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Comings & Goings

Fanning to lead aerospace association

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Eric Fanning, gay news, Washington Blade
Jorge Amaro, Comings & Goings, gay news, Washington Blade

The ‘Comings & Goings’ column chronicles important life changes of Blade readers.

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]. We also invite LGBTQ+ college students to share their successes with us.

Eric Fanning (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Congratulations to Eric Fanning who will start his position as president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) on Jan. 1, 2018. According to the AIA website, “The AIA, founded in 1919, only a few years after the birth of flight, is the most authoritative and influential trade association representing the U.S. aerospace and defense industry on Capitol Hill, within the administration and internationally. As the voice of American aerospace and defense, AIA’s strong advocacy is essential to protecting the interests of our nation and our industry.”  Upon announcing Eric’s appointment, AIA Chair Dennis Muilenburg said, “Eric is an accomplished, respected leader whose broad government and national security experience will serve AIA and its member companies well.”

On accepting the position, Fanning said, “The aerospace and defense industry represents more than 2.4 million proud workers, representing over 13 percent of the nation’s manufacturing force from all 50 states, who passionately understand the gravity of their contribution to our economy and national security. …This is an exciting time, and I am proud to lead AIA in its role as the voice of American aerospace and defense.”

Fanning is well known in Washington, D.C. He served as the 22nd Secretary of the Army providing leadership and oversight of our nation’s largest military service. He previously served as chief of staff of the Secretary of Defense, Acting Secretary of the Air Force and Under Secretary of the Air Force, and Deputy Under Secretary and Deputy Chief Management Officer of the Navy. He is the only person to have held senior appointments in all three military departments and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. During his more than 25 years of distinguished government service, Fanning also worked on the staff of the House Armed Services Committee, and was a special assistant to the Secretary of Defense and associate director of political affairs at the White House.

Congratulations also to Chip Wheeler, who has been appointed to the position of Associate Director for Volunteer Recruitment and Selection at the Peace Corps. Creating the Peace Corps was one of the signature achievements of President John F. Kennedy. For more than five decades, Peace Corps volunteers in 140 countries have demonstrated ingenuity, creativity, and grit to solve critical challenges alongside community leaders.

Prior to assuming this position with the Peace Corps, Wheeler served for the past 10 years as national director, community investments, in the Office of Corporate Responsibility at Voya Financial. He also led the Voya Foundation supporting children’s education, financial literacy and diversity. Before joining Voya Financial, he served for 10 years as vice president for private sector initiatives at America’s Promise Alliance, which was founded by General Colin L. Powell.

In addition, he has served in leadership positions at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Council; as a Trustee of America’s Promise Alliance; on the board of the Association of Corporate Contribution Professionals; and on the corporate advisory board of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Wheeler is a native of St. Louis and a graduate of Texas Christian University.

Chip Wheeler

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District of Columbia

Rooftop Pool Party postponed

Capital Pride Alliance moves official event to June 22

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A scene from last year's Capital Pride Rooftop Pool Party. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Capital Pride Rooftop Pool Party, originally scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. tonight, has been postponed until Thursday, June 22, according to a statement released by the Capital Pride Alliance on Instagram. This action comes amid an international climate event created by the Canadian wildfire that has resulted locally in poor air quality and a haze around the region.

The Capital Pride Alliance Instagram account posted, “As with all concerns regarding health and safety issues, the Capital Pride Alliance will closely monitor the air quality situation resulting from Canadian wildfire smoke and take necessary precautions in consultation with our partners in the DC government.”

“What does this mean for the pool party?” a question one private Instagram account user posed in the comment section.

“Important Update:” A representative of the Capital Pride Alliance responded through the group’s official Instagram account. “Tonight’s Capital Pride RoofTop Pool Party at VIDA The Yards is being postponed until Thursday, June 22 at 8:00 pm, due to the current air-quality situation resulting from the Canadian wildfires smoke. Please note that this postponement only applies to today’s event.”

The Capital Pride Alliance has yet to cancel or postpone any further events.

The White House earlier today rescheduled a large outdoor Pride reception planned for this evening to Saturday.

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District of Columbia

White House postpones Pride event due to wildfire smoke

Thousands expected for celebration bumped to Saturday

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The White House on June 8, 2023. A White House Pride reception was postponed due to the Canadian wildfire smoke. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The White House announced Thursday that a Pride event scheduled for this evening has been postponed to Saturday due to the lingering Canadian wildfire smoke.

The smoke has enveloped D.C. in a dangerous haze that triggered a “purple alert” on Thursday, considered worse than a “red alert.”

The event, expected to draw thousands of invited LGBTQ advocates and supporters to D.C., has been rescheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday on the South Lawn of the White House, the same day as D.C.’s Capital Pride Parade, which kicks off at 3 p.m., and Pride on the Pier celebration, which starts at 2 p.m.

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Rehoboth Beach

Rehoboth election canceled after just 3 candidates file for 3 races

Mayor Stan Mills unopposed in bid for second term

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Rehoboth Beach Mayor Stan Mills gets a second term after no one filed to run against him. (Photo courtesy of Mills)

Rehoboth Beach voters won’t be heading to the polls this August because municipal elections were canceled after just three candidates filed to run for three open seats.

Stan Mills will be Rehoboth’s mayor for a second term, while Patrick Gossett, who’s gay, will remain on the Board of Commissioners and Donald Preston will join the board, replacing Jay Lagree.

Lagree filed to run in the Aug. 12 election but withdrew from the running shortly thereafter. He did not respond to a voicemail asking why he withdrew, but released a statement citing his age and hearing loss as reasons for bowing out of the race.

“After much consideration, I am withdrawing my candidacy for city commission,” he said in a statement released on June 6. “I have been honored to serve on the commission and to serve the citizens of Rehoboth Beach, and I had intended to continue my service. However, I am getting older every day. My hearing has become a problem; although, with correction, I can do pretty well most of the time.”

Mills was the target of criticism when he ran for mayor three years ago, unseating incumbent Paul Kuhns. Critics were concerned about his stance on development, which surfaced when Mills voted against Clear Space Theatre’s plans to build a new complex on Rehoboth Avenue, killing the already approved deal that was widely supported by the local business community.

More than a decade ago, as city commissioner, Mills used an ordinance to target bars hosting late-night eating and drinking on outside patios. Six of the eight bars targeted were owned and operated by gay businesspeople, former Aqua Grill owner Bill Shields told the Delaware State Public Integrity Commission. Police arrested and fingerprinted Shields before releasing him later as it became clear that Aqua Grill was grandfathered in and did not have to follow the ordinance. In a sharply worded decision, Delaware’s Public Integrity Commission said Mills used his public office for personal gain when targeting the bars, since he owned a bed and breakfast next door, and should have recused himself from the decision.

Asked about it in 2020, Mills told the Blade that it was “old news.”

“I’m sorry that happened, I’m sorry the way that was perceived,” he said. “It’s lessons learned and not forgotten, but we have to move on.”

On Monday, Mills raised the Pride flag outside of city hall and presented CAMP Rehoboth, the local LGBTQ community center, with a proclamation honoring LGBTQ+ Pride month along with two commissioners.

CAMP Rehoboth declined to comment on the election, citing its 501(c)(3) status, which does not allow it to endorse candidates.

When Mills ran for election in 2020, real estate agent Joe Maggio called attention to the issue, writing in an editorial for the Blade that Mills “uses his official role to enhance his personal interests and impose his personal prejudices.”

Mills did not respond to an email and voicemail seeking comment.

Gossett, who did not immediately respond to a voicemail, has served on the Board of Commissioners for 10 years. He was one of four commissioners that voted to overturn Clear Space Theatre Company’s approval to build two buildings in downtown Rehoboth in 2021. Clear Space appealed to Delaware’s Superior Court but later dropped the lawsuit, citing the cost of litigation and other factors. It has since abandoned plans to build the expansion in downtown Rehoboth, but executive director Wesley Paulson told the Delaware Business Times they will look for a new location “outside of the city.”

Preston is a political newcomer but comes endorsed by Lagree.

“He’s young, smart, has the same goals and objectives for Rehoboth Beach as I have,” he told WGMD.

Preston did immediately respond to a voicemail. The three politicians will be certified on June 16.

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