On Tuesday, Rep. Tammy Baldwin ( D-Wis) announced her bid for U.S. Senate which, if successful, would make her the first openly gay senator in U.S. history. Baldwin is a champion of the rights of the middle class, stating, "I've decided to run for the US Senate because I believe Wisconsin families need a senator who will work hard to deliver results for the middle class - a leader with the courage to do what's right, no matter how tough the odds or how powerful the special interests we have to fight." Other issues that Baldwin plans to address during her campaign include Wall Street reform and the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. The Senate seat is currently held by Democratic Senator Herb Kohl, who will be retiring.
Baldwin is currently the only openly gay Congresswoman. "The fact is, I've been honest about my sexual orientation my entire adult life. And integrity is important in public service...I know that, in this campaign, we'll be up against some powerful special interests. But I've beaten the odds before. All my life, the naysayers have told me that I can't win because I'm a progressive...because I'm a woman...even because I'm a lesbian. And I've proven them wrong," Baldwin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Baldwin is expected to gain strong support from LGBT and women's organizations, having already been endorsed by the Feminist Majority PAC, Emily's List, as well as the Human Rights Campaign. Joe Solmonese, president of HRC, released a statement, saying, "Tammy Baldwin's candidacy for the U.S. Senate is monumental for both the state of Wisconsin and the country's LGBT community. Tammy has proven herself as an effective legislator over the course of her 13 years in Congress and this campaign will be a top priority for the Human Rights Campaign."
Media Resources: Los Angeles Times 9/6/11; Huffington Post 9/6/11; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 9/6/11