Lib City to target suburbs in next election

In an effort to elect more LGBT candidates to the state legislature in 2016, the Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club is branching out into the suburbs and surrounding areas, starting with an informal meeting and happy hour next week.

The Suburban LGBT Democrats meetup takes place 6 p.m. July 29 at Revelations, 1832 Markley St. in Norristown. The event is free, and food and drink will be available for purchase.

Specifically, the meetup is targeting LGBT Democrats and allies interested in learning more about the 2015-16 elections, those considering getting involved in the campaigns or people thinking of running for local or legislative office in the future. 

The decision to expand the organization’s outreach into the Philadelphia suburbs came during a strategic-planning retreat last summer.

“We plotted what we would do next, assuming a favorable marriage-equality ruling this summer,” said Tony Campisi, Liberty City co-chair. “We realized that, in order to make progress on nondiscrimination and trans issues, we would have to elect legislators outside the city; we’ve made as much progress as we can in Philly.”

According to Campisi, almost all of the Philadelphia legislators are Democrats and are supportive of LGBT issues.

So the surrounding counties — Delaware, Chester, Bucks and Montgomery — represent the next battlegrounds for the organization.

“We are hoping to galvanize LGBT Democrats in those counties,” Campisi said. “This meetup is just the beginning.”

Campisi pointed towards the recent successful Democratic Party endorsement of openly gay judicial candidate Dan Clifford in Montgomery County — who was a primary winner this spring — as a good sign things are moving in the right direction.

“They’re certainly not the Republican strongholds that they used to be,” he said about the suburbs. “It would be a historic achievement to elect an out judge in [Clifford’s] county.”

Campisi said the meetup is a great opportunity for people to come and meet like-minded individuals and get the conversation going about 2016.

“I’m calling it a ‘get to know you’ meeting,” Campisi said. “People can come, meet and talk to each other and hopefully get involved in this year’s campaigning.”

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