“All politics is local,” as the old American adage goes.
To increase the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials in “low equality” states and communities across the country, Victory Institute held five leadership summits this year to build and strengthen the LGBTQ community’s political pipeline. Throughout 2018, Victory Institute trained 128 LGBTQ leaders in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (April 14); Milwaukee, Wisconsin (April 21); New Orleans, Louisiana (June 2); Columbus, Ohio (August 11); and Phoenix, Arizona (September 29).
Victory Institute’s Leadership Summits were designed to give openly LGBTQ leaders the skills needed to run for office, the messaging techniques to be effective communicators, and opportunities to network with local LGBTQ elected officials.
At each summit, LGBTQ trainees engaged in conversations on issues important to LGBTQ people across the country and spent time in small groups working on solutions. From improving access to healthcare to strengthening pro-equality coalitions, these conversations demonstrated the range of talent and knowledge within each community.
“Victory Leadership Summits are powerful because they allow us to directly connect local community leaders with openly LGBTQ elected and appointed officials for a day of learning, teaching and inspiring,” said Ruben Gonzales, Victory Institute’s Vice President. “Each Summit begins with a discussion about the issues that impact the local community and at the end of the day we come back to those topics to identify how the leaders assembled in the room can make a difference.”
A special thanks to our equality partners, participating LGBTQ elected officials, and supporting allies, including Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims; Erie School Board Member Tyler Titus, Harrisburg City Councilmember Ben Allatt, Wisconsin Sen. Tim Carpenter, Wisconsin Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, MKE Community Center, Louisiana Democratic Party Executive Director Stephen Handwerk, Forum for Equality, LGBT Community Center of New Orleans, Ohio Rep. Nickie Antonio, Columbus City Auditor Megan Kilgore, Cuyahoga Falls School Board Member Anthony Gomez, Congressional Candidate Rick Neal, Equality Ohio, Equitas Health, United Way of Central Ohio, Arizona Rep. Daniel Hernandez, Arizona Rep. Cesar Chavez, Tempe Councilmember Jennifer Adams, former Tempe Mayor Neil Giuliano, Equality Arizona, HRC Arizona, and one n ten Community Center.
After three four-day Candidate and Campaign Trainings and five Leadership Summits, Team Victory is committed, now more than ever, to our mission to train the next generation of LGBTQ leaders. The Rainbow Wave is here, America.
In memory of the late Ray Bradford, Arizona Democratic Caucus LGBT Caucus Chair, who passed away shortly after attending Victory Institute’s Phoenix Leadership Summit on September 29, 2018. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with his loved ones and the Arizona LGBTQ community.