by Mike Andrew -
SGN Staff Writer
LPAC, a new Lesbian 'super PAC' announced on July 11, promises to raise $1 million to support equal rights for LGBT families, and sexual and reproductive rights for all women.
The new political action committee has already attracted several celebrity donors, including Glee co-star Jane Lynch and former tennis champion and equal rights activist Billie Jean King.
'This year we have seen politicians repeatedly support policies that harm women,' Lynch said in a statement. 'It is important to me to elect leaders who care about issues that impact women and their families. That's why I support LPAC.'
King said that forming LPAC would give Lesbians a powerful and highly visible political voice to be reckoned with.
'The formation of LPAC provides Lesbians and the entire LGBT community a new, stronger voice and a real and respected seat at the table when politicians make policy that impacts our lives,' she said.
Another major donor is Laura Ricketts, co-owner of the Chicago Cubs and also a leading donor to the Obama campaign.
'I support LPAC because courageous elected officials who support women's rights, fairness, and equality for all of us deserve our unconditional support,' Ricketts said in the LPAC statement.
Ironically, her father, Joe Ricketts, bankrolls the right-wing Ending Spending Action Fund. He recently became notorious for a proposed $10 million ad campaign targeting President Obama's association with the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
LPAC is the first of its kind, said its chair and treasurer Sarah Schmidt. While other groups - EMILY's List, HRC, and the Victory Fund, for example - work on women's and LGBT issues, no other Lesbian-led PACs or super PACs exist.
Schmidt also noted that, unlike other PACs funded by the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson, or Foster Friess, LPAC is not the creation of one or two super-rich individuals.
'If you look at the list of women who are engaged and the donors who have given, we're all people of resources, obviously & but we're also pretty normal,' she said. 'This isn't a PAC started by one person with millions and millions of dollars.'
Schmidt said LPAC also differs from other PACs in deliberately not focusing on this year's presidential race. The group will contribute only to down-ballot candidates, she said. LPAC will continue 'aggressive' fundraising as it determines which candidates to back in the fall.
'We'll be working really hard all summer and into fall, but our biggest goal is to be fundraising and then working to build a network among the women who get involved,' she said. 'Our long-term vision is that this PAC exists beyond the 2012 [election] cycle.'
The LPAC project began in the fall of 2011, when Schmidt and several other women met in New York to discuss the viability of a Lesbian super PAC. After talking with friends and networking with others in the Lesbian and LGBT community, Schmidt said, it was clear that there is a space for such a group.
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