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April Fools: GQ raves about gay U.S. Rep. Jared Polis’ fashion sense

Democrat Jared Polis, an openly gay congressman from Colorado, is GQ Magazine’s new spokesman for 2014, the politician announced today in a “news release.”

Calling a polo shirt with a bow tie (potie) “the new black,” the magazine praised Polis for his innovative and groundbreaking fashion sense and noted his ability to “blow up” Twitter and fashion blogs as he explores uncharted style combinations.

“While we were, admittedly, slow to appreciate the ‘fashion genius’ that Congressman Polis’ daring style represents, we can admit when we were wrong, and think that this move more than makes up for that,” said GQ editor in chief Jim Nelson in the “news release.” “I am confident that a wave of polo’s with bowties will sweep across the nation, and we are proud to be at the forefront of this ‘potie’ revolution.”

“I am thrilled to join the definitive authority on men’s fashion as their chief congressional fashion spokesman,” said Polis in the same “release.” “The ‘potie’ revolution brings the classic, formal look of a bow tie with the comfort and flexibility of a polo shirt, and I knew it was only a matter of time before my new look was appreciated.”

GQ’s move come after Polis sent shockwaves through the fashion world rocking a polo shirt and bowtie on the House floor, both meeting House fashion rules and representing the eclectic and creative fashion sense of Colorado’s 2nd District — so said the press release released on April 1, also known as APRIL FOOLS’ DAY.

Colorado congressman introduces marijuana DUI bill

Colorado Congressman Jared Polis has introduced legislation to expand the federal definition of impaired drive to include those who have a cognitive or physical impairment due to the use of marijuana.

The Democratic representative said the Limiting Unsafe Cannabis-Impaired Driving — LUCID — Act is needed now that Washington and Colorado have legalized recreational marijuana. A national benchmark is needed, he said, to protect citizens from drivers under the influence of marijuana.

“As more and more states follow the will of their citizens and implement regulations to treat marijuana like alcohol, it is vital that we keep our roads safe and save lives by updating our driving under the influence laws,” Polis said. “The LUCID Act creates a single federal standard that will protect the public from impaired drivers and train law enforcement officials to effectively identify offenders. I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to work quickly to advance this legislation and keep impaired drivers, no matter what impaired them, off the road.”

The measure has support from law enforcement communities in Colorado, including the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police and the Colorado District Attorney’s Council.

“It is imperative that with the likelihood of the majority of states in the union moving toward legalizing the use of either medical or recreational marijuana or both, that all states adopt robust legislation to prevent and deter driving under the influence of marijuana,” said Tom Raynes, executive director of the Colorado District Attorneys’ Council.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and the state’s transportation department also have endorsed the measure.

States, under the measure, would be permitted to implement their own laws regarding marijuana-impaired driving if such impairment appears alongside alcohol-impaired driving.

Mike Michaud returns to work tomorrow as Congress’ 7th out gay member

When the intensely private Rep. Mike Michaud laid bare his private life and announced he’s gay, one openly gay congressman joked that the Maine Democrat had never registered on his “gaydar.”

As he prepares to return to Capitol Hill this week as the seventh openly gay member of the U.S. House, Michaud said the decision to come out last week was a positive experience that drew support from fellow congressmen and hundreds of constituents — even if it was political nastiness that prompted his announcement.

“People know me as Mike. They know my issues are veteran issues, economic development, health care and jobs, and nothing is going to change,” he said.

Michaud, who’s engaged in a three-way race for governor, used an op-ed provided to two newspapers and The Associated Press to disclose he’s gay, saying he did so to address “whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls” that raised questions about his sexuality.

He said constituents have been supportive, with many finding his honesty refreshing.

Several members of Congress, including Democratic Reps. Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts and David Cicilline of Rhode Island have reached out to show support, as well.

Among them was Republican Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida, chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, who works closely with Michaud, the committee’s ranking Democrat.

“Mike Michaud is my friend and colleague. He is a strong ally in advocating for veterans and his recent announcement does nothing to change that,” Miller said.

Before Michaud’s announcement, there were six openly gay members of the U.S. House. Michaud’s sexual orientation was as much a surprise to at least some of them as it was to Mainers.

Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., who is gay, tweeted in surprise after Michaud’s announcement that “My #gaydar missed it.” He also reached out to lend support.

“I conveyed to him that I felt it was great that he has this load off his shoulders and I know he’ll be an even more effective servant for the people of Maine,” he said.

Back in Maine, political observers said Michaud’s announcement likely won’t have a big impact on the governor’s race. Voters here approved gay marriage a year ago.

Michaud continued a regular schedule of public events after making his announcement. On Friday, the Maine Association of Police and the Professional Fire Fighters endorsed Michaud over Republican Gov. Paul LePage, the incumbent, and wealthy independent Eliot Cutler.

Michaud’s sexual orientation was never mentioned.

“Mike was the same person six years ago when I knew him,” said John Martell, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Maine. “He’s the same person today. It makes no difference whatsoever.”

Michaud, for his part, has never been one to discuss his personal life. He informed his mother that he was gay just hours before announcing it to the world.

He said he doesn’t have a partner and said his private life is “boring.”

“I don’t have a very exciting life, other than public work,” he said. When he’s not in Washington, Michaud is usually traveling the vast 2nd Congressional District to meet constituents.

Polis said he fully expects his colleague to dive back to work on Tuesday, when he’s due to return to Washington after attending Veterans Day events in Maine.

“It’s clear he doesn’t intend to make a big deal out of it,” Pollis said. “It’s done and he’s ready to get back to work.”

U.S. Employment Non-Discrimination Act reintroduced

UPDATED: U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley and Mark Kirk today (April 25) reintroduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban workplace bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

In the House, the bill was reintroduced by U.S. Reps. Jared Polis and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

The chief sponsorship is bipartisan – Merkley is a Democrat from Oregon, Kirk is a Republican from Illinois; Polis is a Democrat from Colorado and Ros-Lehtinen is a Republican from Florida. Polis also is openly gay.

ENDA, in some form or another, has been offered in Congress for nearly four decades.

The probabilities of ENDA passing in the U.S. Senate are higher than in the House, where Republicans hold the majority. However, LGBT civil rights activists cite passage of the Violence Against Women Act earlier this year as an example of what can happen when lawmakers get together on an issue.

And, outside of the Capitol, there’s little controversy over ENDA, which has widespread support from U.S. business and labor.

Voters, according to some polls, support ENDA at a rate of more than 70 percent. And 90 percent of Americans polled wrongly believed federal law already bans discrimination against LGBT workers and job applicants.

“Almost 40 years after my mother boldly and courageously introduced the Equality Act – the first bill ever introduced in the U.S. Congress to prevent discrimination against LGBT Americans and to secure full equality under federal law – the time has now come for the Congress to approve ENDA,” stated Liz Abzug, daughter of Congresswoman Bella Abzug, D-N.Y. “It is time for LGBT Americans to be treated equally under the law, with legal protections against all forms of discrimination and with the legal standing to pursue remedies through the judicial system when those protections are violated.”

Heather Cronk of the activist group GetEQUAL said, “The legal protections offered under the Employment Non-Discrimination Act are desperately needed by LGBT Americans from east to west and from north to south.

“Every day, I hear stories from folks working two and three jobs just to get by, constantly fearful that their employers might find out that they’re gay or transgender. That kind of stress diminishes productivity and workplace stability, but it also strikes at the heart of our own human dignity. This is a problem that needs solving, and now is the time to solve it.”

Student Non-Discrimination Act introduced in U.S. House

A bill to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools is again before Congress, introduced on April 18 by openly gay U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a Democrat from Colorado, and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican from Florida.

The legislation is the Student Non-Discrimination Act. It would prohibit discrimination against any public school student on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, the bill would prevent discrimination against students because of the actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity of a person with whom that student associates or has associated.

Polis said, “Throughout this country, far too many students fall victim to relentless harassment and discrimination from teachers, staff, and their peers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Bullying is a leading cause of poor attendance and dropping out because kids don’t feel safe enough to go to school. Like Title VI for racial and ethnic minorities in the 1960s and Title IX for women in the 1970s, my legislation puts LGBT students on an equal footing with their peers, so they can attend school and get a quality education, free from fear. This bill will ensure that every student has the right to an education free from harassment and violence.”

Ros-Lehtinen said in a news release, “As a member of the Congressional Anti-bullying Caucus and the Equality LGBT Caucus, I am proud to join Jared in the re-introduction of this important legislation that seeks to protect LGBT students against harassment and discrimination.

“No one has the right to victimize others on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Our schools should be learning environments in which students yearn to attend rather than dread. As a former Florida certified teacher, I understand how children can carry the scars of bullying well into adulthood. LGBT students should enjoy safety as all children do. This pro-equality legislation will do just that and I’m proud to reintroduce it.”

The measure has support among civil rights groups and teachers organizations.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said, “School is where young people learn, grow, and develop mentally and emotionally.  It’s a space that must be free of discrimination and intimidation. Unfortunately too many are harassed, bullied, and discriminated against causing many to under-perform or drop out.”

HRC, in a survey of LGBT youth, found that: 

• Among youth who are not out at school, the most frequent obstacle they describe is that teachers or classmates will treat them differently or judge them.

• Sixty-four percent of LGBT teens report that they never participate in after-school or other recreational activities out of fear of discrimination.

• Youth who are out to their immediate family or at school report higher levels of happiness, optimism, acceptance and support.

• LGBT youth experience bullying at school more frequently than their non-LGBT peers. In fact, LGBT youth are twice as likely to experience verbal harassment, exclusion and physical attack at school as their non-LGBT peers. 

Federal statutory and constitutional protections expressly address discrimination in schools on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex and disability, but do not expressly address sexual orientation or gender identity.

As a result, Griffin said, students and parents have limited legal recourse to redress discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

SNDA is modeled after Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex and provides legal recourse to redress such discrimination.

Other reaction:

• Openly gay U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin:Every day, LGBT students across the country are subjected to widespread discrimination, bullying and harassmen. Bullying harms LGBT students and the communities they belong to. It poisons our school culture, deprives our students of their sense of safety, and—all too frequently—has tragic and devastating consequences.

“We must take meaningful, immediate action to end discrimination against LGBT youth in schools. I stand strongly behind the Student Non-Discrimination Act, and the millions of LGBT students it would help. I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation.”

• Hayley Gorenberg, deputy legal director of Lambda Legal: “Ahead of GLSEN’s National Day of Silence, when thousands of students across the country take a stand against bullying in support of LGBT students, we are reminded of the many LGBT youth who feel like they do not have a voice because of the bullying and discrimination they experience in school. At Lambda Legal, we’ve encountered horrendous cases of violence and discrimination against LGBT young people in schools – and sometimes against the allies who try to support them. The Student Non-Discrimination Act takes a big step toward a safer and healthier environment in every public school.”

• Ian Thompson, ACLU legislative representative: “Passing the Student Non-Discrimination Act is the single most important step that Congress could take to improve the lives of LGBT students in our nation’s public schools. Though the pace of positive progress on LGBT rights over the past several years has been dizzying, there is shockingly no federal law that explicitly protects LGBT students from discrimination and harassment in our nation’s public schools. We urge Congress to pass this bipartisan legislation and in doing so affirm that every student deserves the opportunity to attend school and learn without fear.”

• Education Secretary Arne Duncan: “I commend Congressman Polis, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, and Senator Franken for their efforts to curb discrimination and bullying in our nation’s schools especially against LGBT students. We must continue to work together to make our schools safer and more productive places for students to learn.”

• Openly gay U.S. Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island: No young person should ever feel unsafe or unwelcome at their school, but this is the case for many LGBT students in cities and towns across our country. The Student Non-Discrimination Act is a pragmatic proposal that would create stronger protections for LGBT youth and prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in our public schools. I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation that will help ensure that every child in America can learn in a safe environment.”

Openly gay U.S. Rep. Mark Takano of California: “I’m proud to support the Student Non-Discrimination Act as far too many students are being harassed, bullied, intimidated or subjected to violence because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation. By establishing a comprehensive Federal prohibition of discrimination in public schools, SNDA will help create a safe learning environment for all students, regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Gay congressman introduces bill to de-federalize pot policy

Openly gay U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., this week introduced two bills to de-federalize marijuana policy and create a framework for taxing marijuana.

Polis’ Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act would remove the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s authority over marijuana and allow states to choose whether to allow marijuana for medicinal or recreational use.

Blumenauer’s Marijuana Tax Equity Act would create a federal excise tax on marijuana.

“This legislation doesn’t force any state to legalize marijuana, but Colorado and the 18 other jurisdictions that have chosen to allow marijuana for medical or recreational use deserve the certainty of knowing that federal agents won’t raid state-legal businesses,” said Polis. “Congress should simply allow states to regulate marijuana as they see fit and stop wasting federal tax dollars on the failed drug war.”

Blumenauer said, “We are in the process of a dramatic shift in the marijuana policy landscape. Public attitude, state law, and established practices are all creating irreconcilable difficulties for public officials at every level of government. We want the federal government to be a responsible partner with the rest of the universe of marijuana interests while we address what federal policy should be regarding drug taxation, classification, and legality.”

The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act would:

• Remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act.

• Transfer the Drug Enforcement Administration’s authority to regulate marijuana to a newly renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms, which will be tasked with regulating marijuana as it currently does alcohol.

• Require marijuana producers to purchase a permit, as commercial alcohol producers do, of which the proceeds would offset the cost of federal oversight.

• Ensure federal law distinguishes between individuals who grow marijuana for personal use and those involved in commercial sale and distribution.

• Allow states to choose to continue to prohibit marijuana production or use in their states and it would remain illegal to transport marijuana to a state where it is prohibited.

The Marijuana Tax Equity Act would:

• Impose a 50 percent excise tax on the first sale of marijuana, from the producer to the next stage of production, usually the processor.

• Impose, similar to the rules within the alcohol and tobacco tax provisions, an occupational tax on those operating in marijuana, with producers, importers and manufacturers facing an occupation tax of $1,000/a year and any other person engaged in the business facing an annual tax of $500/a year.

• Create civil penalties for failure to comply with taxing duties.

• Require the IRS to produce a study of the industry after two years, and every five years after that, and to issue recommendations to Congress to continue improving the administration of the tax.

Record number of gays run for Congress

Of the four openly gay members of Congress, the two longest-serving stalwarts are vacating their seats. Instead of fretting, their activist admirers are excited about a record number of gays vying to win seats in the next Congress – and to make history in the process.

When the oaths of office are taken in January, Congress could have its first openly gay Asian-American, Mark Takano of California; its first openly bisexual member, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona; and its first openly gay senator, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.

In all, eight openly gay candidates are running as major-party nominees for the House of Representatives, the most ever, including the two incumbents who are favored in their races – Democrats Jared Polis of Colorado and David Cicilline of Rhode Island. There’s one gay Republican in the group, Richard Tisei, who is waging a competitive campaign for a House seat from Massachusetts.

A common denominator in all the races: Neither the gay candidates nor their rivals are stressing sexual orientation, and the oft-heard refrain is, “It’s not an issue.” If anti-gay innuendo does surface from lower echelons of a campaign, there are disavowals – even conservative candidates these days think twice about being depicted as biased against gays and lesbians.

“People know that bigotry is bad politics,” said Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton who is trying to oust one-term Republican Nan Hayworth from New York’s 18th District in the Hudson Valley.

Maloney, who’d be the first openly gay member of Congress from New York, has assailed Hayworth for not supporting federal recognition of same-sex marriage, but says voters are focused on economic and health care issues, not on gay rights.

“The voters in my district care more about why my opponent wants to end Medicare and defund Planned Parenthood than about who I love,” said Maloney, who is raising three children with his partner of 20 years.

The veterans departing from the House are Barney Frank, D-Mass., perhaps the most powerful gay in elective office who is retiring after 16 terms, and Baldwin, who is vacating her House seat after seven terms to run for the Senate. Recent polls show her running slightly ahead of her GOP opponent, former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson.

Thompson has not made an issue of Baldwin’s sexual orientation, and said it was “a mistake” for an aide to have sent emails with a link to a video of Baldwin dancing at a 2010 gay Pride festival.

Chuck Wolfe of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which recruits and supports gay political candidates, said Thompson’s response epitomized the changed atmosphere in which Republicans are less inclined to use sexual orientation as a wedge issue and anti-gay attacks are becoming taboo.

“We still have them happen in local races, but in the federal races we hope we’ll get through them without seeing these kind of attacks,” Wolfe said.

Baldwin’s decision to run for the Senate prompted another openly gay Democrat, state legislator Mark Pocan, to enter the race to fill her seat from the 2nd District based in Madison, the liberal home to the University of Wisconsin. Pocan won a four-way Democratic primary in August and is a heavy favorite to win on Nov. 6.

In Arizona, Sinema and Republican Vernon Parker are squaring off in a newly reconfigured district in the Phoenix area that both parties view as winnable.

Sinema, 36, has been a staunch gay-rights advocate during eight years in the Legislature and is at ease acknowledging her bisexuality. But she responded sharply during her primary campaign after being told that her Democratic rival had suggested that a bisexual couldn’t win the general election.

“It’s true that I’m openly bisexual,” she told the Washington Blade. “I have been my entire adult life, and I’ve managed to win four elections, and, meanwhile, he’s lost two, so perhaps it was being straight that was the problem here.”

Like Sinema, Mark Takano is considered a strong candidate in a newly redrawn and competitive district – the 41st District that includes Riverside, Calif. The GOP nominee, John Tavaglione, hasn’t made an issue of Takano’s sexuality

Takano, a 51-year-old high school teacher, ran losing races for Congress in 1992 and again in 1994, when he was routed by a GOP rival who sent anti-Takano mailers in shades of pink after Takano’s sexual orientation became an issue.

“That became front-page news,” Takano said. “Today, it’s just an interesting part of my background as opposed to being a sensational story… People look back at what happened 18 years ago and say, ‘I can’t believe we ever did those things.’”

In Massachusetts, Tisei, a longtime state legislator, is running a vigorous campaign to unseat Democratic Rep. John Tierney. The National Republican Congressional Committee has included Tisei in its “Young Gun” program highlighting promising candidates.

There have been openly gay Republicans in Congress before – but they came out after being elected. Tisei would be the first Republican to enter Congress as an openly gay candidate.

Tisei is at odds with Republican Party orthodoxy on key social issues. He supports the Massachusetts law legalizing same-sex marriage and favors abortion rights. But he depicts himself as a fiscal conservative, and says the GOP’s stance on social issues will moderate faster if people like himself work from inside.

“I’ve been very welcomed and encouraged by the national party leaders,” he said in a telephone interview earlier this year. “As for issues of equality, you’ll never have true equality until you have advocates on both sides of the aisle.”

The other House races involving openly gay candidates:

– In Colorado, Polis is an overwhelmingly favorite to win re-election in the 2nd District that includes his liberal hometown of Boulder. He and his partner are raising a young son, which makes Polis the only gay member of Congress who’s a parent.

– In Rhode Island, Cicilline, a former mayor of Providence, is seeking a second term in the House but faces a tough challenge from Republican Brendan Doherty, a former head of the state police. During the Democratic primary campaign, there were brief flare-ups over complaints that supporters of Cicilline’s rival, Anthony Gemma, were engaging in anti-gay innuendo.

– In Idaho, Democratic state Sen. Nicole Lefavour – the first openly gay legislator ever in her state – is running against incumbent Republican Mike Simpson in the 2nd District. Of all the openly gay congressional candidates this year, she probably faces the longest odds, given that Simpson won re-election in 2010 with 69 percent of the vote.

In New York, the race between Maloney and Hayworth is distinctive in part because Hayworth has an openly gay son and is one of only three Republicans in the congressional gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender caucus.

Have political dynamics evolved so thoroughly that being openly gay might now be an asset in the race?

“I don’t know I’d go that far,” Maloney said. “But there is a real power in being yourself. When you’re not afraid, when you live your life with honesty and integrity, it makes you a better parent, a better colleague, a better friend and a better candidate.”

On the Web…

The Victory Fund: http://www.victoryfund.org/home 


Gay Rep. Jared Polis addresses convention

Openly gay U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado addressed the Democratic National Convention on Sept. 4, introducing himself as “Jared Polis. My great-grandparents were immigrants. I am Jewish. I am gay. I am a father. I am a son. I am an entrepreneur. I am a congressman from Colorado. I am always an optimist. But first and foremost, I am an American.”

The transcript of his speech follows: 

My name is Jared Polis. My great-grandparents were immigrants. I am Jewish. I am gay. I am a father. I am a son. I am an entrepreneur. I am a congressman from Colorado. I am always an optimist. But first and foremost, I am an American.

And the America I believe in is the America Barack Obama believes in. It is the America you believe in. One where if you play by the rules and work hard, you can get ahead and succeed. One in which loving families of all forms are respected and celebrated as the backbone of society. One in which today’s divisions become tomorrow’s unity, in which we transcend partisan bickering and work together to forge a better future for ourselves and our families.

Diversity is America’s strength, and only by working together, as one nation, can we form a more perfect union. That is why President Obama brought to Washington a vision for one America—an America in which we can overcome divisions of red and blue to make our country greater.

It is why he’s fighting to make citizenship a reality for young immigrants who go to college or serve in our military. It is why he repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell,” so that no person is prevented from serving the country they love because of whom they love. And it is why Barack Obama became the first sitting president in American history to show his personal support for same-sex marriage.

Consistently over the last four years, as our nation has struggled through the worst recession since the Great Depression, Barack Obama has shown strong leadership and taken on politics as usual. He has challenged our nation to come together. Barack Obama is the first presidential candidate to refuse contributions from lobbyists. He set the strictest ethics rules in the history of the executive branch.

His vision for one America, one in which we can overcome our divisions to make our country greater, continues to be an enormous challenge to Washington, D.C., a town with professional pundits and pols, whose entire livelihood is never-ending partisan bickering.

But ladies and gentlemen, now is our chance to tell the dividers no, tell the special interests and cynical Washington insiders no, tell the lobbyists and PACs no, and tell our fellow countrymen and women, gay and straight, Christians, Jews, Mormons, Muslims and nonbelievers, rich and poor, black and white, Latino and Asian, east and west, north and south; it is time to tell them yes, together we are stronger, together we are better, together we are America.

And that is why we must continue bringing America together. So tonight, I don’t just ask my fellow Americans to respect my relationship with my partner Marlon and my role as a father to our son. I also ask them to respect the Christian family concerned about decaying moral values and crass commercialism. I ask them to respect the difficult decision of a single mother to bring a child into this world, because of her heartfelt beliefs.

And it is why we must help that courageous woman have the support she needs after her child is born. We celebrate Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs, even Republicans, because this is their future, too. Republicans mocked our desire to heal the planet, but we will heal it for Republicans too, and we will create jobs for Republicans too.

We are a diverse country, but we are one country. And we are at our best when we come together as Americans, not despite our differences, but in celebration of them. From the newest arrivals to our Native American brothers and sisters, we are one America. Barack Obama understands that together we can take on any challenge, and together, we can move our country forward. Out of many, one!

What’s happening at the Democratic National Convention today

The Sept. 4 schedule for the Democratic National Convention begins with state delegation meetings at host hotels in the morning, followed by caucus and council meetings at the Charlotte Convention Center.

The women’s caucus was meeting in the morning and the LGBT caucus and senior and rural councils were meeting this afternoon in Uptown Charlotte.

After a late-afternoon break, the convention begins at 5 p.m. at the Times Warner Cable Arena, starting with a call to order by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee and a U.S. representative from Florida.

An invocation will follow, then the presentation of colors by the Disabled American Veterans’ Stanly County Chapter 12 Honor Guard, the Pledge of Allegiance by third-graders at W.R. O’Dell Elementary School, the national anthem by Amber Riley of “Glee” and a welcome by Stephen J. Kerrigan, the DNC committee CEO.

Business involves reports from DNC committees, including Bishop Vashti McKenzie, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, Los Angeles Mayor and DNC chair Antonio R. Villaraigosa.

Remarks also will be made by U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, DNC treasurer Andrew Tobias and DNC secretary Alice Germond.

The roll call for attendance is set for 6 p.m., followed by the presentation of the platform by U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee of California, retired Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy and New Jersey Mayor Cory A. Booker.

Evening speakers include North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue, Ryan Case, SEIU president Mary Kay Henry, U.S. Rep. Charles Gonzalez of Texas, U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez of New York, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, Ohio firefighter Doug Stern, U.S. Sen. candidate Tim Kaine of Virginia, Charlotte Mayor Anthony R. Foxx, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Ken Salazar, U.S. House candidate Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts, singer Ledisi, U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler of Florida, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, openly gay U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado, National Abortion Rights Action League – Pro-Choice America president Nancy Keenan, Nate Davis, U.S. House candidate Tammy Duckworth, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, U.S. Rep. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, Stacey Lihn, U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra of California, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius, Chicago Mayor and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, actor Kal Penn, Obama relatives Craig Robinson and Maya Soetoro-ng, women’s rights leader Lilly Ledbetter, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, U.S. House candidate

Joaquin Castro of Texas, keynote speaker Julián Castro, Elaine Brye and first lady Michelle Obama.

Jena Lee Nardella of Blood: Water Mission will deliver the benediction.

Gay congressman Jared Polis announces birth of his son

Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado has announced the birth of a new son, making him the only openly gay member of Congress to be a parent.

While few details of the birth were made available, the Democratic congressman’s press office did release the announcement that Polis and his partner, Marlon Reis, sent to friends and family.

The e-mail announcement said Caspian Julius was born on Friday and weighed in at 8 pounds, 12 ounces. The announcement asked well-wishers for “nice thoughts for Caspian, humankind, the planet and the universe.”

The e-mail message added: “Baby and parents are doing well, baby has learned to cry already!”

It was unclear whether the baby was adopted or born through a surrogate.

Polis is one of four openly gay members of Congress. He’s serving his second term in office. An award-winning philanthropist, he has founded a number of companies and is one of the 10 richest members of Congress, worth an estimated $65 million.