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DNC holds summit
on minority outreach with LGBT activists

DNC holds summit
on minority outreach with LGBT activists

Dean_3

The Democratic National Committee hosted its first American Majority Partnership Summit on August 23-25 in Las Vegas, where 600 participants, including more than 100 LGBT activists, gathered to strategize about the Democratic Party's goals.

The Democratic National Committee hosted its first American Majority Partnership Summit on August 23-25 in Las Vegas, where 600 participants, including more than 100 LGBT activists, gathered to strategize about the Democratic Party's goals.

The five caucuses that make up the DNC's American Majority Partnership are the Asian Pacific Islander, black, Hispanic, LGBT, and women's caucuses. DNC chairman Howard Dean convened the caucuses to increase their participation and maximize coordination among them.

DNC spokesman Damien La Vera said that among some of the ideas they discussed was a new emphasis on reaching out to LGBT youths and LGBT people of color, and using the Internet to broaden the DNC's outreach.

Another development this year was a renewed focus by state parties on increasing LGBT representation. Last year the DNC adopted new rules requiring state parties to formulate and submit LGBT delegate inclusion plans, but the parties were not explicitly required to have numeric goals for LGBT delegates. Though critics feared that the rules were too flimsy, at least 45 states have now set specific targets for the number of LGBT delegates who will represent their party--that's up from just 16 states that had hard numeric goals in 2004.

"It's extraordinary to have that much progress in just the years," Dean told The Advocate.

Dean was "delighted" by the number of red states that decided to add numeric goals to their process. "I wouldn't like to admit that I was surprised, because of course my goal is to get to 51. But I thought if we added 10 states [to the original 16], I would start to have a really significant process. But tripling? I was shocked," he said.

Dean said having more LGBT representation would both promote understanding about gays and lesbians within the party and affect the positions that the Democratic Party adopts for its platform. "The issues are obviously very heavily influenced by the significant powers of delegates. So there's likely to be strong platform planks about equal rights, "don't ask, don't tell," hate crimes, and so forth."

Party delegations also become farm teams for future candidates. "I actually got my start as a county chairman and was a delegate to the national convention," said Dean, "so it certainly does build a bench in the LGBT community for running for higher offices." (Kerry Eleveld, The Advocate)

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