April 12, 2017 at 5:26 pm EDT | by Peter Rosenstein
Sen. Tammy Baldwin: GOP’s No.1 target
Tammy Baldwin, gay news, Washington Blade

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The far right picked a target for 2018 and it’s Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) our only out U.S. senator. It’s up to us to ensure she keeps her seat. Baldwin ran as an open lesbian in 2012 and won because she is great on so many issues and the people of Wisconsin understood that. They understood she would fight for the things they need.

Baldwin is a progressive who knows how to get things done. She is willing to work across the aisle never giving up her principles of fairness and decency. She knows what it means to be discriminated against both as a woman and a member of the LGBT community. She knows what it means to have to work twice as hard as any man to get the recognition she has earned.

Baldwin currently serves on the Senate Budget Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. When she speaks out we understand what former Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) meant when he said to the LGBT community “If we aren’t at the table we are on the menu.” Baldwin occupies our seat at the table.

Baldwin fights for all as she fights for the people of Wisconsin. She became the Badger State’s first female member of Congress and the nation’s first openly gay, non-incumbent elected to Congress. But more than that, in her seven terms in the House of Representatives, she distinguished herself as a fierce defender of middle class, hard-working families in Wisconsin and the nation.

During her time in the House, she was a lead sponsor of the Buffett Rule, a push to make sure millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share of taxes. She authored a key provision of the Affordable Care Act allowing young adults under the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ health insurance. She knows we can’t go back to a time when just being a woman meant you were discriminated against when you wanted to get health insurance. Today, Baldwin continues to be a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act and understands that while it needs some fixes we have to maintain its guarantee of quality affordable healthcare for all including those with pre-existing conditions.

The issues she focuses on are those we all care about. They include protecting and growing the manufacturing base; holding Wall Street accountable to Main Street; supporting and honoring veterans; making sure college is affordable for all; protecting agriculture and ensuring our water is clean and safe.

Today we are faced with a president and a Congress that would like to turn back the clock on the rights of women, the LGBT community, minorities and anyone who isn’t rich and white. Tammy Baldwin is standing in their way and they want to defeat her. We can’t let that happen. Baldwin is a leader in the fight for the Equality Act, she voted against Gorsuch and spoke out against Bush’s nominees for other positions. She speaks for us.

Today the right wing is pouring in millions of dollars to defeat her. They believe she is vulnerable because Hillary Clinton narrowly lost Wisconsin to Trump. They are already sending out fundraising letters like this one; “Leftist lesbian Senator Tammy Baldwin is a pervert,” says an email solicitation from a group called Restore American Freedom and Liberty. “She is working to end all marriage laws and require all Americans to be subjected to LGBT sensitivity training. In fact, she wants to require children starting at age 5 to learn about gay sex! She is disgusting, and it is vital that Sheriff David Clarke defeats her!” So it is incumbent on those of us who believe in democracy, human and civil rights for all, and just plain decency to come to her aid and support her in this fight.

It would be a disaster for Wisconsin, for women and the LGBT community across the nation if we lost Baldwin’s voice in the Senate. Her passion and her intelligence should not be lost to us because the far right is raising millions of dollars to defeat her.

So please join those in D.C. who along with special guest, the Mayor Muriel Bowser, will show support for Baldwin on Wednesday, April 26 when we salute her and raise funds to keep her in the Senate. To RSVP, contact Justin at Justin@kauffmangroup.net or 202-544-7708.

Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

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