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September 26, 2008

Dozens of volunteers coming to Ohio for political campaigns


Columbus--The presidential campaign of Barack Obama will be boosted in central Ohio by dozens of LGBT volunteers--from Massachusetts.

Led by openly gay Massachusetts Rep. Carl Sciortino and MassEquality director Marc Solomon, the “Not-So-Straight Talk Express” will meet campaign workers from Equality Ohio on October 17 for three days of canvassing. They will seek votes for Obama and for Ohio House candidates endorsed by Equality Ohio.

“Our community has everything riding on this presidential election,” says Sciortino. “That’s why we’re going to be heading to one of the most critical swing states, Ohio, to pound the pavement for Barack Obama.”

“Too many of us are sending YouTube videos of Sarah Palin back and forth on Facebook and losing sleep in angst over the election,” says Solomon. “We say it’s time to get up, get going, and do something to make sure we win.”

MassEquality expects to fill at least one 55-passenger bus to Ohio.

Equality Ohio is arranging for their lodging and hopes to match the volunteers one-to-one with LGBT Ohioans, according to director Lynne Bowman.

The combined group will talk to voters in three central Ohio House districts where the Equality Ohio political action committee has made endorsements.

Districts to be canvassed are the 19th District for Marian Harris, which includes parts of Columbus and eastern suburbs; the 22nd District for John Patrick Carney which includes Columbus and Dublin; and the 20th District for Nancy Garland which includes Columbus and Gahanna.

Bowman said Equality Ohio is phone-banking its membership to support endorsed candidates on Tuesday evenings, and canvassing those districts every Sunday.

“We’re also pushing our members to be visible parts of campaigns, too,” Bowman said.

The Human Rights Campaign also sees Ohio as a must-win in the presidential race and as a state that could help make Congress more LGBT-affirming.

“There are five HRC staff in Ohio right now and we will double that by election day,” said field director Marty Rouse. “We’re very invested in Ohio.”

Matt Thackston is an HRC volunteer from New York working full time for John Boccieri’s congressional campaign in the 16th Congressional District, which includes the counties of Stark, Wayne, Ashland and Medina. Boccieri is a Democrat.

Thackston is working in Boccieri’s office in Canton. He is part of HRC’s Campaign College Program.

Boccieri has HRC’s endorsement and is a targeted race, as are those of Mary Jo Kilroy in Columbus, and Victoria Wulsin and Steve Driehaus in the Cincinnati area. All are Democrats in tight races.

HRC also placed full time volunteer Christian Driver at the Ohio Democratic Party working with LGBT coordinator James Winnett. She is organizing LGBT field operations in nine key state house races.

Rouse said the additional staffers coming in to Ohio will go into the congressional races.

HRC is also encouraging its members to donate money to the four Ohio congressional campaigns, using a tactic known as bundling money.

In order to work on the Ohio House races, HRC formed an Ohio political action committee called the HRC Families PAC.

“It is the legal vehicle needed to do the state legislative work,” Rouse said.

HRC held three campaign activist trainings in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati called Camp Equality, training about 65 people.

Rouse said HRC is also working with the Obama campaign and Obama Pride to get out the LGBT vote for the Obama-Biden ticket.

This material is copyrighted by the Gay People’s Chronicle. Permission is given only to repost the headline, byline, and one or two paragraphs, with the full name of the Gay People’s Chronicle and a link to the full article on our website. Reproduction of the entire article is prohibited without specific written permission.

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