Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus Statement on HB 583
The Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus stands united with our partners the Human Rights Campaign and Equality Florida and equality-minded Floridians throughout the state in strongly opposing blatantly transphobic House Bill 583. This legislation would force transgender Floridians to use public facilities that do not correspond with their gender identity and expression, exposing them not just […]
Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus Statement on Arrival of Marriage Equality
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – The Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus proudly welcomes marriage equality to the great State of Florida and its LGBT residents! For years, same-gender couples have been denied full equality in this state where we live, play and pay taxes, but that has come to an end! Last Tuesday, January 6, was just the […]
Lawsuit Filed By Six Couples to Bring Marriage Equality to Florida
On Tuesday, January 21, 2014, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of six same-sex couples challenging the ban on marriage equality in Florida. The South Florida couples suing for the right to marry are Catherina Pareto and Karla Arguello; Dr. Juan Carlos Rodriguez and David Price; Vanessa and Melanie Alenier; Todd and Jeff Delmay; Summer […]
Caucus Applauds the Supreme Court Decisions on DOMA and Prop 8
TAMPA, FL – The Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus applauds rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court decisions today that struck down a critical section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and reinstated marriage equality for same-sex couples in California. “This is an enormous victory and joyous day for loving, married couples and their families across […]
I have been thinking about Women’s History Month and how to mark its passing for a while. This month has always been a time of reflection, a chance to look back on all that women have accomplished for themselves and the contributions they have made to American history.
Which is why I jumped at the opportunity to sit down with four inspiring women DNC Caucus and Council Chairs at the DNC’s Winter Meeting and discuss what Women’s History Month means to them. Bel Leong-Hong, Iris Martinez, Betty Richie, and Virgie Rollins have been working for American women from all backgrounds and walks of life for decades, and they are happy to share their war stories, with much humor, with the next generation.
There’s no doubt that “we haven’t come as far as we think,” DNC Rural Council Chair Betty Richie explained to me. Whether in boardrooms or at the ballot box, the barriers that women still face are on her mind.
Bel Leong-Hong, DNC Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Caucus Chair agrees. “We are just beginning to get a seat at the table. We have to remind our youth that the world is theirs” if we want to continue making gains in leadership positions.
Of course, a great opportunity to bring young women into the fold is coming up in 2016, as Virgie Rollins, DNC Black Caucus Chair, reminded us. “2016 should be exciting for women,” she said.
The next rising star political woman could come from anywhere – just ask Illinois State Senator Iris Martinez, Chair of the DNC Hispanic Council. She got a job in the mailroom of the Mayor’s office not because she wanted to run for office but because she needed a job.
So this year, with these words of wisdom to guide me, I am embracing Women’s History Month as a call to action to continue the fight for women’s rights and political participation.
Young women can’t assume that the women who came before us have already fought and won on our behalf. Rather, young women everywhere should be inspired by their example to do more and better for ourselves and generations to come.
Here’s one final question that I asked the group: What advice would you give to women looking to succeed in male-dominated fields?
“Never give up.” – Bel Leong-Hong, DNC AAPI Caucus Chair, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence, and Maryland Democratic superdelegate.
“¡Sí se puede! Yes you can!” – Iris Martinez, DNC Hispanic Caucus Chair and Illinois State Senator, first Hispanic woman elected to the Illinois State Senate and to serve as Assistant Majority Leader.
“Just be yourself, be prepared…and break down the door!” – Betty Richie, DNC Rural Council Chair, DNC Women’s Caucus Secretary, 2008 Texas Democratic superdelegate.
“Don’t be afraid, you cannot be afraid! Just go out and be a leader.” – Virgie Rollins, DNC Black Caucus Chair, former President of the National Federation of Democratic Women, first African American woman to Chair the Michigan Democratic Women’s Caucus.
Happy Women’s History Month!
Bridget Hebbard is the Mame Reiley Fellow at the Democratic National Committee.
Washington, DC – DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement on Harry Reid’s announcement that he will not seek re-election to the Senate in 2016:
"Senator Harry Reid is a committed fighter for the people of Nevada, and he embodies the true definition of a thoughtful public servant and a pragmatic politician. As the leader of Senate Democrats for the past decade, he shepherded some of our greatest legislative achievements on behalf of the American people, including the Affordable Care Act and Wall Street reform.
"On a personal note, Harry Reid has stepped up to help me pass critical legislation through the Senate, from swimming pool safety to save children's lives, to my EARLY Act breast cancer legislation, which he added to the Affordable Care Act, helping young breast cancer patients and survivors. It has been an honor to get to know him and fight by his side.
"From Searchlight to the Senate, he has been a tireless advocate for improving people’s lives, advocating for comprehensive immigration reform, a higher minimum wage, and a cleaner environment.
“I look forward to working with him to advance our party’s agenda nationally and in the Congress over the next 22 months.
“He and Landra deserve all the happiness in the world, and I wish them and their family the best.”
Washington, DC – In response to Indiana Governor Mike Pence signing SB 101, a bill that could allow Indiana businesses to deny services to customers based on sexual orientation, DNC Vice Chair, President of the Association of State Democratic Chairs, New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair, and Member of the DNC’s LGBT Caucus Ray Buckley released the following statement:
“In the face of opposition from Indiana’s LGBT community, Indiana’s business community, and the majority of Americans who believe a business should not be able to refuse services to individuals because they are gay or lesbian, Governor Mike Pence and the Republican Party decided to move forward with a damaging bill that turns back the clock on the progress we have made for LGBT equality.
“By signing this blatantly discriminatory bill that will only drive business out of his state, Pence reminds every Hoosier and every American that the Republican Party is more focused on its ideological social agenda than it is on expanding opportunity for the middle class and growing our economy.
“And the fact is, Republican presidential hopeful Mike Pence is far from alone on this issue. Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio have all voiced support for similar legislation and policies that would give businesses the right to refuse services to LGBT people. Just imagine if these politicians had the chance to bring this dangerous and divisive agenda to the White House.
“So while Republicans applaud Mike Pence for allowing Indiana businesses to discriminate against the LBGT community, Democrats will continue to stand with our community and fight for a more inclusive society in Indiana and across the country.”
Washington, DC – After House Republicans passed their budget last night, DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz released the following statement:
“Budgets show the values of the people who propose them, and the latest House Republican budget shows exactly what congressional Republicans and the Republican presidential hopefuls stand for - continuing backwards policies that benefit the wealthiest few at the expense of the middle class, at the expense of our seniors, and at the expense of young people. While Democrats continue to pursue policies that help the middle class and move the country forward, Republicans campaigning for President will have to explain to voters why their party is voucherizing Medicare, freezing Pell Grants, and hurting hardworking Americans instead of building a middle class economy. These are going to be the central questions of the 2016 election, and Republicans better start attempting to explain themselves now.”
Nikki Araguz Loyd: Surviving and Thriving Through Adversity: A Transgender Bathroom and HIV Love Story
Washington – DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued the following statement on last night’s mayoral election in Jacksonville, FL:
Congratulations to Mayor Alvin Brown on being the top vote-getter in yesterday's four-way election. I'm particularly pleased by the number of Democrats who participated in early voting. Mayor Brown has delivered for the people of Jacksonville, making the city a great place to live and work. I look forward to joining other Florida Democrats in helping the Mayor win May's runoff and earn another four years of service.