NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
LAGPAC was host to HRC's Donna Red Wing, National Field Director, Tony Esoldo and Julie Tagen for a one day seminar/training session for political activists. Areas of importance were lobbying, coalition, letter writing, transgender issues, marriage issues and ENDA. More than 15 GLBT persons were on hand to learn, share and role play. There were as many new faces as there were long time activists including Tulane students and retired school teachers.
Without thought or planning, the seminar attendees were both gender and age equal.It was reported by Red Wing that an exit pole by ABC during the 1996 Presidential elections showed that 5% of the voters poled stated they were lesbian or gay. Only 4% of voters were Jewish in that pole. GLBTs can turn the tide of an election with unity in the community. Like the Christian Coalition, the GLBT community must learn to forgive one another for past wrongs and band together.
Esoldo reported there are enough votes committed to ENDA that the bill will pass in February, 1998 in the Senate. There are not enough votes presently in the House to pass ENDA. This is the time to start calling and writing your representative to ask for support of ENDA.
Hand written letters to your Congress persons have a strong impact on their voting. When a debated subject receives 25 or more letters from the constituency, attention is given. Many representatives vote according to which mail stack is larger-- the pro or con. These are facts reported by Tagen who worked for six years on the Hill before going to HRC.
For many serving in Congress, it is just a matter of putting a face with the label GLBT. While there are still those ill informed hate spreaders who call GLBT perverted monsters, it is no wonder that the general public is so surprised to learn that we are just the kids next door--some nice and some not so nice. How often have you heard, "you don't look gay." HRC is urging us to put our faces "out" in public.
S0--pen ready! Here is where to send those letters and don't forget to make copies for your momma and grandma and GLBT friends to send also:
Senate: John Breaux, SH-516 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510-1803 or firstname.lastname@example.org--Mary Landrieu, SH-825 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510-1803 or email@example.com.
These are the really important ones to target--especially the ones marked (R).
House of Representatives: Bob Livingston (R), 2406 Rayburn House Office Building,
Washington, DC 20515 or 111 Veterans Blvd., Ste.700, Metairie, LA 70005;
Wm. J. Jefferson (D), 240 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515;
W.J. Billy Tauzin (R),2183 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515;
Jim McCrery (R), 225 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515;
John C. Cooksey (R), 317 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515;
Richard H. Baker (R), 434 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515; and, Chris John (D), 1504 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515.
Did all that letter writing excite you into wanting to do more? Getting involved with the interviewing process might be your next step. Both LAGPAC and Forum for Equality interview candidates. These interviews lead to endorsements which are voted on by the organizations' membership. For information on where your talents are needed, take a look at the Net. You'll find HRC at www.hrc.org and LAGPAC at www.lagpac.com/.
There is a lot of information at both sites. You will learn how your Senator or Representative voted on issues that are of interest to you as well as hints on how to successfully lobby. If lobbying is your forte, contact Randal Beach, President of LEGAL, at 504.944.5882 or Chris Daigle, Chair of LAGPAC, at 504.527.0050. Randal, as you should know, received the Political Activist of the Year award from the GAA for his outstanding work with the Louisiana Legislature. After twenty years of work with the Legislature, Randal outed himself to get support for GLBT issues. Success was evident with the passing of the Hates Crime Bill and the failure of the Anti-Gay Marriage State Constitution Amendment. Sharing this success was Chris who as reported in our last issue has recently won National honors for his efforts, and a professional group of volunteers.
These courageous activists lobbied Legislators and testified at the Capitol hearings. Taking part were Randal Beach, Susan Clade, The Rev. Don Clarke, Rick Cosgriff, Chris Daigle, Eddie Domingue, Brian Hartig, Jim Kellogg, The Rev. Suzanne Meyer, Sandra Pailet and Mary Stuart. Due to their impressive accomplishments, this group was the poster children of the Creating Change conference held in California this fall, Red Wing stated. There is a close union between HRC and LAGPAC which was apparent during the social breaks and made for a pleasant as well as educational day. Look for more seminars from HRC in the coming year.
Our advocates in the Louisiana Legislature who authored GLBT friendly bills are Representative Mitch Landrieu and Senator Jon Johnson on ENDA, and Representative Yvonne Dorsey-Walsh and Senator James Cox of Lake Charles on Hate Crimes. Fighting on our behalf against the Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment was Senator Paulette Irons and Senator Dennis Bagneris.
Joining the Louisiana Coalition for Individual Dignity which was comprised of Log Cabin Republicans, Forum for Equality, LEGAL and LAGPAC, was ACLU, Anti-Defamation League, NOW and Earl Jackson with the New Orleans Human Relations Commission. Jerry Himmelstein, Executive Director of ADL testified on be-half of Hates Crimes. Ronald Mason, Jr., Senior Vice-President and General Counsel for Tulane University testified for ENDA.
Wishing you all a Gay Holiday and don't forget to send your Congressperson a greeting.
The Forum for Equality and LAGPAC have announced their en
dorsements for the upcoming election in February of 1998. Both
organizations chose the following candidates: Marc Morial for Mayor, Jim Singleton and Eddie Sapir for Council at Large, Oliver Thomas for Council District B, Roy Glapion for Council District D, Ellen Hazeur for Council District E, David Marcello for Judge of 4th Circuit Court of Appeal, Arthur Morrell and Bobby Jones (dual endorsement) for Traffic Court Judge.
LAGPAC will announce additional endorsements after their final interviews and membership election. Forum has completed that process and endorsed the following candidates: Ed Lombard for Clerk of Criminal District Court, Dale Atkins for Clerk of Civil District Court, Gaspar Schiro and Marie Bookman (dual endorsement) for Register of Conveyances, Mike McCrossen for Recorder of Mortgages, Ronnie Burke and Betty Jefferson (dual endorsement) for Assessor District 4.
LAGPAC is the oldest State-wide GLBT political organization in Louisiana. Forum was established in 1989. These are outstanding political organizations which need your support to continue their work of issuing endorsements and supporting candidates. Membership is open for both groups. Persons interested in membership and learning more about local and state politics can contact Randy Evans with Forum at 504.523.8523 or Jack Sullivan with LAGPAC at 504.524.1421.
Look in the next issue of AMBUSH for additional endorsements and an interview with Judge Eddie Sapir, Candidate for Council at Large.