UPDATED– Brian Bond, former head of the Victory Fund, will be named Deputy Director of Public Liaison and point person to the LGBT community, according to The Advocate‘s one-woman news department superstar Kerry Elved. Bond served as President of The Gay & Lesbian Leadership (also known as the Victory Fund) from 1997 to 2003, transforming it into a major national political force that identified, promoted and developed gay and lesbian leaders. Now, Bond becomes a major national leader himself. This is great news for the gay community.
The Advocate story explains:
“Bond, a political veteran who has headed the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund and held several positions at the Democratic National Committee, will have managerial and strategic responsibilities for the entire Public Liaison office as well as function as the point person on LGBT issues. The liaison office is tasked with communicating and promoting presidential policies to individual constituency groups and serving as a sounding board for the president on policies that affect certain interest groups.
Several LGBT insiders on Capitol Hill said Bond, who also served as director of constituencies for the president-elect during his campaign, was a great fit for the position. â€œHeâ€™s a very skillful and experienced political strategist,â€ said Bob Witeck, CEO of the DC-based Witeck-Combs Communications, who has known Bond for 15 years. â€œHis knowledge of our community and the competence he has in working with both leaders and activists is immense.â€
In 2003, when he resigned from the Victory Fund, Rep. Tammy Baldwin heaped praised on Bond– and for god reason: He helped get her elected. She said:
“Under Brian Bond’s leadership, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund has become a major force in American politics.”
Under his tenure, the number of openly gay politicians serving in the U.S. rose from 127 to 228.
Philadelphia Gay News‘ Mark Segal interviewed Bond in August when Bond was serving as constituency director of the Obama campaign. Segal asked him:
[Mark Segal:] Assuming that thereâ€™s an Obama administration and a Democratic Congress, what should the LGBT community look for in the next four years?
[Brian Bond]: I think the community can see Barack take his leadership and what is already on paper and put it into action. I think youâ€™ll see an Obama administration that will look like America, including the LGBT community, and build on the successes of the Clinton administration in that area. I think you will see a community that will be asked to be engaged in ensuring that ENDA is passed, hate-crimes legislation is passed and signed into law, and that we take â€œDonâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tellâ€ and put it in the history books and allow good men and women to serve this country openly.
MS: How does your new position at the Obama campaign differ from your position at the DNC?
BB: Iâ€™m really honored to be here because, first of all, Iâ€™m working with a lot of incredible people, but second of all I think it says a lot about Barack and his vision to have an openly gay person working with all constituency groups. At the end of the day, clearly we each have our own interests but we all share a common need, a common desire, a common goal not only to elect a Democrat but also to ensure that the values of the Democratic Party are successful and, again, I hate to beat this like a drum, but that will only happen if we do elect a Democratic president and increase our majority in both the House and Senate. To that point, we have the opportunity to nominate several Supreme Court justices in the next administration. It behooves not just the LGBT community but a lot of communities that make up this great country to be very concerned about who will make those nominations. And I personally believe electing Barack Obama will put all communities in good hands when it comes to the selection process for the Supreme Court justices.
The Victory Fund is arguably the most important LGBT government lobbying group in America. Last month, we named it the second best charity for your dollar , calling it “a lean, mean, gay politician-making machine” and the idea that a passionate and smart advocate of gay rights who also knows many of the key LGBT leaders because he helped put them into office is a reassuring sign.
If Barack Obama is to have any one LGBT person be his sounding board on our issues and concerns, we would want it to be Brian Bond.