WASHINGTON -- March 7 -- Victory's Candidate & Campaign Training program, run by the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute, a nonpartisan educational organization, will be held March 10-13th in Salt Lake City, Utah. Forty potential candidates, campaign personnel and community leaders from Utah and the surrounding region are registered to attend, including Scott McCoy, a recently appointed Utah state senator and the first openly gay member of the senate.
The bulk of the training will focus on campaign plan and strategy development, fundraising, communications and organizing. Potential candidates will also learn to address questions about their sexual orientation with honesty and dignity, without diverging from issues of real importance.
"Running a campaign is a tough thing, no matter how qualified you are to serve and no matter your skill level or dedication," said Utah State Representative Jackie Biskupski, the legislature's first openly gay member. "But, it can be even harder when people misjudge you based on personal characteristics that you can't control -- like being gay or lesbian. It's important that future candidates learn how to deal with that, so they can focus on real concerns like schools, jobs and public safety."
The trainings provide four-day intensive, comprehensive, non- partisan instruction to openly gay and lesbian candidates, campaign personnel and community leaders, led by proven campaign professionals teaching the political and technical skills required for success. Participants are empowered by the acquisition of skills that make them viable players in the political life of their communities.
Continuing to grow since their inception in 1993, workshops were offered in Florida, Michigan and Louisiana in 2004. Last year, winning gay candidates in California, Florida, Georgia, New York, North Carolina and Texas were graduates of a Candidate & Campaign Training, including Lupe Valdez from Dallas, Texas, who attended the Detroit training workshop in 2004 and recently became the first Latina, lesbian Sheriff in the United Sates.
Additional 2005 trainings will be held in Colorado Springs, Colorado; Boston, Massachusetts; and Seattle, Washington. Further details and applications can be obtained at http://www.victoryfund.org.
Note to Reporters and Editors: To Attend the Utah session, contact Dave DeCicco at 202-842-7308.
About the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute
Founded in 1993, the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute is the only national organization solely committed to the leadership and professional development of the nation's LGBT public, private and not-for-profit leaders. The Leadership Institute strives to provide the best educational and professional development opportunities possible for LGBT leaders, working collaboratively and with a strong sense of community, through a variety of specialized programs and projects. These include: Candidate & Campaign Training, Fellowships to the JFK School of Government at Harvard University, SmartBrief, the Leadership Institute Forum, and the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Conference and International Network of Lesbian and Gay Officials (INGLO).
About the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund
The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund is the nation's largest LGBT political action committee and the only organization whose central mission is to increase the number of gay and lesbian public officials at all levels of government. In 2004, 41 of 65 Victory Fund endorsed LGBT candidates won their races, including five in states that also passed anti-gay amendments in 2004: Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, Oregon and Utah. Since its founding in 1991, the Victory Fund has invested over $15 million and secured more than a fivefold increase in the number of openly gay and lesbian officials serving in America to over 285 today.