Dean rallies Democratic National Committee to win in 2006

By |2018-01-15T22:20:26-05:00May 5th, 2005|Uncategorized|

ANN ARBOR – Howard Dean, the new chair of the Democratic National Committee, rallied the party faithful to Washington D.C. last week with a clarion call for Democrats to win in the 2006 mid-term elections. Keith Orr and Martin Contrerras, owners of Common Language bookstore and the aut Bar and former “Deaniacs” in the 2004 presidential primaries, answered that call, joining several hundred others to meet, assess, strategize and plot ways to defeat as many Republicans as possible for seats in the U.S. Congress and in state houses across the country next November.
“Why is Dean the DNC chair?” asked Orr. “It’s simple – because he wants to win! He’s also proved that grassroots fundraising works – $50 at a time – and he is bringing the techniques that worked for the Dean campaign into DNC organizing and fundraising.”
Orr believes that the Democratic Party offers the best chance for LGBT people to see real change, even though he was deeply disappointed that the Michigan Democratic Party refused to formally endorse a “No” position on Proposal 2, the anti-marriage constitutional amendment that passed last November.
“All great social change in recent history has come through the Democratic Party,” said Orr. “Social Security, the Civil Rights Act, women’s rights have all been championed by the Democratic Party. It may not seem like that now. I think the party got sidetracked by trying to be too Republican. I don’t believe in supporting it blindly, but this is the party that has delivered in the past, and that will deliver in the future.”
His support for the Democrats is also in response to a strong distaste for Republican doctrine.
“The content of the Republican party denies us civil rights and social justice. The best [LGBT people] can ever hope for from them is a hands-off policy,” said Orr.
Orr and Contrerras are committed to making the Democratic Party more accountable to the LGBT community, and in getting more Democrats into office in Michigan. For them, the personal is the political. “I have learned that coming out is a political act, and it will remain so for as long as there is a need for change,” said Orr.
Orr described a strategy for the LGBT people to become more proactive in framing the issues.
“We know the Republicans are going to use anti-marriage amendments in other states next year,” said Orr. “Let’s beat ’em to the punch. Let’s get our own initiatives – on housing, employment, or anti-violence. Why wait around for them to frame the issue?”
Orr is particularly concerned about an anti-marriage ballot measure that is expected in Wisconsin in 2006. “Wisconsin has an incredibly progressive history. There is no reason we should lose in Wisconsin unless they frame the issue.”

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