A gay former U.S. ambassador who served under the Obama administration has launched a campaign to run for Congress, shifting his focus from tangling with representatives of Vladimir Putin overseas to President Trump at home.
Daniel Baer, who served in the Obama administration as U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe, announced on Tuesday his bid to succeed retiring Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) in representing Colorado’s 7th congressional district.
“We’re at a pivotal moment,” Baer said in a statement. “We need bold new ideas and a commitment to stand up for our Colorado values. Working together, we can put our communities and our country on a path toward success in the 21st century.”
Baer accompanied his announcement with a video titled “Are we doing everything we can?” declaring his candidacy. Among the images in the video is a picture of Baer and his spouse, Brian Walsh.
Under the Obama administration, Baer served not only as U.S. envoy to OSCE, but deputy assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor, where his portfolio included LGBT international human rights issues. After his appointment as U.S. ambassador, Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons Randy Berry took over the issue at the State Department.
In his role at OSCE, Baer represented the United States in talks with envoys from Russia — a country known for hostility to LGBT rights. At one time, the Russian government called on Baer to step down for tough comments he made abut the country, but Baer says in the video he “still managed to get things done with them.”
During a 2014 interview with the Washington Blade, Baer said he never felt that his sexual orientation has been an issue for Vladimir Putin’s representatives at OSCE.
“Just like being gay, working with the U.S. ambassador is not a choice, and I’m ready to work with all of them,” Baer said.
Baer joins a crowded field of candidates seeking the Democratic nomination in Colorado’s 7th congressional district, including State Sen. Andy Kerr, State Sen. Dominick Moreno and State Sen. Brittany Pettersen. No Republican candidate have formally declared yet.
“As tough as things are, I’m an optimist,” Baer said. “I believe in the power of Colorado common sense, and I believe that we can make our democracy work for everyone. The American dream must be part of our future, not a nostalgic memory from our past. We all worry about the divisions in our American family. The best way to build bridges, to mend our rifts, and to lift each other up is to roll up our sleeves and start making progress, rebuilding the middle class, and digging deep into the bottomless well of American optimism. Let’s do this.”