Liberty PA 2014, an LGBT political action committee, celebrated the grand opening of its headquarters Tuesday at 1212 Walnut St. in the Gayborhood.
The PAC is mobilizing LGBT and allied voters to support Tom Wolf for governor, as well as other Democrats running for statewide office in Pennsylvania.
Liberty PA 2014 was originally formed in 2002 to support Gov. Ed Rendell’s first race. Since then, it supported Rendell’s reelection campaign in ’06 and the presidential campaign for John Kerry in ’04.
Mike Marsico, chair of Liberty PA 2014, is excited to continue the organization’s strong track record in its new Gayborhood headquarters, he said.
“We’ve spent the last 10 years building up a database of over 50,000 LGBT and allied voters across the state. By coming to the Gayborhood — an energetic beehive of activity, which has the highest concentration of LGBT and allied people in the state — we hope to build our support system for Wolf and other future Democratic party efforts.”
Through peer-to-peer contact, the PAC will canvass coffee shops, churches, community centers, gyms, local bars and other LGBT and progressive gathering spaces and events.
Rick Naughton, executive director of Liberty PA 2014, said the organization is gearing up for a busy fall season after a summer spent traveling to Pride festivals around the state.
“We are going to continue to travel and educate. We will visit college campuses, meet with college Democrats and LGBT groups, seniors and the business community,” Naughton said. “We will reach out and make sure that everyone is registered and educated. Soon we are going to be phone banking and knocking on doors. We already started sending people to Woody’s on College Night.”
Bias crimes against LGBT people is the top priority among Liberty PA 2014’s constituents, Naughton said.
“Vicious hate crime — voters have been talking a lot about that. Members of our team have been to Lehigh Valley, Lancaster, Philly and the suburbs and we hear it from voters all the time; it’s probably the top issue. After that, they want more LGBT officials appointed to offices in the next gubernatorial administration.”
The organization is also focused on strengthening the network of Democratic PACs across the state.
“We are partnering with Liberty City Democrats, which has an excellent reputation in mobilizing LGBT voters in Philly,” Marsico said. “We have also reached out to Stonewall Democrats and Steel City Democrats in Pittsburgh, who have been mobilizing voters in their region. One of our goals is to link all of our resources. We are fortunate to have a large list, but we can do an even better job through partnerships.”
For more information on Liberty PA 2014 or Wolf’s stance on other LGBT issues including marriage equality, nondiscrimination, antibullying, the conversion-therapy ban and the appointment of LGBT leaders, visit www.libertypa2014.com.