Chicago, IL -- The Obama for America campaign today announced a significant expansion of its National LGBT Steering and Policy Committee, as well as its grassroots infrastructure ( Obama Pride ) . Rep. Tammy Baldwin ( D-WI ) , who was the Chair of Hillary Clinton's National LGBT Steering Committee, has joined Tobias Barrington Wolff, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a civil rights lawyer who chaired Obama's LGBT Policy Committee during the primary, as co-chairs of the new National LGBT Steering and Policy Committee. Over the last few weeks, dozens of members of Clinton's committee have joined the Steering and Policy Committee, and the committee will continue to grow between now and Election Day.
'I am proud to support Barack Obama for President and work hard for his election because we share a commitment to equality for all Americans. This is our quest and our common goal,' said Congresswoman Baldwin. 'From now through November, we will reach out aggressively to our fellow LGBT Americans to ensure that they know there is only one candidate in this race who will stand up for equal rights and build a coalition that can deliver the change that we desperately need,' Baldwin said.
Also, grassroots leaders who held leadership positions in both Obama and Clinton's primary campaigns have joined to lead the national grassroots mobilization of LGBT voters. Obama Pride will build upon the work that started in the primary, when LGBT supporters participated in pride festivals across the country and organized leadership networks in over 40 cities. Obama Pride will organize networks of activists in all fifty states who are committed to identifying, registering and turning out lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender voters for Barack in November. There will be five national co-chairs of Obama Pride. In alphabetical order, they are:
*Marsha Botzer* has served as co-chair of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Board of Directors during 2005-6. She is a Founding Member of Equal Rights Washington, and founded Seattle's Ingersoll Gender Center, an organization that has assisted transgender people for decades. She co-chairs the Safe Schools Coalition, works with Seattle's Pride Foundation on national issues, and serves on an Advisory Committee for Antioch University. She is a member of Obama Pride Seattle.
*Mandy Carter* has been organizing North Carolina African Americans and LGBT people for years, and has served as a member of the DNC. She founded Southerners On New Ground ( SONG ) in 1993 and was a leader in Harvey Gantt's two campaigns for U.S. Senate. She has done the hard work of organizing LGBT grassroots networks, especially of people of color, throughout the South. She was a member of Hillary Clinton's North Carolina LGBT Steering Committee.
*Jesse Garcia* is a gay Latino activist from Dallas, Texas, who has been involved in the Democratic Party since 1994. Garcia has been twice elected to serve on the National Stonewall Democrats board of directors, guiding strategy for the 90 Stonewall chapters and affiliates across the nation. He is the President of the Dallas Stonewall Democrats, and served on Hillary Clinton's National LGBT Steering Committee.
*Campbell Spencer* has been fighting for LGBT equality since she campaigned against the marriage ban in Hawaii in 1998. She was a field organizer at the Human Rights Campaign, led LGBT outreach for Vice President Gore's campaign in 2000, and was Base Vote Director at the DNC. She worked on John Kerry's Presidential campaign organizing six vital primary states, and was an active supporter of Hillary Clinton's campaign this year. Now President of Boost Strategies in Washington DC, she serves as the senior strategist for One Iowa.
*Eric Stern* has led Obama grassroots organizing efforts since February of this year. He was the Director of LGBT Outreach at the DNC in the 2004 election, and then served as Executive Director of the National Stonewall Democrats. He was a lead organizer of LGBT support for John Edwards during the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, and has served in a leadership role in Obama's LGBT organizing efforts since February of this year.
*Joan Garry*, former executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and Kevin Jennings, founder and executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, continue to lead the Finance Committee.
The Steering and Policy Committee will make sure LGBT people are aware of the vast differences between Barack Obama and John McCain on issues important to the LGBT community, and Obama Pride will make sure LGBT activists and voters are organized and registering, identifying, persuading and turning out voters in all fifty states.
'On every issue facing the LGBT community, John McCain promises a third Bush term,' said Garcia. 'He's promised to appoint judges to the Supreme Court like Scalia and Alito, and we can't afford that.'
'It's been twelve long years since John McCain cast the deciding vote that killed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act,' said Carter. 'It's time we elect a President who fights for the basic principles of non-discrimination, on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity.'
'Barack Obama has come out in strong opposition to the divisive and discriminatory amendments in California, Arizona and Florida,' said Spencer. 'That's important to me and to my family. There's no question that LGBT voters need to work hard to help elect Barack, and I'm excited to be part of this effort.'
'I'm proud to have the support of Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, the Obama Pride Co-Chairs, and so many leaders across the LGBT community,' said Senator Obama. 'I believe that we can achieve equality for the millions of LGBT people in this country, and with this team I know that the LGBT community will play a major role in our campaign to bring change to Washington.'