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Read the open letter more than 150 LGBT elected officials sent to Trump

More than 150 LGBT elected officials, representing millions of people from across the country, are calling on President-elect Donald Trump to respect LGBT Americans and continue efforts to advance equality.

In an open letter to the president-elect, 156 elected officials express grave concerns about his cabinet appointees and implore Trump to “be a president for all Americans.”

The letter is signed by U.S. Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney and Mark Pocan, as well as openly LGBT mayors, state legislators, city councilmembers and other LGBT elected officials.

“These LGBT elected officials represent America at its best — diverse leaders who make the values of inclusion, fairness and justice the cornerstone of their policy positions and decision-making,” said Aisha C. Moodie-Mills, resident & CEO of the Victory Institute.

“This letter urges the president-elect to govern by those core American values, and to put forward legislation and policies that improve quality of life for all Americans. They are using their collective voice to demand continued progress on equality, and to make clear they will oppose any efforts that threaten our rights or families.”

More than 40 LGBT elected officials began work on the open letter during a strategy session at Victory Institute’s International LGBT Leaders Conference in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 8, 2016.

Full text of open letter to President-elect Donald Trump:

January 13, 2017

Dear President-elect Donald Trump:

Congratulations on being elected the 45th President of the United States. We are 156 proud lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) elected officials representing millions of constituents, and we urge you to join us in embodying the highest ideals of our great and diverse nation.

The long and divisive presidential campaign is over, and now more than 300 million Americans depend on you to bring our nation together. To do this, we ask you deescalate the hostility and intolerance expressed by a small but vocal minority throughout the election season. We ask you appoint individuals with inclusive policy solutions that aim to better the lives of all Americans. And we ask you declare full support for LGBT equality, and remain true to earlier statements promising to be a president supportive of our rights.

We believe in an America that values and accepts everyone, and a country that strives to improve quality of life for all people, regardless of their background or beliefs. These principles are what distinguish America in an often-troubled world – they are what make America great. And it is the elected leadership of our nation that determines whether our government embodies or undermines those ideals. It is elected leaders like ourselves – from the U.S. president to city councilmembers – that either appeal to the better angels of our fellow Americans, or use fear and rancor to spur unproductive discord.

While we hope you appeal to those better angels and support inclusive and fair-minded policies, we have grave concerns given the individuals appointed to your administration thus far. Nearly all hold anti-LGBT views aimed at denying our community acceptance and inclusion in American society. Many proudly tout legislative records opposing basic rights for LGBT Americans, and others express disdain for our lives and relationships. Intended or not, these appointments signal a Trump administration preparing to rollback recent advances for LGBT people, and an administration opposed to LGBT people living open and free.

Our concern is not unfounded, given our historic gains are recent and vulnerable. Openly LGBT men and women can now proudly serve in the Armed Forces; committed same-sex couples can legally marry nationwide; federal contractors can no longer discriminate against LGBT employees or job applicants; the U.S. State Department is leading the world in advancing global LGBT equality; and more than 300 openly LGBT individuals were appointed to positions in the federal government over the past eight years. These hard-fought advances transformed our place in American society, and we are disturbed that most of your appointees opposed these efforts.

Mr. President-elect, our nation will be weaker if LGBT military personnel are prevented from serving openly and equally. America will be worse off if discrimination protections for LGBT government employees or students are revoked. The entire country will suffer if there is a national attempt to implement “religious exemptions” that allow businesses to turn away LGBT customers. And the world will be a darker place without America speaking against anti-LGBT violence and injustices abroad. We need you to vocally reject our country moving backward – to reject the anti-LGBT positions of your appointees and promise a pro-equality Trump administration.

We also must emphasize the LGBT community is as diverse as our nation. We are black, we are Latino, we are white, we are immigrants, we are Muslim, we are Jewish, we are women, and we are people with disabilities. LGBT elected officials know well the sting and consequences of discrimination, injustice and intolerance, and we carry that lived experience into our policy positions, legislation and decision-making. We hold central the American values of fairness, justice and liberty – and ensure these values are the foundation for our work as public servants. As the nation debates economic security, immigration, women’s rights, voting rights, policing, and mass incarceration, we ask you also apply the American values of fairness, justice and liberty, and ensure the best interests of all communities are incorporated into your policies and positions.

Americans of every political party, ideology, race, ethnicity and religion support LGBT equality – it does not need to be a partisan issue. As elected officials, we understand support for LGBT equality as both morally appropriate and politically shrewd. History looks fondly upon leaders who stand for social justice when those around them argue otherwise. History also views harshly those who fail to recognize and support morally righteous causes – and history will undoubtedly view LGBT equality as both moral and righteous.

We sincerely hope you aim to be a president for all Americans – including LGBT Americans of every race, ethnicity, gender and religion. As representatives of the LGBT community, we will hold your administration accountable for actions that infringe upon our rights and opportunities, and will oppose presidential appointees who denigrate or harm our community. But we much prefer to work with you to continue the incredible progress toward LGBT equality – to have you stand with us on the right side of history. We hope you voice your support for existing rights and protections for LGBT Americans, and commit to furthering LGBT equality during your presidency. We promise to be a strong and persistent voice for equality either way.

Sincerely,

Federal 

Representative Sean Patrick Maloney

U.S. House of Representatives

New York, Congressional District 18

 

Representative Mark Pocan

U.S. House of Representatives

Wisconsin, Congressional District 2

 

Alabama

 

Representative Patricia Todd

Alabama House of Representatives, District 54

 

Arizona 

 

Representative Daniel Hernandez

Arizona House of Representatives, District 2

 

Representative Otoniel “Tony” Navarrete

Arizona House of Representatives, District 30

 

Lawrence Robinson

Governing Board Member

Roosevelt School Board

 

Karin Uhlich

Councilmember, Ward 3

Tucson City Council

 

Arkansas

 

Kathy Webb

Vice Mayor

Little Rock City Board

 

California

 

Senator Toni Atkins

California State Senate, District 39

 

Jovanka Beckles

Councilmember

Richmond City Council

 

Kevin Beiser

Board Vice President

San Diego Unified School District

 

Sabrina Brennan

Commissioner

San Mateo County Harbor Commission

 

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon

West Sacramento

 

Adam Carranza

President

Mountain View Board of Education

 

Chris Clark

Councilmember

Mountain View City Council

 

John D’Amico

Councilmember

West Hollywood City Council

 

John Duran

Councilmember

West Hollywood City Council

 

Representative Susan Talamantes Eggman

California State Assembly, District 13

 

Joel Fajardo

Vice Mayor

San Fernando City Council

 

Ginny Foat

Councilmember

Palm Springs City Council

 

Larry Forester

Councilmember

Signal Hill City Council

 

Mayor Robert Garcia

Long Beach

 

Assemblymember Todd Gloria

California State Assembly, District 78

 

Georgette Gomez

Councilmember, District 9

San Diego City Council

 

Steve Hansen

Councilmember, District 4

Sacramento City Council

 

John Heilman

Mayor Pro Tem

West Hollywood City Council

 

Gabe Kearney

Councilmember

Petaluma City Council

 

Geoff Kors

Councilmember

Palm Springs City Council

 

Senator Ricardo Lara

California State Senate, District 33

 

Steven Llanusa

Vice President, Board of Education

Claremont Unified School District

 

Assemblymember Evan Low

California State Assembly, District 28

 

Rafael Mandelman

Trustee

City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees

 

Alex Randolph

Member

City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees

 

Jeff Sheehy

Supervisor, District 8

San Francisco Board of Supervisors

 

Rene Spring

Councilmember

Morgan Hill City Council

 

Tom Temprano

Trustee

City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees

 

Wanden Treanor

Trustee

Marin Community College District

 

Christopher Ward

Councilmember, District 3

San Diego City Council

 

Scott Wiener

California State Senate, District 11

 

Ken Yeager

Supervisor, District 4

Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors

 

Colorado

 

Representative Joann Ginal

Colorado House of Representatives, District 52

 

Representative Leslie  Herod

Colorado House of Representatives, District 8

 

Debra Johnson

Clerk and Recorder

Denver

 

Representative Paul Rosenthal

Colorado House of Representatives, District 49B

 

Robin Kniech

Councilmember, At-Large

Denver City Council

 

Gwen Lachelt

Vice Chair, County Commissioner, District 2

La Plata County Commission

 

Senator Dominick Moreno

Colorado State Senate, District 21

 

District of Columbia

 

Jack Jacobson

President, Ward 2

District of Columbia State Board of Education

 

Florida

 

Heather Carruthers

Commissioner, District 3

Monroe County Commission

 

Lesa Peerman

Commissioner

Margate City Commission

 

Representative David Richardson

Florida House of Representatives, District 113

 

Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith

Florida House of Representatives, District 49

 

Georgia

 

Representative Park Cannon

Georgia House of Representatives, District 58

 

Representative Karla Drenner

Georgia House of Representatives, District 85

 

Representative Sam Park

Georgia House of Representatives, District 101

 

Alex Wan

Councilmember, District 6

Atlanta City Council

 

Idaho

 

Representative John McCrostie

Idaho House of Representatives, District 16A

 

Illinois

 

James Cappleman

Alderman, Ward 46

Chicago City Council

 

Representative Kelly Cassidy

Illinois House of Representatives, District 14

 

Representative Gregory Harris

Illinois House of Representatives, District 13

 

Raymond Lopez

Alderman, Ward 15

Chicago City Council

 

Colette Lueck

Trustee

Oak Park Village Board

 

Deborah Mell

Alderman, Ward 33

Chicago City Council

 

Carlos Ramirez-Rosa

Alderman, Ward 35

Chicago City Council

 

Debra Shore

Commissioner

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

 

Mark Tendam

Alderman, Ward 6

Evanston City Council

 

Thomas Tunney

Alderman, Ward 44

Chicago City Council

 

Iowa

 

Representative Liz Bennett

Iowa House of Representatives, District 65

 

Senator Matt McCoy

Iowa State Senate, District 21

 

Kansas

 

Mike Poppa

Councilmember, Ward 4

Roeland Park City Council

 

Maine

 

Senator Justin Chenette

Maine State Senate, District 31

 

Representative Ryan Fecteau

Maine House of Representatives, District 11

 

Representative Lois Reckitt

Maine House of Representatives, District 31

 

Representative Andrew McLean

Maine House of Representatives, District 27

 

Maryland

 

Delegate Luke Clippinger

Democratic Caucus Chair

Maryland House of Delegates, District 46

 

Delegate Bonnie Cullison

Maryland House of Delegates, District 19

 

Delegate Anne Kaiser

Majority Leader

Maryland House of Delegates, District 14

 

Byron Macfarlane

Register of Wills

Howard County

 

Senator Richard Madaleno

Maryland State Senate, District 18

 

Delegate Maggie McIntosh

Maryland House of Delegates, District 43

 

Mayor Jeffrey Slavin

Somerset

 

Massachusetts

 

Senator Julian Cyr

Massachusetts Senate, Cape & Islands District

 

Jeremy Micah Denlea

Vice President, Ward 5

Attleboro Municipal Council

 

Eileen Duff

Councilor, District 5

Massachusetts Governor’s Council

 

Mayor Kevin Dumas

Attleboro

 

Representative Jack Patrick Lewis

Massachusetts House of Representatives, Middlesex District 7

 

Mayor Alex Morse

Holyoke

 

Mayor E. Denise Simmons

Cambridge

 

Michigan

 

Mayor Jim Carruthers

Traverse City

 

Mayor David Coulter

Ferndale

 

Mayor Amanda Maria Edmonds

Ypsilanti

 

Representative Jon Hoadley

Michigan House of Representatives, District 60

 

Brian McGrain

Commissioner, District 10

Ingham County Board of Commissioners

 

Jason Morgan

Commissioner, District 8

Washtenaw County Commission

 

Representative Jeremy Moss

Michigan House of Representatives, District 35

 

Richard Renner

Township Supervisor

Pioneer Township

 

Mayor Kenson J. Siver

Southfield

 

Minnesota

 

Representative            Susan  Allen

Minnesota House of Representatives, District 62B

 

Carol Becker

President

Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxation

 

Representative Karen Clark

Minnesota House of Representatives, District 62A

 

Senator D. Scott Dibble

Minnesota State Senate, District 61

 

Representative Erin Maye Quade

Minnesota House of Representatives, District 57A

 

Missouri

 

Shane Cohn

Alderman, Ward 25

St. Louis Board of Alderman

 

Representative Randy Dunn

Missouri House of Representatives, District 23

 

Nebraska

 

Barbara Baier

Member, District 3

Lincoln Board of Education

 

Nevada

 

Representative Nelson Araujo

Nevada State Assembly, District 3

 

Senator David Parks

Nevada State Senate, District 7

 

New Hampshire

 

Mayor Dana Hilliard

Somersworth

 

Christopher Pappas

Councilor, District 4

New Hampshire Executive Council

 

New Jersey

 

Michael DeFusco

Councilman, Ward 1

Hoboken City Council

 

Assemblyman Tim Eustace

New Jersey General Assembly, District 38

 

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora

New Jersey General Assembly, District 15

 

Pamela Renee

Councilwoman

Borough of Neptune City Council

 

Edward Zipprich

Councilmember

Borough of Red Bank Council

 

New Mexico

 

Senator Jacob Candelaria

New Mexico State Senate, District 26

 

Mayor Javier Gonzales

Santa Fe

 

Linda Siegle

Governing Board Secretary

Santa Fe Community College Board of Trustees

 

Senator Liz Stefanics

New Mexico State Senate, District 39

 

New York

 

Assemblymember Harry Bronson

New York State Assembly, District 138

 

Matt Haag

Councilmember, At-Large

Rochester City Council

 

Gregory Rabb

President, At-Large

Jamestown City Council

 

Michael Sabatino

Councilmember, District 3

Yonkers City Council

 

Assemblymember Matthew Titone

New York State Assembly, District 61

 

North Carolina

 

Representative Cecil Brockman

North Carolina House of Representatives, District 60

 

Mayor Lydia Lavelle

Carrboro

 

LaWana Mayfield

Councilwoman, District 3

Charlotte City Council

 

Damon Seils

Alderman

Carrboro Board of Aldermen

 

North Dakota

 

Representative Joshua Boschee

North Dakota House of Representatives, District 44

 

Ohio

 

Representative Nickie J. Antonio

House Minority Whip

Ohio House of Representatives, District 13

 

Sandra Kurt

Clerk of the Court

Summit County Clerk of Courts

 

Oregon

 

Representative Karin Power

Oregon House of Representatives, District 41

 

Pennsylvania

 

Mayor Matt Fetick

Kennett Square

 

Bruce A. Kraus

Councilman, District 3

Pittsburgh City Council

 

Robert Langley

Councilmember

Meadville City Council

 

Lori Schreiber

Commissioner, Ward 14

Abington Township Board of Commissioners

 

Representative Brian Sims

Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 182

 

Tennessee

 

Chris Anderson

Councilmember, District 7

Chattanooga City Council

 

Nancy VanReece

Councilmember, District 8

Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County

 

Brett Withers

Councilmember, District 6

Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County

 

Texas

 

Representative Mary González

Texas House of Representatives, District 75

 

John Turner-McClelland

President, District 11-A

Denton County Fresh Water Supply Board of Directors

 

Sheriff Lupe Valdez

Dallas County

 

Utah

 

Arlyn Bradshaw

Councilmember, District 1

Salt Lake County Council

 

Senator Jim Dabakis

Utah State Senate, District 2

 

Vermont

 

Representative Bill Lippert

Vermont House of Representatives, Chittenden-4-2 District

 

Virginia

 

Delegate Mark Levine

Virginia House of Delegates, District 45

 

Michael Sutphin

Councilmember

Blacksburg Town Council

 

Washington

 

Mayor Dave Kaplan

Des Moines

 

Senator Marko Liias

Washington State Senate, District 21

 

Representative Nicole Macri

Washington House of Representatives, District 43

 

Ryan Mello

Councilmember, At-Large Position 8

Tacoma City Council

 

Michael Scott

Councilor, Central Ward

Bainbridge Island City Council

 

West Virginia

 

Kevin Carden

Councilmember and Town Recorder

Corporation of Harpers Ferry

 

Wisconsin

 

Vered Meltzer

Alderperson, District 2

Appleton Common Council

 

Michael Verveer

Alder and Council President, District 4

Madison Common Council

 

Wyoming

 

Representative Cathy Connolly

Minority Floor Leader

Wyoming State House of Representatives, District 13

 

Democrats urge DOJ to assist in overseeing Wisconsin elections

Dear Attorney General Lynch: As you are aware, Wisconsin, which we represent, is among 14 states that have adopted new voter restrictions in advance of the November 8 election.

The state’s 2011 voter identification law, one of the strictest in the country, has been repeatedly challenged in federal court due to its discriminatory effects on vulnerable populations’ voting rights.  Due to the law’s contentious nature and poor implementation, coupled with a political environment that is becoming increasingly intimidating, we are requesting the Department of Justice’s assistance in overseeing the state’s monitoring of the election, including by providing poll-monitoring services in Wisconsin.

In 2014, a U.S. district court noted that more than 300,000 Wisconsinites lacked the newly requisite form of identification, and that this population disproportionately included persons of color. Judge Lynn Adelman further observed that state officials “could not point to a single instance of known voter impersonation occurring in Wisconsin at any time in the recent past,” casting serious doubt on the official rationale for the policy.

A second federal court determined earlier this summer that even the “safety net” built into the law to help voters who have trouble obtaining ID was a “wretched failure” that “disenfranchised citizens” who are “overwhelmingly African American and Latino.”

Deeming the provision unconstitutional, Judge James Peterson mandated changes in practice and public education to ensure that that process better serves all Wisconsinites with documentation challenges in obtaining identification so they can vote. Concurring with Judge Adelman, Judge Peterson also expressed “misgivings about whether the law actually promotes confidence and integrity,” and observed that prior to 2011, “Wisconsin had an exemplary election system that produced high levels of voter participation without significant irregularities.”

Unfortunately, since that court order in late July, we have continued to see how Wisconsin’s voter ID law puts the franchise of many Wisconsinites, particularly people of color, in real jeopardy. Over the last month, press reports have revealed that on numerous occasions, Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicle employees provided erroneous and incomplete information to potential voters who are unable to obtain IDs due to a lack of required documentation (like a birth certificate), despite their eligibility for alternative credentials.

These revelations led Judge Peterson to remark on October 12, “I’m very disappointed to see that the state really did nothing in response to my order,” noting that voters are “at the mercy of the DMV, and its staff wasn’t trained well enough to guide people through it.” We are deeply troubled by the prospect of such misinformation contributing to voter disenfranchisement in this election. While further scrutiny by the federal court has prompted state officials to institute additional training and public education efforts at the DMV, there is entirely too much at stake in the limited time left before the election to let this continue without additional oversight.

In addition to misinformation, we are also concerned about potential voter intimidation at the polling places, particularly in light of recent, high-profile rhetoric that alleges “election rigging.” National figures have suggested that there is widespread voter fraud in our country and have encouraged private citizens to monitor the voting behaviors of certain communities for potential misconduct.

Given the flawed efforts thus far by state officials to properly implement this law, with proof of demonstrably false information having been disseminated to voters just days before the election, we fear that irreparable harm may result—particularly to voters of color, who disproportionately bear the brunt of these policies and any Election Day intimidation efforts.

We ask the Department to provide any resources or assistance it can in order to help our state navigate these unsettling circumstances.  For example, the Department has historically provided poll monitors on Election Day to help ensure that all eligible voters will be permitted to register and exercise their fundamental right to participate in our democracy. We therefore urge the Department of Justice to utilize any available election monitoring resources to ensure voters in Wisconsin are able to safely access the polls.

The right to elect our public representatives is unrivaled in its importance to a fully functioning democracy.  With few days remaining until the election, it is imperative that we do everything in our power to limit the amount of harm caused to our state’s voters.

Thank you for your consideration of this request and for the Department of Justice’s ongoing efforts to ensure the fairness of all elections in our country.

Dear North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory …

Dear Gov. McCrory, We write with concerns about legislation you signed into law last week, HB 2, which has overturned protections for LGBT people and sanctioned discrimination across North Carolina. Put simply, HB 2 is not a bill that reflects the values of our companies, of our country, or even the overwhelming majority of North Carolinians.

We are disappointed in your decision to sign this discriminatory legislation into law. The business community, by and large, has consistently communicated to lawmakers at every level that such laws are bad for our employees and bad for business. This is not a direction in which states move when they are seeking to provide successful, thriving hubs for business and economic development. We believe that HB 2 will make it far more challenging for businesses across the state to recruit and retain the nation’s best and brightest workers and attract the most talented students from across the nation. It will also diminish the state’s draw as a destination for tourism, new businesses, and economic activity.

Discrimination is wrong and we believe it has no place in North Carolina or anywhere in our country. As companies that pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming to all, we strongly urge you and the leadership of North Carolina’s legislature to repeal this law in the upcoming legislative session.

Sincerely,

Karen Appleton, Senior Vice President, Box
Brandee Barker, Cofounder, The Pramana Collective
Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce
Chip Bergh, President and CEO, Levi Strauss & Co.
Michael Birch, Founder, Blab
Ed Black, President and CEO, Computer & Communications Industry Association
Nathan Blecharczyk, Cofounder and CTO, Airbnb
Steven R. Boal, CEO, Quotient Technology Inc.
Ron Boire, CEO, Barnes and Noble
Lorna Borenstein, CEO, Grokker
Brad Brinegar, Chairman and CEO, McKinney
John Bryant, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Kellogg Company
Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, co-CEOs, Atlassian
Lloyd Carney, CEO, Brocade Communications Systems, Inc.
Brian Chesky, CEO, Airbnb
Ron Conway, Founder and Co-Managing Partner, SV Angel
Tim Cook, CEO, Apple
Dean Debnam, Chairman and CEO, Workplace Options
Jack Dorsey, CEO, Square and Twitter
David Ebersman, Cofounder and CEO, Lyra Health
Jared Fliesler, General Partner, Matrix Partners
Joe Gebbia, Cofounder and Chief Product Officer, Airbnb
Jason Goldberg, CEO, Pepo
Alan King, President and COO, Workplace Options
Kristen Koh Goldstein, CEO, BackOps
Mitchell Gold, co-founder and chair-man, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
John H. Graham IV, President and CEO, American Society of Association Executives
Logan Green, CEO, Lyft
Mike Gregoire, CEO, CA Technologies
Paul Graham, Founder, Y Combinator
David Hassell, CEO, 15Five
Charles H. Hill III, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources, Pfizer Inc.
Reid Hoffman, Chairman, LinkedIn
Robert Hohman, Cofounder & CEO, Glassdoor
Drew Houston, CEO, Dropbox
William H. Howle, President of U.S. Retail Banking Group, Citibank
Steve Huffman, CEO, Reddit
Chad Hurley, Cofounder, YouTube
Dave Imre, Partner and CEO, IMRE
Dev Ittycheria, President & CEO, MongoDB
Laurene Powell Jobs, President, Emerson Collective
Cecily Joseph, VP Corporate Responsibility and Chief Diversity Officer, Symantec Corporation
Steve Joyce, CEO, Choice Hotels International
Travis Kalanick, CEO, Uber
David Karp, Founder and CEO, Tumblr
Travis Katz, Founder and CEO, Gogobot
Brian Krzanich, CEO, Intel
Joshua Kushner, Managing Partner, Thrive Capital
Michael W. Lamach, Chairman and CEO, Ingersoll-Rand plc
Max Levchin, CEO, Affirm
Dion Lim, CEO, NextLesson
Shan-lyn Ma, CEO, Zola
Tom Mangas, CEO, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
Bill Maris, CEO, Google Ventures
Marissa Mayer, President and CEO, Yahoo
Melody McCloskey, CEO, StyleSeat
Douglas Merrill, CEO, Zestfinance
Dyke Messinger, President and CEO, Power Curbers Inc.
Brian Moynihan, CEO, Bank of America
Hari Nair, Vice President and General Manager, Orbitz.com & CheapTickets.com
Christopher J. Nassetta, President & Chief Executive Officer, Hilton Worldwide
Michael Natenshon, CEO, Marine Layer
Alexi G. Nazem, Cofounder and CEO, Nomad Health
Laurie J. Olson, EVP, Strategy, Portfolio and Commercial Operations, Pfizer Inc.
Bob Page, Founder and CEO, Replacements, Ltd.
Doug Parker, Chairman and CEO, American Airlines
Mike Pedersen, CEO and President, TD Bank, N.A.
Michelle Peluso, Strategic Advisor and former CEO, Gilt
Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google
Mark Pincus, Founder and Executive Chairman, Zynga
Hosain Rahman, CEO, Jawbone
Bill Ready, CEO, Braintree
Evan Reece, CEO, Liftopia
Stan Reiss, General Partner, Matrix Partners
John Replogle, CEO, Seventh Generation
Chuck Robbins, CEO, Cisco Systems
Virginia M. Rometty, Chairman, President and CEO, IBM Corporation
Dan Rosensweig, CEO, Chegg
Kevin P. Ryan, Founder and Chairman, Alleycorp
Bijan Sabet, General Partner, Spark Capital
Julie Samuels, President, Engine
George A. Scangos, PhD, CEO, Biogen
Steve Schoch, CEO, Miramax
Dan Schulman, President and CEO, PayPal
Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO, Starbucks
Adam Shankman, Director and Producer
Gary Shapiro, President and CEO, Consumer Technology Association
David A. Shaywitz, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer, DNAnexus
Behshad Sheldon, President and CEO, Braeburn Pharmaceuticals
Ben Silbermann, CEO, Pinterest
Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft
Arne Sorenson, President and CEO, Marriott International
David Spector, Cofounder, ThirdLove
Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO, Yelp
Julie Sweet, Group Chief Executive North America, Accenture
Bret Taylor, CEO, Quip
Todd Thibodeaux, CEO, CompTIA
David Tisch, Managing Partner, BoxGroup
Nirav Tolia, Cofounder and CEO, Nextdoor
Kevin A. Trapani, President and CEO, The Redwood Groups
Mark Trudeau, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals
Ken Wasch, President, Software & Information Industry Association
Casey Wasserman, Chairman and CEO of Wasserman & President and CEO of the Wasserman Foundation
Bob & Harvey Weinstein, Co-Founders and Co-Chairmen, The Weinstein Company
Devin Wenig, CEO, eBay
Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO, Facebook

Editor’s note: The list of signatories continues to grow. 

To All Candidates Running for President: Reject Bigotry

Since the tragic attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, the world has watched some American politicians react with hatred, bigotry and vile untruths. They have exploited the politics of nativism and fear, using the atrocities committed by a few individuals to cast blanket suspicion on whole nations and all Muslims.

America must be better than this.

We are a nation of immigrants founded on the principles of justice, equality, and democracy. Our commitment to these ideals has not always been perfect, and it is horrifying to hear politicians use past examples of national shame, such as the internment of Japanese Americans, to justify discrimination today.  Our nation and political leaders should instead set an example for people around the world with resilience and hope. Equality and religious freedom are principles enshrined in our founding documents and reflected in our laws. They are not mere concepts to be discarded in difficult times.

Calls to ban Muslims from entering the United States and prohibit the resettlement of refugees fleeing the Islamic State in Syria undermine core American principles by fomenting hate, division, and discrimination. Such hateful rhetoric has given rise to a tide of racism, hatred, and violence against law-abiding American Muslims. It is deeply distressing that hate crimes against American Muslims — and those who appear to be Muslim — are up when all kinds of hate crimes are down. This terrible fact cannot be divorced from the dangerous rhetoric that has seeped into the mainstream in recent weeks.

American Muslims are our neighbors, friends, and colleagues. They are us.

Our political leaders not only set the tone for our nation. They also are the primary messengers to the rest of the world.  When they call for compassion, dignity, and equality, the world listens. When they call for exclusion and defend bigotry, the world also listens. In a time of global uncertainty, American leaders must do the right thing by projecting the America we have always aspired to be.

We challenge every candidate for the presidency of the United States to stand up against bigotry and division, to oppose the exclusion of individuals from the United States on the basis of religion or nationality, and to affirm a commitment to equality for Americans of all races and of all faiths.

The future of America — and the world — is in your hands. Do the right thing. The whole world is watching.

At Paris climate change summit, mayors call for divestment

A group of mayors from around the world issued a letter this week calling on other cities to divest from fossil fuels in order to support the transition to renewable energy.

The letter contains signatures from mayors of Portland, Oregon; Bristol City, UK; Moreland City, Australia; Boxtel, the Netherlands; Santa Monica, California; and more.

“Mayors have a vital role to play in the transition to a new energy economy. It is time we invest in supporting our communities instead of destroying our climate. Please join us and divest from fossil fuels,” the letter states.

In 2013, Seattle became the first city to commit to divesting, followed by Canberra, the first national capital to join the movement. A growing number of cities and local governments have joined the divestment campaign in the lead up to the Paris Climate Talks.

“Cities know firsthand the problems brought about by fossil fuels, from urban air pollution to rising seas,” said 350.org Executive Director, May Boeve. “They’re also seeing the opportunity for reinvestment–the money they take out of companies like ExxonMobil can be then invested in companies that are creating green jobs in their community. These cities are helping move the divest-invest discussion into the realm of public policy, setting an example for state and national governments as they do.”

On Dec. 3, 350.org announced that 20 French cities, including Paris, Dijon and Bordeaux, had endorsed fossil fuel divestment.

In the last few months, major cities like Oslo, Melbourne and Munster have also joined the campaign.

Overall, more than 50 cities around the world have passed some form of divestment commitment, with many more campaigns underway. Total divestment commitments have surged to over 500 institutions representing $3.4 trillion in assets.

“In the lead up to the COP21 Climate Summit for Local Leaders in Paris, we, as concerned mayors and municipalities representatives, are calling on our colleagues to follow our steps and divest their city’s assets away from fossil fuels,” the mayors wrote. “Through divestment, we have accelerated the transition to a sustainable future, we urge you to follow this path.”

Signed by…

Mark Mark Buijs – Mayor of Boxtel, the Netherlands
Councilman Seth Yurdin, Providence, RI, USA
Kitty Piercy, Mayor of Eugene, Oregon, USA
George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol City, UK
Kevin McKeown, Mayor of Santa Monica, CA USA
Thomas Donegan, Chair, Board Of Selectmen, Provincetown, MA, USA
Brad Pettit, Mayor, City of Fremantle, Australia
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, Mayor of the City of Melbourne, Australia
Charlie Hales, Mayor of Portland, Oregon, USA
Samantha Ratnam, Councilor, Moreland City Australia
Raymond Johansen, Governing Mayor of Oslo, Norway
Councillor Robert Dryden, Mayor of Cambridge, UK

Walker Watch: Walker’s office copied on letter about loan to donor

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s office was copied on a letter acknowledging that his flagship job creation agency would give a $500,000 loan to a campaign donor’s construction company, raising questions about his statements that he wasn’t aware of the deal.

Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said the Republican governor never received a copy of the letter and reiterated Tuesday that he wasn’t involved in or aware of the loan process for Building Committee Inc.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported Sunday that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. gave BCI the unsecured, taxpayer-backed loan in 2011. The now-defunct company’s owner, William Minahan, gave Walker’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign $10,000, the maximum individual contribution allowed under state law.

BCI never repaid the loan and didn’t use the money to create any jobs, according to the State Journal report. Democrats called Monday for a federal investigation into whether the loan amounted to an improper political favor.

Walker, who serves as WEDC’s chairman and is preparing for potential 2016 presidential run, told The Associated Press on Monday that he wasn’t aware of any part of the BCI loan process. Patrick said the governor wasn’t aware Minahan had contributed to his campaign.

But Paul Jadin, then WEDC’s chief executive, sent a letter in September 2011 to Minahan announcing that WEDC would provide BCI with the loan and detailing the terms. Jadin began the letter by saying he was writing on Walker’s behalf. The letter ends with a line noting that Walker had been copied in.

“In closing Governor Walker and I are firmly committed to doing everything possible to expedite the processing and awarding of this incentive award,” Jadin wrote.

Patrick said in an email to The AP on Tuesday that a review of the governor’s files failed to produce the letter. She said the letter used “template language” that WEDC initially used for award letters and the governor wasn’t receiving copies of any such letters.

Walker has called for WEDC’s board to discuss the loan at its next meeting on July 20.

Walker created WEDC as a private-public partnership to replace the state Commerce Department shortly after he began his first term as governor in 2011. State audits have revealed mismanagement and a failure to track past-due loans. The agency also has seen extensive turnover in its leadership ranks. An audit just this month revealed the agency has failed to follow state contract law and hasn’t tracked job creation.

Young Gifted and Black Coalition: Open letter to Madison Police Chief Michael Koval

An open letter to Madison Police Chief Michael Koval from the Young Gifted and Black Coalition:

Dear Police Chief Koval, 

We are writing you to explain our position and our demands as they relate to your police department. 

First, we think that in comparison to departments in other cities you have done well in protecting our right to free speech at our weekly actions. 

Our targeting of the police department relates to the violence that Black people have faced at the hands of police in the murders of Dontre Hamilton in Milwaukee, Eric Garner in New York City, Michael Brown in Ferguson, and countless others, but it also relates to the violence of heavy policing and arrest rate disparities in Madison. 

Although Madison’s model of community policing and attempt to build trust between the community and police, even acting as “social workers,” may be a step above certain other communities, our arrest rates and incarceration disparities still top the nation. The relationship that we desire to have with the police is simple: no interaction. Our ultimate goal is to be able to hold our own communities accountable and to expel what we consider an occupying force in our neighborhoods. Our people need opportunities for self-determination, not policing. 

The situation in New York City where police have decided to police less, has led to no changes in the crime rates. Thus we can draw the conclusion that decreasing policing in our communities will not lead to an increase in crimes. It is also safe to assume that decreasing policing in our communities will lead to a decrease in the disparity rates we see in Dane County. 

We understand that the system of policing and incarceration is closely linked to the system of slavery and the continued oppression of black people. Our ultimate goal is finding alternatives to incarceration and policing, and our steps forward as a community should reflect the values of community control and self-determination. 

One of our publicly-stated demands is for the immediate release of 350 Black people from the Dane County Jail, with the ongoing demand to keep this number out of the jail in order to remove 350 beds from the facility. This means that, every month, 350 Black people must be prevented and/or diverted from entering the jail, as there are typically 3,900 Black people that cycle through the jail every year. This would eliminate the need for 350 beds in the jail, and also eliminate the need for renovations due to safety and mental health concerns. If there was no structural racism, the jails and the arrest rates should be proportional to the demographics of the population. In a jail of 800, without structural racism and a demographic of 5% Black population there should be closer to 40 Black people, rather than the 400 Black people currently incarcerated. 

Therefore, we demand that Madison and Dane County act swiftly to address structural racism and bias. One of the key reasons that Black people are incarcerated is because of poverty. Jails should not function as poor houses. 45% of people who are incarcerated, are incarcerated because they have not paid bails of $1,000 or less. Therefore, they are not incarcerated for a public safety concern, but rather because they are poor. The proof of this, is that people with money, who have bails of both less and more than $1,000 are not kept in jail—and this is not considered a public safety issue. Therefore we demand the immediate release of people incarcerated due to crimes of poverty. 

This includes arrests for crimes of poverty such as public urination, intoxication, sleeping, retail theft for survival, and low level citations. 

While this is a goal that needs the involvement of other areas of government such as the Municipal and Circuit Judges, other police departments, judges, the DA, prosecutors, Clerk of Courts, public defenders, and those in our community with influence in areas such as education, employment, housing, and health, you and the MPD do have a large role to play. We also include the Mayor’s office, the Criminal Justice Council, and the Common Council as decision-makers in these areas. 

We want to see a plan for how the Madison Police Department is going to do the following to address racial disparities:

Dramatically reduce the number of police contacts with Black people and poor people. 

Significantly increase voluntary referrals to community-led resources and programs when police do contact Black people and poor people. 

Cut in half the number of Black people and poor people arrested to address racial disparities 

Of those arrested, refer as many people as possible to community-led alternatives to incarceration. 

Given that the arrest rate shows that Black people are eight times more likely to be arrested than white people, we demand that disparity cut in half by the end of 2015. (While our emphasis is on the disparity, we also desire to see fewer arrests for everyone–not just Black people–that Madison police come into contact with.) To do this will require an immediate and thorough public review of all Madison Police Department policies and practices to determine which need to be changed or eliminated in order to immediately reduce the racial disparity in arrest rates. 

We want to see the plan involve accountability measures. For example, if you do not reach a particular goal, there will be potential for a funding cut or some other consequence. Also, we would like your plan to include a citizen review board for questions of police misconduct in addition to Public Safety Review Board and the Police and Fire Commission. We aim to move towards community controlled policing with advisory boards in communities throughout Madison and Dane County. We also need you to follow the recent advice of the Department of Justice and release data about arrest demographics in order to address racial disparities. 

Your plan may include diversity training and recruitment of people of color as staff; however, we do not see these steps as significant remedies to existing problems. We believe that change needs to happen at a systemic policy level. It will also involve closer connection to social service agencies and increased restorative or transformative justice programming. 

Your plan should seek to identify best practices from other locations, but not be limited to them, as this is a problem that faces many cities around the country. We need to think outside the box, and we want to lead the way in doing so. 

For many years there have been studies done on how to address racial disparities in the Dane County criminal system and Madison policing that are relevant, but we haven’t seen the concrete action required to make the changes that our communities need. 

Please have your plan completed by the end of February 2015. 

Racial disparities have plagued Madison and Dane County for many years. It is well beyond the time that concrete and intentional efforts are made. We look forward to celebrating with you the decrease in racial disparities at the end of 2015. 

All Power to the People, Young Gifted and Black Coalition