Kate Brown rolls out ambitious gun safety agenda

On Friday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced a series of executive orders taking aim at gaps in gun laws that allow firearms to be purchased by the wrong people. 

From KGW

Governor Brown will take immediate action through executive order to give Oregon State Police and local authorities more tools to track and analyze gun transactions.

The governor says these tools can be used in the prosecution of illegal firearms sales and help to keep guns from falling into the wrong hands.

Additionally, Governor Brown's executive order establishes a new work group to review and assess firearms-related domestic violence offenses.

The executive order also directs the Oregon Health Authority to report annually on gun violence and its effect on public health, and when warranted, recommend polices to increase gun safety in Oregon.

Gov. Brown also announced a plan to pass measures closing what she calls the "Charleston loophole" and the "boyfriend loophoole" –- allowing gun purchases by those whose background checks took longer than three days and by some perpetrators of domestic violence -- in the 2017 legislative session. 

Brown is the first openly bisexual governor -- and only current openly LGBT governor -- in America. 

Support her campaign >>

Mark Takano takes key post on Veterans Committee

Victory candidate U.S. Representative Mark Takano of California last week became the ranking member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Takano’s spokesman told military.com that the congressman is meeting with fellow Democrats on the committee to talk specific goals. “[The] first priority is for the committee to continue its work at full-speed during this transition period," he said. 

His spokesman said Takano is determined to work on veterans’ access to mental health care and support, avoiding privatization of the VA health system while still improving it, and making the VA accountable without violating employees' due process.

Rep. Mark Takano was promoted to the position following the indictment of Representative Corinne Brown of Florida.

In his press release following the announcement Rep. Takano said, “I am humbled to assume the role of Acting Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, in accordance with the rules of the Democratic Caucus. I am committed to working with my colleagues to provide our nation’s veterans the care and support they deserve.”

Takano is the first openly gay person of color in Congress. 

Matt Heinz race gets boost from DCCC

Victory Spotlight Candidate Dr. Matt Heinz was among ten candidates newly designated as "Emerging Races" within the Red to Blue program of the Democratic Party's Congressional campaign arm. 

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) had previously held off on including Arizona's District 2 in the program, despite the nearly even registration of Democrats, Republicans and independents. But the previous round of announcements to the program took place while many Congressional primaries were still underway, and before the rise of Donald Trump to the top of the GOP ticket. 

The DCCC's support of Heinz is significant since he still has a primary opponent. Though the presence of an opponent previously kept many national players out of the race, Heinz has shown his fundraising prowess in the primary. Heinz has raised more than $600,000 over the lifetime of his campaign and has nearly $390,000 cash on hand. His primary opponent only has about $45,000 cash on hand. (These figures exclude the second quarter of 2016, which the FEC requires to be filed by July 15.)

Arizona's Second District was the most competitive Congressional district in 2014, with incumbent Republican Martha McSally winning by a mere 167 votes. 

In their memo, the DCCC noted the district's demographics:

AZ-02 is 56.7% suburban and Hispanics represent 19.9% of the voting age population – both clear indicators that the demographics of this district provide increasingly friendly ground for Democrats with Trump at the top of the ticket.

Learn more about Dr. Matt Heinz and support his campaign with a direct gift. >>

Kyrsten Sinema opponent spent campaign money on teeth whitening, handgun

David Giles, who is running in the Republican primary to challenge incumbent Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona’s 9th District, cited a teeth whitening procedure as a campaign expense on an FEC report.

He also spent more than $1,000 on clothing, $500 on t-shirts for a teen abstinence event and nearly $3,000 on “tactical equipment” for his office, including a handgun.

Inexperience is clearly at play. “I’m still learning how to file FEC reports,” Giles told the Arizona Republic, which also reported that he paid $100,000 to Gary Price, a former Arizona Corporation Commission member, as his campaign advisor.

Sinema, the first openly bisexual person in Congress, should have no trouble keeping her seat in a district labeled Safe Democrat by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call

Beth Tuura racks up endorsements in Florida House race

Beth Tuura, candidate currently for House District 47 in Florida, was endorsed today by Rep. Victor Torres of neighboring District 48.  

"Beth Tuura is the woman we need to fight for working families in Florida. She is the type of person who will get things done, and that is why I proudly endorse her for State Representative," Torres said in a statement. Torres' endorsement joins a growing list of impressive names that have thrown their support behind Tuura. These other endorsements include: 

  • Former District 47 Rep. Linda Stewart  

  • Equality Florida Action 

  • Bob Poe, Congressional candidate and former Florida Democratic Party Chair 

  • Florida National Organization of Women PAC 

  • LPAC 

A businesswoman with many years of broadcast experience, Tuura could make history as Florida's first openly lesbian legislator. As stated by Florida Equality in their endorsement statement, "[she] knows how to break glass ceilings."  

Tuura strongly supports reproductive justice, protections for LGBT citizens and expanding Medicaid.  

"I have no doubt that she will act as a strong voice for the people of District 47 and will be an effective force in Tallahassee," said Poe, who is a Victory-endorsed Congressional candidate. 

Learn more about Beth and all our 2016 Spotlight Candidates at victoryfund.org/spotlight.  

Denise Juneau fires back at state's anti-transgender lawsuit

Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction and at-large Congressional candidate Denise Juneau criticized her state's attorney general for joining a 10-state lawsuit against the Obama Administration for its recent guidance on fairness toward transgender students. 

Calling the suit wasteful, Juneau emphasized the role of local schools in welcoming all students. From KPAX: 

“Attorney General Tim Fox has curiously joined a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education, wasting taxpayers’ money,” said Juneau in a press release. “Here in Montana, we believe in local control of our public schools and trust our educators to do the right thing for all students. It’s wrong for Fox to politicize guidance on how schools should implement Title IX.”

Juneau is Montana's only openly LGBT statewide elected official, and her incumbent opponent in Congress, Ryan Zinke, has a long history of anti-LGBT views. Zinke supports spending taxpayer money on companies that discriminate against LGBT people, said that last year's Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage equality "undermines religious freedom," and has a 75 percent score from the Family Research Council's PAC, which is an SPLC-designated hate group

Juneau will become the first American Indian woman in Congress, and the first openly LGBT member of Congress from Montana. 

Learn more about Denise Juneau and our other Spotlight Candidates at victoryfund.org/spotlight.

Jim Gray posts $1.1 million haul in second quarter

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, who's challenging Rand Paul for his U.S. Senate seat from Kentucky, announced that he raised nearly $1.1 million in the second quarter of 2016. 

If elected, Gray would become the second openly gay U.S. senator in history, after Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin. 

From the AP

The Lexington mayor said in a news release his campaign raised $1,083,039 for the fundraising period ending June 30. Gray reported $1.8 million in his first fundraising report earlier this year, but $1 million of that was his own money. Gray said he did not contribute to his campaign in the second quarter.

Spokeswoman Cathy Lindsey said the campaign has just over $1 million in cash available to spend.

A recent poll in the race shows Gray and Paul nearly tied. The popular mayor and businessman thanked his supporters in a Facebook video:

LGBT activist slain in Honduras

At 2 a.m. early Sunday morning, 49 members of our community were senselessly murdered by a lone gunman during Latin night at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and 53 others were injured. Tragically, Orlando is only the latest event in which LGBTI people have been the targets of horrific violence. Just last week, prominent LGBTI and human rights activist Rene Martinez was tortured and murdered in Honduras. A member of Honduras’s National Party, Rene tirelessly promoted the equality and humanity of LGBTI people.     

While authorities in Honduras haven’t discussed possible motivations for the brutal murder, at least four people are being held in connection with the crime. Murders of LGBTI people in Honduras are tragically common, with the lesbian rights group Cattrachas estimating that 227 LGBTI people have been killed since 2009.

Martinez was set to attend a campaign training for LGBT leaders in Central America, organized by Victory in partnership with SOMOS CDC, but he never showed up. His body was found on June 3.

Victory’s Director of International Programs, Luis Abolafia Anguita, led a mourning session with trainees, and one by one, each of them committed to continue Martinez’s struggle for equality.  There was a common message: Attacks against LGBT people won’t silence us and won’t stop our work to achieve full equality.

Victory Fund Statement on Orlando Shooting

The following is a statement from Victory President and CEO Aisha Moodie-Mills:

We at the Victory Fund want to express our deepest sympathies to all those affected by the horrific violence in Orlando. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families and the entirety of the Orlando LGBT community. Together, as a community, we have made amazing progress advancing the cause of equality and inclusion for LGBT Americans, but yesterday we were reminded that there is so much work left to do – for too many, anti-LGBT violence, discrimination and hatred remain a daily reality.

At Victory, we have the privilege of working with brave members of the LGBT community who choose to be public servants, and who have stood up to bigotry and extremism. But this isn’t enough. The fact remains that our community needs courageous leaders at every rung of government fighting our fights, protecting our rights and consolidating the gains that many in previous generations have died to achieve.

We need better, braver public officials and elected leaders that aren’t afraid to stand up to powerful, entrenched lobbies, or the hate-mongers in state legislatures all over the country. But more than bravery or better public service – we need leaders that will fight for and affirm the rights of ALL Americans to live safely, freely and openly.

 

LGBT candidates win statewide primaries

Victory Spotlight Candidates Kate Brown of Oregon and Jim Gray of Kentucky both won their Democratic primaries in a landslide on Tuesday. 

Brown is the incumbent governor of Oregon, and faces her first election for the position. Previouly Oregon's secretary of state, she was installed as governor following the resignation of Gov. John Kitzhaber in 2015. She's the only current openly LGBT governor in the country, as well as the first openly bisexual governor in American history. 

On Tuesday, Brown came in first with nearly 85 percent of the vote, earning more than 400,000 votes in total. 

Meanwhile in Kentucky, two-term Lexington Mayor Jim Gray earned nearly 59 percent of the primary vote, with more than 240,000 votes cast in his favor. Gray became Lexington's first openly gay mayor when he was elected in 2010, and he went on to win a second term in 2014. Gray previously served on the Lexington City Council and was vice mayor from 2007 to 2010. 

Gray now faces Republican Sen. Rand Paul in November. If elected, he'll become the first openly LGBT statewide elected official in Kentucky, as well as the second openly gay U.S. senator. 

Click here to learn more about Victory Spotlight Candidates >>

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