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April 28, 2006
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Volume 34
Issue 17
 
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Vezina to manage the Washington Won't Discriminate Campaign
Vezina to manage the Washington Won't Discriminate Campaign
Equal Rights Washington committed to winning referendum battle



Equal Rights Washington (ERW) announced today that it will lend its political director, John Vezina, to the Washington Won't Discriminate campaign. Vezina brings extensive campaign experience and will manage the campaign to defend Washington's anti-discrimination law.

"Our highest priority is ensuring that the anti-discrimination law stands," said Barbara Green, ERW's Interim Executive Director. "The Board of Directors and I have asked John to take this role because the referendum campaign is key to ERW's mission to ensure and promote dignity, safety, and equality for all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Washingtonians.

Brie Gyncild, ERW Board Co-chair said, "The community is now poised for success on all fronts. Washington Won't Discriminate and Equal Rights Washington can now work even more closely together to preserve the anti-discrimination law while Equal Rights Washington also pursues marriage equality and a strong legislative and electoral strategy."

Anne Levinson, Chair of the Washington Won't Discriminate campaign added, "This is another great example of community collaboration on behalf of this critically important campaign. We know John will be a strong leader, and we are pleased to have him at the helm."

Vezina has an extensive political record, working as campaign staff on three statewide campaigns in Alaska, in intergovernmental affairs for the Clinton Administration, and as a lobbyist for the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C. He is excited about the opportunity to focus on the referendum battle.

"I look forward to talking with Washingtonians about the importance of these basic civil rights. Hard-working residents of our state should know that employment decisions are based on their ability to do the job and not on who they are," said Vezina.

The Washington State Legislature passed ESHB 2661 in January, adding the words "sexual orientation" to the existing anti-discrimination law. . If opponents of the law collect enough signatures by June 7, Washington's residents will vote on a referendum (Referendum 65) in November. They would then have to vote to "approve" the law in order for it to be retained.

Equal Rights Washington is part of a coalition with other statewide organizations in the Washington Won't Discriminate campaign to defend the new law and preserve the protections against discrimination.

Vezina will return to his usual duties at Equal Rights Washington after the campaign, in time to prepare for the 2007 legislative session

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