Dailykos: Double the OUT members of congress!

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Today in the House of Representatives openly gay Members account for a whopping total of 0.68%  or three of the 435 members of congress. In the Senate there are zero out of the 100 members.  This election cycle we have the ability to double the number of openly gay officials to 1.37% of the 435 by electing three more great candidates running for the House.

We fight daily for Congress to pay attention to our issues and represent us but with only three members in Congress we get drowned out by other groups fighting for floor time with larger voting blocs.  We need to build up our team in Congress and fast; we need to move beyond feeling lucky to elect one new out member each few cycles.  In the panic of the Democratic Party to defend it’s majorities we have three shining stars running who are out, viable and can be elected with our community’s help.

Today in the House of Representatives openly gay Members account for a whopping total of 0.68% or three of the 435 members of congress. In the Senate there are zero out of the 100 members.  This election cycle we have the ability to double the number of openly gay officials to 1.37% of the 435 by electing three more great candidates running for the House.

We fight daily for Congress to pay attention to our issues and represent us but with only three members in Congress we get drowned out by other groups fighting for floor time with larger voting blocs.  We need to build up our team in Congress and fast; we need to move beyond feeling lucky to elect one new out member each few cycles.  In the panic of the Democratic Party to defend it’s majorities we have three shining stars running who are out, viable and can be elected with our community’s help.

Let me introduce you to them.

David Cicilline is running for the first Congressional District of Rhode Island.  The first Congressional District is a strong blue performing district and a slue of Democrats are looking to challenge for the seat.  Congressman Kennedy won the seat with 68.6% of the vote back in 2008, meaning the primary is the true election.

Cicilline is the current Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, one of the largest cities in the state. With 8 years under his belt as Mayor he is our best chance to elect our 4th openly gay member to Congress. The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, and the Human Rights Campaign have already endorsed David. There have been no filings - His website which is under construction is  - http://www.cicilline.com/

Ed Potosnak is running for the 7th Congressional District in New Jersey.  The 7th District is currently being held by Republican freshman Leonard Lance who won the district with just 50.8% of the vote. The seat has been a close fight for the last two election cycles with Democratic contender Linda Stender coming within 1.4% in 2006 and 9% in 2008.  The current Congressman has only raised $620,142.22* with just $347,966* on hand and $62,600* in debt – making this seat a possible pick up for Democrats in a tough year.  Ed is currently the only Democrat announced for the seat.

Ed is a teacher, small business owner and former education staffer for Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA).  This is the first time Potosnak has run for elected office and after New Jersey defeated gay marriage, the LGBT community is hungry for a electoral win. Anti-incumbent sentiment will come into play in this race. Because he just entered the race, Potosnak has not made a financial filing. His website is under construction but can be found at: www.edpotosnak.com

Steve Pougnet is running for the 45th Congressional District in California. Republican Mary Bono currently holds the seat. The seat is no sure thing; Bono only won the last cycle with 58.29% of the vote.  This district has a real chance of flipping because Bono has not faced strong challengers in the past and there is a large, traceable anti-incumbent sentiment.  Steve faces no Primary Challenger in his bid for Congress.

Steve has served as Mayor of the city of Palm Springs as well as on the Palm Springs City Council.  Steve has already earned the support of EqualityGiving.org and the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. The DCCC is providing his campaign strong national support due solid opportunity to flip a red district blue.

Financial snapshot of the district: Steve has raised $563,432.35* and has $402,313.88* on hand while Congresswoman Bono Mack has raised $933,837.75* and has $893,754.76* on hand. Steve’s website can be found at: www.electpougnet.com

The reason this cycle is so important for the LGBT community is the same reason as it is for the entire Progressive Community – our freshmen in both in the House and Senate are leading the charge for Progressive changes to laws up and down the ballot.  If we can double the number of openly gay members of Congress, we have the chance to gain a much larger voice for our community.

Written by Andy Szekeres of 3PG Consulting (www.3PGNow.com). Andy served as Finance Director for No on 1- Protect Maine Equality, Former finance staff on Jared Polis’ election to Congress and former state LGBT Field Director for Kerry / Edwards’ Wisconsin team.



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