June 28th, 2010
After very deep reflection and analysis by our campaign team and me individually, I have chosen to withdraw from this 2010 New York State Senate Race due to insurmountable financial challenges.
Since this campaign began many months ago we have worked tirelessly not only to run, but to win. This decision to end the campaign was not made easily, but it is clear that our campaign has reached the point where we will not be able to raise the means to communicate with voters at a level capable of victory.
Unfortunately, my campaign was unable to secure the financial backing, institutional support, or leadership we hoped for from within the progressive movement. We cannot prevail without a unified base and I will not divide the same movement from which my campaign was born. Nor will I allow this candidacy to elevate political interests which oppose the values and beliefs we all fight so hard for.
I am eternally grateful for the support, generosity, and commitment all of you have shown me throughout this journey. The people I have met, the ideas we have exchanged, and the lessons I have learned are invaluable experiences that I will forever carry with me. We have advanced important discussions in tax fairness, accountable economic development, political reform, equality and civil rights. Make no mistake, our message has resonated with the thousands of voters we have met and spoken to across the 58th State Senate district. You, and they, have expressed a genuine desire for nothing less than people based policies in government.
Our campaign engaged a level of early grassroots support unprecedented in local politics. Whether you were one of the hundreds that made phone calls, walked door-to-door, attended a fundraiser, or wrote a check, your support means everything to me. Still, we were all in this campaign to win and while this campaign may be over, our cause continues.
For me it will continue in the courtroom on behalf the injured men and women I represent, in our fight for marriage equality, and certainly in a progressive campaign in the future.
For many of my supporters it will continue on the stage, in the court room, classroom or other places where we live and work everyday.
For the leaders of my team it will continue in their daily advocacy for LGBT rights, for the rights of the criminally accused, for women’s health, for a clean and healthy environment, for affordable housing, for economic justice, and for government and financial transparency. There has never been a campaign team anchored by a more talented group of activists and leaders. I am especially grateful to all of you and moved by your friendship.
I remain committed to the cause of progress and know you do as well.
A most sincere thank you,
June 24, 2010
This past Tuesday, Kitty Lambert—Vice President of Community Affairs and President of Outspoken for Equality—and I had the great fortune to attend the Democratic National Committee’s “Day of Pride.”
The event, held in Washington, D.C., came to us by way of a recommendation from the Erie County Democratic Chair Len Lenihan, recognizing the great work that every one of you does, as Stonewall Democrats and Outspoken for Equality members.
It was an honor to have been chosen to represent our organizations at the federal level during this conference. Kitty and I were invited because of the great work our organizations do, and that great work could not be accomplished without each and every one of you, your dedication and your unyielding commitment to the civil rights movement.
And as many good things often do, the invitation to travel to DC and attend a conference where we could meet with national party leaders and policy makers gave us a limited timeframe to work on finding out how we could get to D.C. We held a fundraiser on Saturday to help defray our travel costs, and were extremely humbled by the support we received. We thank you, so very deeply, with our utmost gratitude for your help and support in making our attendance at this conference possible.
On Tuesday, our “Day of Pride” started promptly at 8:30AM. Somewhat tired from previous day’s (and for some of us night’s) travel, we were eager to jump into what the day would bring. Right away, we were able to network and meet people from LGBT groups across the country. We talked proudly of our members and volunteers and the work they do, and compared notes on how LGBT organizing is done throughout our United States, as well as discussing common problems like Democratic officials who don’t support our civil rights.
And then the speakers got underway. We heard from a diverse, wide-ranging cross-section of LGBT Democratic Party players. Given that our political party is such a big tent, and—shall we say—more willing to agreeing to disagree than other parties, there were some speakers who appeared to just shy away from calling for full civil rights, and seemed to gloss over Marriage Equality. However, when true progressives like Senators Al Franken (D-Minnesota), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) took the stage, we came to see that our party does care about all of our issues. These speakers championed Marriage Equality, repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, repealing DOMA and passing ENDA and the Uniting American Families Act.
Perhaps the most reassuring speaker of the morning was Diego Sanchez, a man who works for Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) The first openly transgendered individual working on Capitol Hill, he talked about the concrete plans and strategies already underway for getting the votes to pass urgently needed legislation like ENDA, and gave us a truer view of the dedication which exists in Congress for passing this legislation. It was through speakers like Sanchez, Stonewall Democrats Executive Director Michael Mitchell and Brian Bond, the White House’s Deputy Director for the Office of Public Engagement, that we were able to discuss, first hand, our commitment to legislation such as UAFA, ENDA and ending DADT—and enlist that support from key players in Congress and the administration, who stressed to us their own commitment to seeing this legislation through.
While we were there, we also met with Senator Gillibrand’s office regarding these critical issues, and measures such as Sen. Franken’s Student Non-Discrimination Act, which would establish a comprehensive federal prohibition on bullying in public schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, and forbid schools from discriminating against LGBT students or ignoring harassing behavior.
All in all, Kitty and I had a terrific morning discussing these issues and listening to people like DNC Chair Tim Kaine, Executive Director Jen O’Malley-Dillon and others reaffirm our Democratic Party’s commitment to our issues.
We were incredibly moved and inspired to have been chosen to represent all of our absolutely fantastic members and Stonewall Democrats of WNY on a national level, and we thank you all for allowing us the opportunity to participate in this event. With the passing of Dignity for All Students by the State Legislature, it has been a terrific week to motivate us to even further action on the work ahead.
Recent days have been dark ones for pro-equality citizens, as we experienced great disappointment with the recent failure of GENDA in the State Senate. And yet, when I listened to the others who attended the conference, and watched our state legislature vote to defend and protect the dignity of all our children, I felt that hope which I know will get us across the finish line. I know as an organization we have what it will take to ensure we are successful, at all levels. We will continue to work to elect and protect our pro-equality Democrats who have and will go on to do the work needed to advance our rights. The campaign season is already well underway, and I look forward to the reelection of our officials who champion our causes, and new ones like them in seats where their predecessors did not.
With the great leaders and true progressives we have in elected office and throughout our country in grassroots organizations such as our own, we have in place what it will take to pass ENDA, defeat DADT and DOMA, grant us Marriage Equality and pass GENDA in our state. I thank you, and look forward to continuing our great work together.
By now you have likely heard the great news. The NYS Legislature has passed the Dignity For All Students bill. A tremendous and historic victory for our children, the bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 58-3. DASA will now go to Governor Paterson, who is expected to sign the bill into law. DASA will become law on July 1.First introduced in 2000, DASA had repeatedly been passed by the Assembly, never making it through the Senate. The bill will establish policies and procedures affording all students in public schools an environment free of harassment and discrimination. DASA will also establish training guidelines for teachers and administrators, create rules and preventions for discriminatory behaviors and actions and require the reporting of bias harassment incidents to the State Education Department.The bill is the first time our Senate has voted to extend protections for transgendered people.Stonewall Democrats of Western New York would like to commend our members who worked so hard over the last ten years to see this victory come to pass. This has happened because of you—because of every phone call and letter you wrote to our Senators, every trip you took to lobby in Albany, every story you have told and your commitment to seeing this issue through for our children.We thank with the utmost gratitude our State legislators who have at long last passed this needed legislation. We especially thank our WNY area representatives Assemblymember Sam Hoyt and Senator Antoine Thompson, who have championed this bill and fought to see its passage through.We thank you all.The three Senators who voted no on DASA were Republicans George Maziarz (SD 62), Dale Volker (SD 59) and John DeFrancisco (SD 50.) Call or write your Senator and Assemblymember to thank them for their vote.
!As a reminder, because of the DNC's "Day of Pride," our June meeting, formerly scheduled for this Tuesday, June 22 has been postponed.
OUR NEXT MEETING IS:
TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 2010
EL MUSEO GALLERY
Organizing for America has invited Kitty Lambert and Bryan Ball to Washington, DC!
The Democratic National Committee's (DNC) "Day of Pride" will focus on grassroots LGBT community leaders discussing our current legislation important to our community and civil right with members of the DNC senior staff, LGBT Caucus and LGBT Leadership Council.
We are incredibly fortunate to have been invited-- this is because of the hard work and dedication of each and every one of you, who have made Stonewall and Outspoken the strong organizations they are. We will be representing you, your work and our fight for equality across our state and country.
We will be having an emergency fundraiser to cover the travel costs to attend the invitation-only event tonight, Saturday, June 19.
Help Get Kitty and Bryan to DC!
Saturday, June 19
El Museo Gallery
91 Allen Street
We will be marching in the Pride Parade this Sunday, June 2, 2010. Please come march with us and show your Power of Pride! We will be marching with several of our endorsed candidates and LGBT-supportive friends and family in our government and community.
-We will begin to gather at 12 noon in the parking lot behind Belmont Shelter (1195 Main Street, Buffalo; next to Artspace and across from Delta Sonic.)
-Parade steps off at 1PM.
-Parade ends at Bidwell Park, where we will have an information table which we will also use for voter registration.
Hope to see you there!