At the recent GLBT Democratic Caucus held in Hollywood, FL this last weekend, many politicians - gay and straight - made their case for the gay vote in upcoming elections.Among those who spoke were U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch, U.S. Congressman Ron Klein, Florida Party Chair Karen Thurman, Florida CFO Alex Sink, Mrs. Leslie Meek - wife of Congressman Kendrick Meek, State Senator Dave Aaronberg, State Congressman Allen Boyd, Stacy Frank of Tampa/Hillsborough and Cmdr. Rick Wierzbicki of the Broward County Sheriff's Department.
"I've said it at the caucus before, I'm saying it here and I'll say it at the next one too - we're supporting you, but you've got to vote the right way on our issues," Broward Mayor Ken Keechl said to the myriad of elected officials who are now vying for the gay vote in South Florida.
"It's a different day from when I was President of the Dolphins," Keechl continued, "back then we were just so thrilled to have gay-supportive candidates who would even talk about gays and lesbians [even though] they weren't exactly right on our issues. [Now we get to] say to candidates who are supportive but who are maybe not gay or lesbian themselves that we will support you but we're going to hold you accountable if you don't walk the walk as well as talk the talk."
SFGN will keep you informed with even more campaign coverage from this event and others, but as a brief run-down of events from Saturday:
- Michael Rajner was pleased to announce that CFO Alex Sink has committed to develop a state HIV/AIDS strategy to ensure for effective implementation of the recently released National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
- Cmdr. Rick Wierzbicki explained to the caucus the importance of protections he helped to pass against Hate Crimes whereas the homeless are concerned.
- US Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz gave the caucus a very well-received review of the Federal Government's actions on behalf of LGBT's over the past year.
- US Senator Bill Nelson spoke on how the nation's extremists, namely the Tea Party have inhibited us from reaching a concensus on important issues in the Senate. Personally for him, was legislation regarding space travel but he said that NASA should be seen as a "metaphor for every other issue" because it was traditionally a bi-partisan domain until just recently. Nelson also extended a call for gratitude to Robert Gates for moving on the issue of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
- All the candidates who spoke at the caucus seemed to be intimately aware that this could be one of the most challenging years they've faced as a Democrat in Florida. With a few minor exceptions, many of the candidates still stand firm on the lgbt agenda for total equality. The candidates were more "candid" this year than in years past, introducing the LGBT community to their family members, speaking openly and answering questions with warm smiles and hand-shakes.