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Op-ed: Fred Karger Gets Serious About Jobs in New Ad 

Op-ed: Fred Karger Gets Serious About Jobs in New Ad 


When Fred Karger announced last year that he was running as the first openly gay candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, the decision seemed odd to many of us in the LGBT community. Now that almost a year has passed, Karger's bid is more purposeful and a phenomenon that ought to be embraced by our community.

Karger will kick off today his campaign's final media and organizational push before January's primary in New Hampshire By announcing a new ad focused on jobs.

Karger has had extensive experience in politics and governmental affairs spanning over 35 years. He was involved in three presidential races and ran several successful opposition campaigns, including "Californians Against Hate." He brought public attention to major donors of "Yes on Proposition 8" and boycotts against four mega-donors to Proposition 8, with two that are settled and two ongoing.

According to Karger, the Republican Party is not all negative toward his candidacy.

"I have actually been welcomed into the presidential campaign by many national and state Republican Party leaders from Reince Priebus, the chairman of the RNC, on down," he said. "I have been shut out of the debates, not by the Republican Party, but by the networks sponsoring them."

When I spoke to Karger, he noted that the field is "too big to have all 12 candidates debating at the same time." Still, Karger is vehement when talking about his exclusion from a FOX debate in Iowa, saying, "I did absolutely qualify for the Fox News Iowa debate back in August and they still refused to let me participate." He's filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission and awaits the result of a review.

"I will always fight back if I am treated differently as I run for president," he promises.

Karger is no stranger to fighting against injustice, and perhaps as a community now is the time to show our gratitude. The filing of his sworn complaint against the Mormon Church with the California Fair Political Practices Commission based on illegal campaign activities surrounding the Proposition 8 funding led to a 19-month investigation, culminating in a fine against the Salt Lake City based Church.

He also filed a similar complaint with the Maine Ethics Commission against the infamous National Organization for Marriage, alleging money laundering and reporting irregularities in that state's November 2009 election to repeal its marriage equality law. That investigation is ongoing.

With passionate advocacy, Karger never misses an opportunity to tout his point, as is clear from his recent series of ads where he inserts himself into the FOX and CNN debates. He successfully marries spoof to good reason while admonishing those whom the Republicans deem erstwhile candidates.

Now Karger, after a ruffle of some feathers, is coming at the candidates on a serious note. This is not about being gay or a first at something; Karger has now thrown his earnest cat amongst the pigeons -- a real jobs ad!

Fred Karger will hold a press conference today at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College where he'll announce a new commercial -- "Jobs Now!" It provides what he calls a quick fix. It will run statewide in New Hampshire beginning tonight on WMUR-TV (ABC) and will run for a full week.

The innovative 60-second commercial by California filmmaker Kristina Lapinski, from GAY U.S.A. the Movie (to which I contribute an ongoing blog), will also air on WBIN-TV and cable statewide in this all-important, first-in-the-nation primary state.

Again in green-screened debate and spoofy consistency, Karger charges in like a knight to rescue the sullied elite at the very moment the hetero normative Romney-Cain-Perry-Gingrich clan stumble, unable even to offer canned pitches -- and through editing brilliance of Lapniski, Karger pulls off a real jobs advertisement.

Beating even President Obama in the rating with a 100% equality score, according to the recently published MEUSA chart, Karger's seriousness on the issues is worth the attention of the LGBT community.

While most of us are not Republicans, we still should show some measure of support for Karger during this campaign season. I mean, what do we have to lose? We have everything to gain through visibility and by burnishing gay brilliance in the face of buffoons.

MELANIE NATHAN is a lawyer and human rights activist who is author of the GAY U.S.A. the Blog, which is run in conjunction with GAY U.S.A. the Movie.Follow her on Twitter at @melanienathan1.

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