Kicks Off an Intensive Four-Day Training for Future LGBT Candidates
Charlotte, NC – Today, LGBT leaders and public officials in North Carolina discussed the political environment and the critical importance of LGBT lawmakers in the wake of HB2 and the recent mass hate crime in Orlando. The discussion – moderated by Victory Institute President & CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills – emphasized the indispensable role LGBT elected leaders play in preventing measures like HB2. The panel kicked-off an intensive, four-day training that prepares LGBT people to run for office.
“State and local legislatures are now the frontlines for efforts to strip the rights and protections of LGBT people,” said Mrs. Moodie-Mills. “We are in Charlotte training the LGBT candidates of the future because we know that representation matters, and that more LGBT lawmakers result in fewer anti-LGBT bills and higher state equality.”
There was also consensus among panelists that LGBT elected officials can influence straight colleagues by humanizing LGBT people and issues, making it more difficult for lawmakers to propose anti-LGBT legislation. Recent Victory Institute research shows LGBT lawmakers were important to the votes of a majority of straight lawmakers who voted on pro-LGBT legislation in their states.
“When the discriminatory HB2 bill passed in March, there were no LGBT members of the General Assembly to explain to fellow lawmakers how it would impact real people’s lives,” said LaWana Mayfield, the first openly LGBT member of the Charlotte City Council. “Without representation in the legislature, our community has dramatically less influence on the legislative process. That is why we need to cultivate, train and support LGBT people considering a run for office and vote for strong LGBT candidates.”
As the conversation turned toward the tragedy in Orlando, panelists commented on the growing consensus among movement leaders and elected officials that gun violence is an LGBT issue, and that LGBT elected officials are often important to advancing gun control measures and other causes like reproductive freedom and economic empowerment.
“It has been a difficult week and half for the LGBT community,” said state Representative Chris Sgro from his office in Raleigh. “Forty-nine souls were taken in a brutal act of hateful violence. Many of them were people of color and we will never forget them. It was an act that shocked the community and the nation to its core. Here in North Carolina it is an especially painful time. HB2 is a stark reminder in the wake of the Orlando massacre that words matter and policy has a direct impact on our daily lives. LGBT elected officials serve as a direct voice for LGBT North Carolinians in this difficult time.”
State Senator Mike Woodard, also on the panel, reiterated the importance of having openly LGBT lawmakers in the legislature. The Victory Institute Candidate & Campaign Training takes place Thursday, June 23 through Sunday, June 26.
Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute
The Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute works to increase the number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in public office and to provide programming, service, and other support to ensure their success.
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