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January 6, 2006
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Volume 34
Issue 01
 
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Three Gay Legislators ascend to leadership positions this week
Three Gay Legislators ascend to leadership positions this week
"These outstanding officials are a testament to the skill and talent that the LGBT community offers in the public arena," said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund.

In what the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund considers an indicator of the skill and passion that hardworking LGBT officials bring to the public sector, three openly Gay legislators in New York and New Jersey, have been elected to leadership roles in their respective legislative bodies.

In the City of New York, seven year Councilmember Christine Quinn was elected by her peers to the post of city council speaker on Wednesday. As the face of the 51-member New York City Council, the council speaker is widely regarded as the second-most powerful city official and a counterbalance to the mayor.

On Tuesday night, Gina Genovese, an openly Gay township committee member in Long Hill Township, New Jersey, was elected mayor. In Long Hill, the township committee elects a mayor from among its own members. The vote was a unanimous 5-to-0, including the votes of the three Republicans. According to Garden State Equality, Gina thus becomes the first openly LGBT person to be elected mayor of any New Jersey municipality in the state's 219-year history.

Yesterday in Suffolk County, New York (Long Island), at a meeting of the Democratic caucus, Jon Cooper (D-Huntington) was elected Majority Leader of the Suffolk County Legislature. Due to the recent transition from Republican to Democratic control, Cooper's nomination makes him the first Democratic Majority Leader in the thirty-six year history of the Suffolk County Legislature.

"These outstanding officials are a testament to the skill and talent that the LGBT community offers in the public arena," said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Leadership Institute. "The over 350 openly LGBT public officials serving with distinction in the United States today, many who lead legislative bodies or are chief executives, demonstrate that sexual orientation need not be a barrier to running for office," Wolfe added.

There are currently 352 LGBT elected officials in the United States serving from local office to the U.S. Congress. Of those, approximately 50% serve at the local legislative level. More than a dozen cities in the U.S. have had openly Gay or Lesbian mayors, including San Diego, Chula Vista and Palm Springs, CA; Providence, RI; Casper, WY; Wilton Manors, FL; Northampton, MA; and Key Biscayne, FL; to name a few.

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund provides strategic, technical and financial support to openly LGBT candidates and officials. It's the only national organization solely committed to increasing the number of openly LGBT public officials at federal, state and local levels of government. Victory is the nation's largest LGBT political action committee and one of the nation's largest non-connected PACs. In 14 years, Victory has helped the number of openly LGBT officials grow from 49 to over 350.



A Victory Fund press release

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