Primary Q&A: Mark Walsh, Clinton LGBT Outreach

by QNotes Staff  Staff Reports  editor@goqnotes.com
Published: April 30, 2008 in Cover Stories

Q-Notes had the opportunity to pose questions to Mark Walsh, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s National Director of LGBT Outreach. Below are our questions and his responses.

Q-Notes: How has the campaign reached out to LGBT Americans and how does it plan to reach out to LGBT North Carolinians? How do we figure in Sen. Clinton’s overall campaign?

MARK WALSH: Senator Clinton has created “LGBT Americans for Hillary,” her national LGBT steering committee. It is chaired by U. S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin and includes more than 135 openly LGBT elected officials, community, and issue leaders. They provide Senator Clinton with advice, counsel, and feedback on issues of concern to the LGBT community. In addition, within one month of announcing her candidacy, Senator Clinton hired me as her full-time National Director of LGBT Outreach to help her connect with the LGBT community and to advise her on LGBT issues. She also has a press secretary who works to ensure that she has a presence in the LGBT-targeted press.

Some are saying that Sen. Clinton’s win in Pennsylvania was boosted by Sen. Obama’s refusal to speak to the local gay press. How important is it to the campaign that Sen. Clinton and her staff speak and interact with local gay media and organizations?

Senator Clinton believes that it is very important to reach out to gay media and organizations, which is why she has invested in hiring staff members responsible for doing so, and she has worked hard for the support of the LGBT community. In Pennsylvania, Senator Clinton worked very hard to earn LGBT votes. As a result, she won the endorsements of both the Steel City Democrats in Pittsburgh and Liberty City Democrats in Philadelphia.

Many LGBT activists will say that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have our community’s best interest at heart. What does Sen. Clinton say to such statements?

That statement does not apply to Senator Clinton, who has long been a supporter of the LGBT community. She has, for example, been an original co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act for years, and she has said that she will sign this bill into law when she is President. She has also said that she will sign into law the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which she co-sponsored. Senator Clinton has participated in many LGBT community events as both First Lady and Senator. She has marched in New York’s Gay Pride parade four times since 2000; attended the 3rd Annual New York Human Rights Campaign Dinner in 2004; and attended and spoke at the Gay Men’s Health Crisis 25th Anniversary Reception last year. As President, she will continue to support and participate in LGBT community events. We know Senator Clinton will stand up for us, because she has a strong record of doing so. We know we can count on her.

Are there any out LGBT citizens in the running for possible presidential appointments should Sen. Clinton win the nomination and general election?

Senator Clinton is committed to appointing members of the LGBT community to all levels of government. As Senator Clinton has done in hiring a diverse staff for her presidential campaign, I am confident that she will do the same in her administration.

Ed. Note: With the cooperation of Sen. Clinton’s campaign staff, these questions were submitted to campaign advisor Mark Walsh via email. The responses we received were expressly credited to him.