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July 18, 2008

Weekend helps activists sharpen election skills

Cincinnati--While many people were out basking in the sun, 26 activists and organizers spent last weekend indoors, sharpening their political skills for the upcoming election.

“Camp Equality,” sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign with state and local groups, gave seminars on message development, blogging, building field plans, relations with the press and voter targeting, among other topics.

“This is a key opportunity for us to get people involved and learn how they can make a difference in the election process,” said Equality Cincinnati board vice president Dan Drent.

The July 12-13 event at the University of Cincinnati was the first of 13 trainings that will be held around the country in the next two months. The other Ohio one is in Columbus this weekend, July 19-20.

HRC is the lead sponsor of the events and designer of the curriculum, in partnership with state and local progressive organizations.

Their Ohio partners include Equality Ohio, Equality Cincinnati, the Kentucky Fairness Alliance, the West Virginia Alliance for Equality, Progress Ohio, America Votes Ohio, the Ohio Democratic Women’s Caucus, Ohio Young Democrats, the Democratic Party GLBT Caucus, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and Ohioans for Healthy Families.

Camp Equality builds on HRC’s Campaign College, which brings 40 college students to Washington, D.C. every summer for campaign training, then moves that model out to the country, training individuals in their own communities and providing them with information about opportunities to engage in competitive political campaigns.

By doing this, HRC hopes more people will join the political process as activists to support candidates committed to equality.

“We are excited to be a part of this opportunity to engage the GLBT community and supporters here in Greater Cincinnati to become more active in this exciting election year,” said  Drent.

“We already know that Ohio is a key state in this year’s presidential election, along with two highly contested U.S. House races,” he continued. “We have started to see changes in the normal voting trends here over the past several elections, and we need to continue to work to make sure our voices are heard and work for change.”

In Cleveland for their April dinner, HRC president Joe Solmonese pledged that his group would have a major presence in the battleground state of Ohio to support the Democratic presidential nominee and at least two congressional races in the state.



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