The Agenda

President Obama Joins Victory Fund in Backing 3 LGBTQ Champions

On August 1, Barack Obama announced his endorsement of three Victory Fund-endorsed candidates: Katie Hill, Jared Polis and Matthew Wilson. This is sure to propel their campaigns forward – and Victory Fund is working hard to use the announcement to further boost their visibility and fundraising potential.

All three are groundbreaking candidates:

Katie Hill is running for U.S. Congress and will become the first openly LGBTQ woman elected to Congress from California (and will defeat an anti-LGBTQ incumbent!). California’s 25th Congressional District is one of the most competitive in the country, and while Hill has never held elected office, she has run a $50 million anti-poverty organization that curbs homelessness throughout Southern California. “There many LGBT people on the streets of California, the systemic societal problems that put them there have been the focus of my career at PATH and it’s now time to take this cause to the federal level,” says Hill.

Jared Polis is running for Colorado governor and will become the first gay man elected governor in the U.S. Jared has served in the US House of Representatives for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District since 2009. He also served on the Colorado State Board of Education from 2001 – 2007. Jared is a long-time supporter of Victory Fund and Victory Institute, having spoken and events and trainings around the country.

Matthew Wilson is running for the Georgia House of Representatives and will be just the second openly gay man elected to the state legislature. Since law school, Matt has been an active member of the Stonewall Bar Association. Following the 2016 election, he organized lawyers throughout Georgia to represent transgender Georgians pro bono as they worked quickly to change their gender markers on their government-issued IDs.  For the past four years, he has been an active presence at the state capitol to advocate against “religious freedom” legislation and directly lobbied legislators to oppose such legislation.

Taylor Sappington, running for the Ohio State House, was also endorsed by Obama. He recently attended Victory Institute’s Candidate & Campaign Training in Houston – a four-day intensive training that has helped prepare hundreds of winning candidates, including Jared, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and Virginia Delegate Danica Roem.

For many pro-equality voters and LGBTQ advocates, these 81 endorsements – primarily at the state and local level – are a welcome sign that President Obama is reengaging in the electoral processes after a palpable absence. As organizers and campaigners, history has shown us how different communities have gotten the short end of the stick time after time. Last year alone, over 170 anti-LGBTQ bills were proposed in state legislators and city councils all across the country.

By backing LGBTQ candidates at the local level, President Obama has elevated candidates who will wield the most influence on the issues that impact LGBTQ people, our families, and our allies the most.