Tag Archives: republican

Democrat Tim Cullen weighs run for Wisconsin governor

A retired Wisconsin state senator who was one of the 14 Democrats who went to Illinois in an attempt to block Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-union legislation said he’s on track for a run to challenge the incumbent Republican.

Tim Cullen, of Janesville, has been traveling the state for months with the intent of running for governor in 2018. He has been the most public about his desire to run against Walker, although several other Democrats are also considering it.

Cullen, 73, told The Associated Press “I don’t know” of any reason that would stop him from getting into the race at this point. Cullen said he was working on lining up the logistics of a campaign, including launching a website and hiring staff, so he could announce it sometime before the end of April.

His comments drew derision from Walker’s campaign spokesman Joe Fadness. “Headquarters in Rockford?” he asked in a message on Twitter.

Cullen, along with 13 other Democrats, went to Rockford, just across the border from Wisconsin in Illinois, in an ultimately vain attempt to stop a vote in 2011 on Walker’s proposal effectively ending collective bargaining for most public workers. Cullen and others remained in Illinois for three weeks before Republicans passed the bill, known as Act 10.

Cullen has been outspoken about the need of Democrats to do a better job reaching out to rural Wisconsin residents who helped fuel Republican victories in the November election. Those rural voters, along with a lack of enthusiasm from urban Democrats, were vital to President Donald Trump being the first Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan in 1984 to carry Wisconsin.

Cullen retired after one term in the state Senate in 2015. He was previously in the Senate between 1975 and 1987. Cullen was head of the state Department of Health and Family Services under Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson for one year, leaving in 1988 to be an executive for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin.

Cullen has toured the state with former Republican Sen. Dale Schultz to speak about the need for more bipartisanship to solve the state’s problems. That moderate approach could be a liability for him in a Democratic primary for governor, when turnout among more partisan party stalwarts is high.

A number of other Democrats also are considering a run, but no one has officially announced. They include state U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, of La Crosse, state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout of Alma, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, state Rep. Dana Wachs of Eau Claire and Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ.

Kind last month refused to rule out a possible run. Walker, in a fundraising email sent Tuesday, singled out Kind as a possible candidate, calling him a “liberal Washington insider.”

Walker hasn’t officially announced his plans to run again, but he’s raising money and making all the moves necessary to launch his bid for a third term sometime this summer.

EPA chief ignores scientific consensus, says carbon dioxide not primary cause of warming

The new chief of the Environmental Protection Agency said this week he does not believe that carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming, a statement at odds with mainstream scientific consensus and his own agency.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who has made his riches in the fossil fuel industry, said measuring the effect of human activity on the climate is “very challenging” and that “there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact” of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

“So, no, I would not agree that (carbon dioxide) is a primary contributor to the global warming that we see,” Pruitt told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

Pruitt’s view is contrary to mainstream climate science, including NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the EPA itself.

NASA and NOAA reported in January that earth’s 2016 temperatures were the warmest ever. The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century, “a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere,” the agencies said in a joint statement.

The EPA says on its website that “carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas that is contributing to recent climate change.” The agency notes that human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, “release large amounts of CO2, causing concentrations in the atmosphere to rise.”

Kerry Emanuel, professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said “Scott Pruitt is just plain wrong on this.”

Emanuel, co-director of the Lorenz Center at MIT, said the most authoritative compilation of scientific research has shown that increasing carbon dioxide has been the dominant source of global warming, followed by methane and other gases.

Environmental groups and Democrats seized on Pruitt’s comments as evidence he is unfit for the office he holds.

“The arsonist is now in charge of the fire department and he seems happy to let the climate crisis burn out of control,” said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune.

Pruitt “is spewing corporate polluter talking points rather than fulfilling the EPA’s mission of protecting our air, our water and our communities,” Brune said, noting that EPA has a legal responsibility to address carbon pollution.

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said the comments underscore that Pruitt is a “climate denier” and insisted lawmakers will stand up to him.

“Anyone who denies over a century’s worth of established science and basic facts is unqualified to be the administrator of the EPA,” Schatz said in a statement.

Pruitt previously served as Oklahoma attorney general, where he rose to prominence as a leader in coordinated efforts by Republican attorneys general to challenge former President Barack Obama’s regulatory agenda. He sued or took part in legal actions against the EPA 14 times.

Pruitt said during his confirmation hearing in January that climate change is real — breaking with President Donald Trump and his own past statements.

Pruitt told Democratic senators that he disagreed with Trump’s earlier claims that global warming is a hoax created by the Chinese to harm the economic competitiveness of the United States.

“I do not believe climate change is a hoax,” Pruitt said.

The Republican has previously cast doubt on the extensive body of scientific evidence showing that the planet is warming and man-made carbon emissions are to blame. In a 2016 opinion article, Pruitt suggested that the debate over global warming “is far from settled” and he said “scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.”

Wisconsin company vies to build Trump’s wall along US-Mexico border

A Dodge County construction company is the lone Wisconsin firm bidding on the federal government’s call for designing and building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Brownsville-based Michels Corp. is bidding to build a wall spanning the roughly 2,000-mile border, the Fond du Lac Reporter reported. The wall is controversial for multiple reasons dealing with human rights, foreign relations and environmental concerns.

About 265 firms had responded to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s pre-solicitation for bids to build the wall as of Wednesday, according to the Federal Business Opportunities website.

Michels Corp. chief legal counsel David Stegeman declined to comment on the company’s interest in the project.

The Government Accountability Office estimates that it would cost on average $6.5 million a mile for a fence to keep out people who try to enter on foot and $1.8 million a mile for vehicle barriers. The price tag will depend largely on the height, materials and other specifications that have not yet been defined

The Wisconsin firm’s co-owner, Tim Michels, unsuccessfully challenged former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold for his congressional seat in 2004.

The Wisconsin company has worked on numerous government projects.

It recently won a $6.3 million U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contract to remove a dam and restore sections of a river near Traverse City, Michigan.

Michels has also worked along the border.

The company installed a 2,400-foot gas pipeline under the Rio Grande River, which lines the border between Mexico and Texas, in 2014.

Michels has more than 30 locations across the U.S. and Canada, and employs more than 5,000 workers. It specializes in construction of oil and gas networks, transportation infrastructure and deep foundations, among other projects.

 

 

Wisconsin Republican threatens to quit Rotary because it won’t sponsor gun shows

A Republican state lawmaker is threatening to drop his membership in the West Bend Sunrise Rotary Club because of the service organization’s prohibition against sponsoring gun or knife shows.

Rep. Bob Gannon said this week that he was temporarily leaving his local Rotary club with the expectation he would eventually quit because he can’t support the anti-gun policy.

Gannon is an outspoken support of gun rights.

The head of the Rotary’s district office did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Rotary International prohibits accepting a sponsorship or a cooperative relationship that supports “the use of addictive or harmful products and activities including but not limited to alcohol … tobacco, gambling, and weapons or other armaments.”

Gannon says Rotary International “has every right to act like a mini United Nations, but I also have the right to no longer support them.”

How often have athletes snubbed the White House?

The routine is familiar. The president makes a few bad jokes. The championship-winning team presents the leader of the free world with a personalized jersey. Everyone smiles for the cameras.

Nothing political about that, right?

Not exactly.

In a divided nation, everything is political.

While presidents have been snubbed before, six players from the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots took it to another level by preemptively turning down an expected invitation from President Trump.

Rest assured, they won’t be the last to mix sports and politics.

“The balance of power in professional sports now rests more with the performers than the owners,” said Stephen Mosher, a professor of sports management and media at Ithaca College. “Without a labor force, (Patriots owner) Robert Kraft has nothing but an empty stadium. He has to let his employees make these political statements if he wants to win. He has to. There’s too many different political views held by players in the National Football League.

“Actually,” Mosher added, “I think it’s quite refreshing.”

The Patriots were part of the political discourse even before they dramatically rallied from 25 points down to beat the Atlanta Falcons in the first Super Bowl to go to overtime.

Kraft is a friend of the 45th president, and quarterback Tom Brady drew plenty of scrutiny when one of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” caps was spotted in his locker at the start of the contentious presidential campaign.

Then, with the Patriots still in the midst of their Super Bowl celebration, tight end Martellus Bennett made it clear he had no intention of visiting Trump’s White House.

Five teammates — defensive back Devin McCourty, running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive end Chris Long, linebacker Dont’a Hightower and defensive tackle Alan Branch — quickly followed suit. Most pinned their decision on political differences with the Republican administration.

Significant, to be sure.

But nothing new.

SNUBBING THE WHITE HOUSE

Since the tradition of inviting sports champions to the nation’s most famous home really began to take off under President Reagan, some two dozen athletes have turned down the opportunity.

That list includes Brady, who didn’t attend a 2015 celebration because of what the quarterback insisted was a “family commitment” but others speculated was because of some unflattering comments a spokesman for President Obama made about the Deflategate scandal.

For some, a trip to the White House was no big deal.

Larry Bird shrugged off an invitation from Reagan after the Boston Celtics won an NBA title, crabbily explaining, “If the president wants to see me, he knows where to find me.” After winning one of his six championships, Michael Jordan said he preferred to spend time with his family rather than hang with President George H.W. Bush. Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison turned down not one, but two chances to visit the White House, pointing out _ quite correctly _ that he wouldn’t have gotten either of those invitations if his team had lost the Super Bowl.

Others cited political differences with those in power in declining.

Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas declined to join the 2011 Stanley Cup champions on their White House visit, writing on social media that the government “has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People.”

Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk passed on a chance to meet with Obama because of the president’s support of Planned Parenthood. Golfer Tom Lehman was even more outspoken when rebuffing a president, calling Bill Clinton “a draft-dodging baby killer.”

HOW IT ALL STARTED

In 1865, not long after the end of the Civil War and before professional baseball was even a thing, President Andrew Johnson met with a pair of amateur teams, the Washington Nationals and Brooklyn Atlantics, according to the White House Historical Association. Given the tumultuous term he would serve after inheriting the office from Abraham Lincoln, Johnson probably figured he could use all the positive publicity he could get.

President Calvin Coolidge invited the hometown Senators for a visit after their dramatic seven-game victory in the 1924 World Series, which proved to be a prudent move. Washington may be first in war and first in peace, but it’s still stuck on that one Series title.

More teams would visit the White House in the years to come, but Mosher points to Richard Nixon as the first president who really pushed for a connection to athletes of all stripes, with some speculating that it was a way to make up for his failed football dreams. Most notably, he began the practice of placing congratulatory phone calls right to the locker room while teams were right in the midst of their championship celebrations.

Reagan, who knew how to work the camera far better than Nixon, stepped up the game by using the White House as a backdrop for well-choreographed photo ops with champions from a wide range of sports. While these appearances were passed off as nothing more than a chance to dole out some well-deserved kudos while escaping the divisive issues of the day, the Gipper surely knew they had everything to do with politics.

“Basking in the reflective glory” of a championship team, as Mosher puts it, never hurts when election time rolls around. “They keep telling us over and over again that sports and politics don’t mix,” he said. “But that’s simply not the case.”

WHAT’S NEXT

Colin Kaepernick’s season-long protest against police brutality and abuses in the justice system seems to have sparked a new activism among professional athletes.

The quarterback’s simple act of kneeling during the national anthem “is very different than what I’ve studied in the past,” Mosher said. “He did it so politely, with so much respect. He wasn’t calling attention to himself. The story only became a story when people noticed it. That stood in stark contrast to the ranting and raving that the political campaign was putting in front of the American public.”

In Week 1 of the NFL season, Bennett raised his fist in a show of support.

Now that the season is over, he’s plunging into another fiery issue.

Given the divided state of the nation, more athletes are sure to follow.

No matter who’s in the White House.

Bowling Green laughs along at massacre that never happened

A White House adviser’s commentary about a massacre in Kentucky that never happened sparked seemingly endless snickering online, with jabs like “never remember” and “I survived the Bowling Green massacre.”

Kellyanne Conway mentioned the fictional massacre in an MSNBC interview as the reason for a temporary travel ban for Iraqis in 2011, saying it also proved why the Trump administration’s ban — now on hold — was necessary.

It thrust this college town back into the national spotlight, nearly three years after a sinkhole that swallowed several classic Corvettes at a museum in Bowling Green garnered worldwide attention.

Even Big Red, the beloved, furry Western Kentucky University mascot, wasn’t immune: One social media post shows him sprawled on the ground with the inscription “Never forget.”

“The jokes are flying for sure,” said Guy Jordan, who teaches at Western Kentucky. “My sense of things is that we are today a city of people walking around looking at their phones and giggling softly to ourselves.”

Jordan quipped the only massacres in Bowling Green have been some of Western’s football victories.

For Bowling Green radio personality Jelisa Chatman, Conway’s remarks were like a gift from heaven as an on-the-air subject.

“You wake up in the morning and you think, ‘What am I going to talk about today?”” she said. “And God is like, ‘Here you go. You need something to talk about, how about this?”

At Home Cafe & Marketplace, the most popular pizza was “the Bowling Green Massacre” pie. The specialty pizza with blackened chicken, mac’ and cheese and jalapenos was on pace to set a one-day sales record at the Bowling Green restaurant, said owner Josh Poling.

“The minute I heard it last night, I was like, ‘Oh gosh, that’s too good of an opportunity to pass up,”” he said.

All proceeds from the specialty pizza’s sales will go to the Southern Poverty Law Center, he said.

Meanwhile, someone registered the domain name bowlinggreenmassacre.com, and people clicking on the site were automatically directed to the website of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Last week, a group of people gathered at a Bowling Green park where they lit candles in remembrance of massacre victims.

Conway initially cited the Bowling Green “massacre” as a reason why the Trump administration’s temporary ban on immigration from several Muslim-majority nations is necessary.

Bowling Green has long had a reputation as a welcoming place for refugees and the city is home to the International Center of Kentucky, a refugee resettlement agency.

In the past 10 years, more than 2,000 refugees resettled in Bowling Green from more than a dozen countries, including some Muslim-majority countries, said the agency’s executive director, Albert Mbanfu.

Walker: Trump picks ‘top notch group’ for cabinet

Gov. Scott Walker says he wouldn’t have run for a third term if Democrat Hillary Clinton had been elected president.

Walker made his comment in a recent interview on MSNBC.

The governor has not said whether he will run for a third term in 2018, but he’s raising money and taking steps as if he is going to do run.

Walker says in the interview “If Hillary Clinton was president of the United States right now, I would not have run for re-election” in Wisconsin.

Walker says he looks forward to working with Republican President Donald Trump on a series of reforms, including welfare programs and how federal aid is sent to the states.

Walker also calls Trump’s cabinet picks a “top-notch group.”

Judge blocks part of Trump’s order, protests continue

President Donald Trump’s order to restrict people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States sparked outrage and hit a roadblock late on Saturday when a federal judge said stranded travelers could stay in the country.

The emergency court ruling was cheered at Boston’s Logan International Airport, one of several major U.S. airports where protesters angry with Trump’s order gathered.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which sought the temporary stay, said it would help 100 to 200 people with valid visas or refugee status who found themselves detained in transit or at U.S. airports after Trump signed the order late on Friday.

The ACLU, along with several groups, filed a lawsuit on behalf of two Iraqi men who were en route to the United States on immigrant visas when Trump issued the executive order banning many Muslims from entering the country.

One of the men, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, was traveling on an Iraqi special Immigrant Visa and had worked as an electrical engineer and contractor for the U.S. government from 2003–2010.

Brandon Friedman, a former Obama administration official who commanded a platoon during the invasion of Iraq, said Darweesh had worked for him as an interpreter. He said on Twitter that Mr. Darweesh “spent years keeping U.S. soldiers alive in combat in Iraq.”

The other man, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi, had been granted a Follow to Join Visa. His wife and 7-year-old son are lawful permanent residents residing in Houston, Texas, and were eagerly awaiting his arrival. Alshawi’s son has not seen his father for three years.

“President Trump’s war on equality is already taking a terrible human toll. This ban cannot be allowed to continue,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

The judge’s order later on Saturday was a dramatic end to Trump’s first week in office, capped by the Republican president’s four-month ban on refugees entering the United States and a 90-day hold on travelers from Syria and six other countries.

Trump had promised during his campaign what he called “extreme vetting” of immigrants and refugees to try to prevent terror attacks.

He told reporters in the White House’s Oval Office earlier on Jan. 28 that his order was “not a Muslim ban” and said the measures were long overdue.

Senior officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security told reporters they had not seen the ruling, but said the government would implement any appropriate orders.

In the ban…

The ban on U.S. travel for passport-holders of seven Middle Eastern states applies to airlines’ flight crew, the International Air Transport Association said in an email to carriers around the world on Saturday.

The email, seen by Reuters, said the executive order from the president caught airlines unprepared.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection briefed IATA in a Saturday afternoon conference call about the new rules, the email said, noting that passport-holders from states such as Iran, including cabin crew, will be barred entry to the United States.

Reaction from Turkey, Britain, Iraq

Trump’s sweeping ban on people seeking refuge in the United States is no solution to problems, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Saturday, adding that Western countries should do more to help ease Turkey’s refugee burden.

When asked by a reporter about Trump’s ban during a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Ankara, Yildirim said: “Regional issues cannot be solved by closing the doors on people. We expect the Western world to lighten Turkey’s burden.”

“You can build a wall but it’s not a solution. That wall will come down like the Berlin wall,” he said, adding Turkey has spent some $26 billion on sheltering refugees.

May, who met with Trump in Washington a day earlier, told the news conference that the United States was responsible for its position on refugees. She has previously said a “special relationship” between the United States and Britain meant the two countries could speak frankly to each other when they disagreed on issues.

Iraqi lawmakers have requested that parliament discuss Trump’s action.

Rinas Jano, a member of the parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said he made the request with several other MPs.

“We want officials from the Iraqi foreign affairs ministry to come to parliament to explain the U.S. decision and discuss the matter,” he told Reuters.

The Iraqi government has so far declined to comment on the executive order signed by Trump.

Yemen is “dismayed” by Trump’s decision, saying that the country was a victim of attacks itself, an official said on Saturday.

“We are dismayed by the decision to unilaterally ban, even for only a month, travel to the United States for people holding Yemeni passports,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Out in force: Massive women’s marches protest Trump

Women turned out in large numbers in cities worldwide on Jan. 21 to stage mass protests against U.S. President Donald Trump.

Hundreds of thousands of women —  many wearing pink knit “pussy”  hats — marched through downtown Washington, and also thronged the streets of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston to rebuke Trump on his first full day in the White House. People — about 75,000 — also marched in Madison.

The Women’s March on Washington appeared to be larger than the crowds that turned out the previous day to witness Trump’s inauguration on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

Organizers of the protest had told police they expected 200,000 people to attend but the crowd looked substantially bigger than that, stretching for about a mile and estimated at 500,000.

Thousands filed past the White House and were ushered back by Secret Service officers on horseback.

A planned march in Chicago grew so large organizers did not attempt to parade through the streets but instead staged a rally. Chicago police said more than 125,000 people attended.

The protests illustrated the depth of the division in the country which is still recovering from the 2016 campaign season. Trump stunned the political establishment by defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton, the first woman nominated for president by a major U.S. party.

“We’re just disturbed by everything Trump wants to do,” said Bonnie Norton, 35. She and Jefferson Cole, 36, brought their 19-month-old daughter Maren to the Washington march.

Although his party now controls both the White House and Congress, Trump faces entrenched opposition from segments of the public as he takes office, a period that is typically more of a honeymoon for a new president.

A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found Trump had the lowest favorability rating of any incoming U.S. president since the 1970s.

Thousands of women also took to the streets of Sydney, London, Tokyo and other cities in Europe and Asia in “sister marches” against Trump.

Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday that “I am honored to serve you, the great American People, as your 45th President of the United States!” but made no mention of the protests. He attended an interfaith service at Washington National Cathedral.

SUBWAY OVERWHELMED

The Washington march stressed the city’s Metro subway system, with riders reporting enormous crowds and some end-of-line stations temporarily turning away riders when parking lots filled and platforms became too crowded.

The Metro reported 275,000 rides as of 11 a.m. Saturday, 82,000 more than the 193,000 reported at the same time on Jan. 20, the day of Trump’s inauguration and eight times normal Saturday volume.

By afternoon, the protest rally had been peaceful, a contrast to the day before when black-clad activists smashed windows, set vehicles on fire and fought with riot police who responded with stun grenades.

Many protesters on Jan. 21 wore knitted pink cat-eared “pussy hats,” a reference to Trump’s claim in the 2005 video that was made public weeks before the election that he grabbed women by the genitals.

The Washington march featured speakers, celebrity appearances and a protest walk along the National Mall.

Crowds filled more than ten city blocks of Independence Avenue in downtown Washington, with more people spilling into side streets and onto the adjoining National Mall.

In the crowd were well-known figures including Madonna and former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who waved to supporters as his walked his yellow Labrador dog, Ben.

WOMEN’S VOTES

Clinton won the popular vote in the Nov. 8 presidential election by around 2.9 million votes and had an advantage among women of more than 10 percentage points. Trump, however, won the state-by-state Electoral College vote which determines the winner.

Trump offered no olive branches to his opponents in his inauguration speech in which he promised to put “America First.”

“He has never seemed particularly concerned about people who oppose him, he almost fights against them instinctively,” said Neil Levesque, executive director of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

The lawmakers who Trump will rely on to achieve his policy goals including building a wall on the Mexican border and replacing the 2010 healthcare reform law known as “Obamacare” may be more susceptible to the negative public opinion the march illustrates, Levesque said.

“Members of Congress are very sensitive to the public mood and many of them are down here this week to see him,” Levesque said.

At the New York march, 42-year-old Megan Schulz, who works in communications said she worried that Trump was changing the standards of public discourse.

“The scary thing about Donald Trump is that now all the Republicans are acquiescing to him and things are starting to become normalized,” Schulz said. “We can’t have our president talking about women the way he does.”

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