Prominent local lesbians are among those backing a new political action committee (PAC) that aims to give political voice to queer women.
Billing itself as the first of its kind, LPAC launched June 11 with the support of Chicago Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts, Chicago-area native Jane Lynch and Chicagoan Sarah Schmidt, whose family owns U.S. Venture. Both Ricketts and Schmidt sit on LPAC's advisory board.
The group said it strives to elect candidates who support LGBT people, reproductive freedom and social-justice causes.
"This year we have seen politicians repeatedly support policies that harm women," said Lynch in a statement. "It is important to me to elect leaders who care about issues that impact women and their families."
Other big-name backers of the PAC include Billie Jean King and Urvashi Vaid, former executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Schmidt, who is LPAC's chair and treasurer, said the group started the committee because the members had been "shocked" by politics over the past year.
"Lesbians could no longer stand by and witness continued attacks on reproductive freedoms, marriage equality, and be immersed in a political sphere where women are not given a meaningful voice in politics," she said in a statement.
LPAC lists a dearth of reproductive healthcare, lack of marriage rights for LGBT people, a U.S. House vote to defund Planned Parenthood, opposition in the House to the Violence Against Women Act, a Senate vote against equal pay legislation and the exclusion of women from hearings on birth control as motivations for starting the PAC.
According to the group's website, the PAC is a bipartisan effort.
Members of the advisory board are:
Sarah Schmidt: The Chicagoan is founder and principal of Sarah Schmidt Consulting, LLC. She is also heavily involved in her family third-generation business, U.S. Venture, Inc.
Valerie Berlin: She is co-founded and principal at BerlinRosen Public Affairs, a strategic communications and political consulting firm in New York City and Washington, D.C.
Emily Giske: A government affairs specialist for Bolton-St. Johns, LLC, Giske has extensive knowledge in Albany and New York City and has lobbied for corporations, financial institutions, not-for-profit entities and local municipalities.
Laura Ricketts: She is director and part-owner of the Chicago Cubs, becoming the first out gay woman to own a Major League Baseball franchise.
Alix Ritchie: She is a media-strategy consultant and former founder, owner, and publisher of the Provincetown Banner, a community newspaper for Cape Cod, Mass.
Margaret Traub: Traub is president and CEO of Adesso, a company that designs, manufactures and sells contemporary home décor. Traub and her partner, Phyllis Dicker, sponsor an annual scholarship that awards funds to worthy lesbian college and graduate students.
Urvashi Vaid: The longtime partner of comedian Kate Clinton heads the Engaging Tradition Project at the Center for Gender and Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School. Vaid is an attorney, writer and longtime leader in LGBT and social-justice movements.
Donna Victoria: Victoria is the founder of Victoria Research & Consulting and has worked on a wide variety of non-discrimination, marriage equality and political messaging projects for the LGBT community.¨¨
For more info, see www.TeamLPAC.com .