized for it or admitted she was wrong for it. She's a devout neoconversative Israel supporter and has made atrocious comments about obliterating Iran. She's also outrageously said that security is more important than human rights. Clinton is a fraud and not an ally to liberals at all.

    • I see somebody sure doesn’t pay attention and before you run your mouth make sure you know what your talking about. Hillary been apologized publicly for that vote and at this point in time who gives a flying fu*k. No one stands up for rights of all better than Hillary once again your ignorance is on full display on all things Hillary. I suggest you go have a seat get your info right then come back again. #Hillary45

  • Geewhiz can Pres. Obama at least finish out his last two years? As one who will support her. Ummmm Kree for you to say that Hillary have stood up for rights better than anyone else is a misquote. She was the last one to come out and approve marriage equality and before that she did not approve of it she only believed in civil unions. So she has stains on the towel as well still I support her.

  • We’ve seen this movie before. Its really less about the candidate and more about delegate selection to the Democrat National Convention in 2016. There will be much more blood on the floor during the selection process this time around.

  • @Brooks Austin: Many Democrats in Congress voted to authorize the war in Iraq. Given the environment at the time, it is foolish to expect that senator from New York would have voted against it. Had Barack Obama actually been in the U.S. Senate for the vote, he probably would have voted for it, too. If you notice, all of the presidential candidates from Senate voted for that war resolution, including Joseph R. Biden — the man Obama picked as his running mate! I can’t make any sense of your other comments regarding Hillary, so I’ll leave that to others.

  • This country had a brush with social experimentation electing this clown (Obama) to two terms with disastrous results, we don’t need to make the same mistake with this liar!

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