Mich. gays organize for Obama

By Jan Stevenson

Between The Lines Newspaper, Sept. 11, 2008

FERNDALE - Dave Noble is on a mission. He is driven to get LGBT voters to come out strong for Barack Obama, and he is concentrating his efforts in Michigan.

Noble, the National LGBT Vote Director at the Obama for President Campaign, was in Ferndale last Thursday meeting with LGBT activists and volunteers. Although responsible for the entire national LGBT strategy, Michigan is a high priority for him. "This is the only state I am working on personally. It is that important," said Noble who is based in Chicago and has a team of LGBT strategists who are fanned out across the country.

Noble met with about 20 activists at AJ's Cafe in Ferndale, and later that evening he attended a LGBT gathering down the street at Via Nove that was organized by Oakland County Commissioner David Coulter, an openly gay delegate to the Democratic National Convention last month in Denver.

"The Obama campaign is incredibly organized and they have tremendous resources to implement their plan," said Coulter, who worked on the presidential campaigns for John Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000. "This is different than any campaign I've worked on. I can see now how Obama was able to beat Hillary Clinton. His ground operation is amazing."

A former political organizer with the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force in Washington, Noble is ready to go in Michigan with a LGBT ground plan and a staff that is prepared to implement it. All he needs now are volunteers. "We need people to help canvassing, voter contact, on phone banks, and I really want the rest of the campaign to know that the LGBT community is working," said Noble, who said that seven percent of the total votes cast for Kerry in 2004 were LGBT identified voters.

Noble stressed that the first step is for LGBT people to understand just how wide the gap is between Barack Obama and John McCain on LGBT issues. The Obama campaign has created the Obama Pride website at http://www.pride.barackobama.com with information about the candidates positions, actions and campaign news.

"Obama worked for inclusive non-discrimination and hate crimes legislation while in the Illinois legislature, long before he was on the national stage. He includes us in his vision of America," said Noble. "It is important for people to realize that in his decades in Washington, McCain has never - not once - voted to advance our issues. He will govern the same as George Bush on our issues; on judicial appointments, vetoes and legislation."

Meg Charlton from the Michigan Obama for President operation fielded many questions from the gathered activists who were anxious to get started. She quickly organized the next event, scheduled for Saturday Sept. 20 at noon at AJ's in Ferndale, beginning with a LGBT rally for Obama followed by a group canvassing of the local Ferndale area.

How to get involved in Obama Pride:

Attend the LGBT rally for Obama Sept. 20 at AJ's Cafe in Ferndale at noon.

Staff the Obama campaign phone banks - contact the office closest to you at http://my.barackobama.com

Sign up at www.pride.barackobama.com

Get educated on the significant difference between Obama and McCain on LGBT issues.

Make sure you are registered to vote - the deadline is Oct. 6.

Talk to your friends and family about the issues - ask them to support you by voting for Barack Obama on Nov.4.

Find updated resources daily at http://www.pridesourcevotes.com, a Web site dedicated to providing Michigan citizens with endorsements in every national and state race. You can insert your zip code and download a ballot online. Take it with you to the polls this Nov. 4

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