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    Post Election Relief and Excitement

    By Zoe Dunning
    Published: November 14, 2012

     

    The fall election is behind us, and overall the results were great news for LGBT Americans. President Obama won re-election, a record number of out LGBT candidates were elected to national, state and local office, and we had pro-marriage equality results in all four state ballot initiatives – another first.

    I can’t emphasize enough how important Tammy Baldwin’s victory was in Wisconsin. She will make history as our nation’s first out LGBT Senator, and Wisconsin’s first female Senator. But there are other reasons why this race was intriguing. Wisconsin, my home state, is not a sure win for any Democratic candidate – it has been a swing state in the last several Presidential elections.  The voters in Wisconsin kept their Republican Governor in office after a bitter recall campaign last year. The Republican Party’s Vice President candidate, Paul Ryan, hails from Wisconsin. Finally, her opponent in this Senate race, Tommy Thompson, is a very popular former Governor with state-wide name recognition. In contrast, Tammy Baldwin represented a single Congressional District in the Madison area, considered one of the most progressive areas in the state. Conventional wisdom would say a Republican former Governor would win handily over a progressive, lesbian Democratic Congresswoman. But thanks to a tremendous grassroots campaign, attention from the Democratic National Committee, and very strong support from the Victory Fund, the entire state was able to get to know Tammy and her record and her vision for Wisconsin. Tammy Baldwin not only won, she won handily – 51.5% to 48.5%. My personal congratulations to an amazing woman – she will represent the LGBT community well in the U.S. Senate.

    Locally, Measure A passed, which will bring critically needed funds to City College. I, like many, have been frustrated by the lack of fiscal oversight and accountability at City College over the past several years.  The inability to make some tough decisions has put the college’s accreditation at risk. The opponents of Measure A questioned whether City College would use any additional funds wisely or would fritter them away. But I have seen the Board of Trustees begin to make some tough decisions, balancing student, teacher, administration, community and fiscal priorities. Without passage of Measure C, students would have suffered the brunt of the blow in reduced services, limited class offerings, higher fees and fewer admissions. So I was relieved and happy to see Measure A pass.

    Also on the local level, we saw the addition of a new LGBT member to the City College Board of Trustees. Rafael Mandelman, even though he entered the race later than most, had a very strong showing with the second highest vote total. Unsuccessful in his bid for the District 8 Supervisor seat in 2010, Rafael will now contribute his considerable energy, experience and expertise to help improve
    City College.

    Christina Olague, the bisexual appointed District 5 (D5) supervisor, lost her bid to retain her seat. In perhaps the most dramatic and controversial supervisorial race this year, London Breed ended up as the top vote getter in the district. She will be the second African-American woman on the Board of Supervisors, joining Malia Cohen of District 10. I know London and I feel confident she will be a strong ally for the LGBT community.

    Overall, the progressive/moderate breakdown of the Board of Supervisors will remain essentially the same. Eric Mar, David Chiu, David Campos, and John Avalos all retained their seats. London Breed, perhaps the most moderate candidate in D5, will now represent the most progressive district. As of this writing, F.X. Crowley and Norman Yee are neck and neck for the seat in District 7 (D7), perhaps the most moderate district. Both men are decidedly more progressive than the outgoing Supervisor, Sean Elsbernd. Essentially those two changes in D5 and D7 will balance each other out, leaving the Board relatively similar as before.

    Personally, I am relieved and excited at the November 6 results. I had a great time watching the results with fellow Stanford Pride Board members and friends at The Lookout on election night. For me it is now a chance to celebrate the results, take a breath, take care of deferred items from my personal to-do list (car wash, pedicure and other critical maintenance activities!!!), and reenergize for the next campaign cycle. I did quite a bit of public speaking, social media, phone banking, organizing, fundraising and precinct walking for a number of candidates and propositions at the local, state and national level. It is incredibly gratifying to know you contributed, especially when your candidate or initiative wins. I encourage all of you to participate actively in a campaign in the next election cycle. Not only will you get a sense of accomplishment, but you will meet fantastic people along the way and have a lot of fun in the process. As my mother used to say to me, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

    Zoe Dunning is a retired Navy Commander and was a lead activist in the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. She currently serves as
    the 1st Vice Chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party