Last night, 215 South Broad was buzzing with political talk. Brian Sims, the soon-to-be-elected first openly gay legislator in Pennsylvania (he unseated longtime Rep. Babette Josephs in the primary), welcomed members of the Victory Fund to his headquarters for the “Out to Win” event. The Victory Fund, based in Washington D.C., is an organization dedicated to educating and empowering LGBT candidates around the country. Sims himself has been a part of the organization for years. The reception not only helped to celebrate his own victory – he has no opposition this November – but also to inspire LGBT leaders in Philly to consider their own political futures.
Sims delivered a powerful speech at the event, praising Chris Dietz, an openly gay man who’s also running for the legislature in Central PA, and touting the fund’s value for helping to change the course of LGBT rights in the U.S. He said that the Victory Fund has had a 72 percent success rate electing openly LGBT candidates to office in this country – two times that of the Tea Party. He cited Judge Dan Anders as an example in Philadelphia.
“When we elect each other, we get to go inside,” he said. “And it doesn’t happen accidentally.”
He also encouraged the 60 people in the room to “start paying attention,” noting that Philly has the power to really change the status quo. He also referenced Tammy Baldwin, an openly gay U.S. Representative from Wisconsin, who is currently running for the Senate this election year. Not only is she endorsed by the Victory Fund, but she’s been supported by the first-ever lesbian PAC.
The event was hosted by Harvey Hurdle, Autumn Bayles, Jim Epstein, Tom Hess, Michael Weiss and Angela Giampolo, and sponsored by Mel Heifitz, John Alchin, Kevin Yoder, Arthur Kaplan and Duane Perry.