Schmidt elected co-chair of Victory Fund's Campaign Board

Nashville's Jim Schmidt has been elected to help lead a part of the country's largest GLBT political action committee, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.

Schmidt was elected to a two-year term as co-chair of the Victory Fund's Campaign Board (VCB) last month and will help lead the 100-member board responsible for recruiting, endorsing and raising money for GLBT candidates running for office.

"It’s a great opportunity to make a huge difference in politics across the country," Schmidt said.

Schmidt, a senior public policy advisor at Baker Donelson, has been on the VCB for two years and served as Southern Caucus Communications chair before being elected to the new position. He will also serve as a member of the Victory Fund's Board of Directors throughout his upcoming term. Also on the VCB are Nashville's Jeff Rymer, Dena Scearce and David Taylor.

Schmidt was elected by the membership of the VCB in a competitive election against another longtime VCB member from St. Louis, he said.

"It was very much like a real election, because I had to reach out to the 100 members of the VCB by phone, email, Facebook, etc. and ask for their votes," he said.

As part of the process, Schmidt developed a plan for leading the board during the next two years and detailed steps to increasing the visibility and knowledge of what Victory Fund does in places such as the Midwest and South.
This election cycle, the Victory Fund will endorse approximately 75 candidates for office, and depending upon the outcome of the remaining few run-off races, will help win more than 50 political seats.

Locally, the Victory Fund has endorsed past candidates including Keith Durbin who won the race for Metro Council District 18 in August 2007 becoming Tennessee's first openly-gay elected official. The VF also endorsed Shane Burkett for Metro Council District 12 that year and later endorsed David Glasgow to fill the seat vacated by Durbin in January 2008. Neither Burkett nor Glasgow won their bids but both came respectably close.

Schmidt said he is excited to continue to serve on the VCB and advance GLBT equality.

"Real change will come by putting a diverse community at the table of politics," Schmidt said. "We need to elect more members of the LGBT community to have all points of view represented. Getting people elected will help change the political landscape."

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