Joe Solmonese Named Human Rights Campaign President

Leader With Unmatched Record to Embark on Heartland Tour

During First Week on Job

Mar 09, 2005, 00:00 ET from Human Rights Campaign

    WASHINGTON, March 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Joe Solmonese, chief executive officer
 of EMILY's List, the nation's largest political action committee, was named
 President of the Human Rights Campaign today by the organization's Board of
 Directors and Foundation Board.
     Solmonese today announced that, upon taking the helm at HRC on April 11,
 2005, he will tour the country, meeting with the American people, GLBT
 community members and leaders at town hall meetings and other events in the
 workplace, communities of color and in communities of faith.
     As a key political strategist, Solmonese oversaw one of the nation's most
 successful efforts to elect progressive candidates by appealing to heartland
 and mainstream voters.  His work included broad outreach across the nation,
 speaking with large and small groups about the important issues facing the
 American people.
     He has been at EMILY's List for the last twelve years serving in several
 key capacities from deputy political director, to chief of staff and the CEO
 position he's occupied for the past two-and-a-half years.
     "A great leader surfaced early and we are thrilled with the result," said
 Vic Basile, co-chair of the HRC Foundation Board and co-chair of the Search
 Committee.  "Joe has an unrivaled track record at the nation's foremost
 progressive electoral powerhouse.  We are confident that he will appeal to
 Americans across the political and ideological spectrum."
     Solmonese made the following statement today:
       "We need to make sure every GLBT American has a safe place to come out
       and join us in the fight for equality.  Our equality under the law is
       evolving as the defining social and political issue of our time.
       As a gay American, I am very honored to serve HRC and the GLBT community
       and to join the leadership of a movement that is working toward an
       America that keeps its promise to all its citizens.
       We must tell the stories of our lives and the struggles we face to our
       straight friends, co-workers and family members. Increasing our presence
       and visibility across America will be a top priority of my tenure.
       HRC is not simply a GLBT organization; we're an organization of everyone
       who supports GLBT equality.  We'll ask every GLBT American to enlist
       three new allies -- a straight co-worker, a friend and a family member
       -- in our work for full equality.
       We know that we have broad support across the country and we need to ask
       our friends and families to be involved at the ballot box or talking
       directly to elected officials.
       Our movement will grow as our unity grows.
       With more Americans of both parties on our side, we will be an
       unstoppable force. We must ensure that every American family has equal
       rights and responsibilities; that it's illegal for the boss to fire the
       star employee simply because of who he or she is; that families have the
       security of marriage and all the rights and responsibilities that it
       affords and that every American living with and at risk for HIV takes
       prevention seriously so that this generation does not experience the
       devastation that the last generation did at the hands of this disease.
       That's why I intend to hit the road in my first week. We are broadening
       the American conversation about equality. I'll be meeting with GLBT
       families, religious leaders, corporate leaders, communities of color,
       and employee groups and GLBT community leaders across the country, and
       talking about the path to our equality."
     Solmonese joined EMILY's List in 1993 as deputy political director and
 advanced to chief of staff in 1998.  EMILY's List works to elect pro-choice
 Democratic women to federal and state office.  Solmonese traveled nationwide
 developing and executing political, messaging, fund-raising and grassroots
 campaigns that have produced unprecedented success for candidates at both the
 federal and state levels.
     At EMILY's List, Solmonese implemented strategies that helped transform
 the pro-choice movement with a defining issue that made a difference at the
 ballot box, in Congress and in the halls of legislatures around the country.
     Solmonese led EMILY's List's national staff of 85 political,
 communications, fund-raising and grassroots professionals.  He also oversaw a
 $40 million budget, strategically investing in key political efforts and
 elections and raising funds for the organization's mission.
     In addition, Solmonese serves as the organization's chief fund-raiser.  He
 increased the budget by $10 million in the last election cycle, enabling the
 organization to implement a new program that elected women legislators in
 Colorado, Vermont, North Carolina, Washington and Oregon.
     A native of Massachusetts, Solmonese is 40 and lives in Washington, D.C.
 and has been an HRC Federal Club member for more than 12 years.  He graduated
 from Boston University in 1987 with a bachelor of science in communications.
     "I am very happy that Joe will be the next President of HRC.  By his
 talent, commitment and experience, he is ideally suited to help lead the fight
 for the central American value of equal rights under the law." -- Rep. Barney
 Frank (D-MA)
     "Joe has an impressive record as an effective fundraiser, proven manager
 and smart political leader.  As HRC's new President, Joe will be a strong and
 passionate voice in our fight for equality for LGBT Americans.  Joe has my
 personal and organizational support as we work together to develop a smart and
 ambitious bipartisan strategy to realize full equality for all Americans in
 the years ahead." -- Patrick Guerriero, President, Log Cabin Republicans
     "Joe will bring so much passion, muscle, and strategic thinking to the
 work of HRC.  He is the exact type of experienced and visionary leader HRC
 needs to move us closer to making HRC's mission a reality." -- Elizabeth
 Birch, former Executive Director, HRC
     "Since I've been in Congress, HRC has always displayed a longstanding
 commitment to bipartisanship.  I have very little doubt that Joe will
 aggressively maintain this tradition and I look forward to working with him."
 -- Rep. Rob Simmons (R-CT)
     "Joe is the perfect choice to lead HRC and will be a valuable addition to
 the Leadership Conference on Civil Right's executive committee.  HRC has long
 played a vital role in the civil rights coalition and we look forward to the
 vision, energy and drive that Joe will bring to HRC and to our community." --
 Wade Henderson, Executive Director, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
     "Ensuring that every American is treated fairly and equally has no
 partisan boundaries, and I'm pleased that Joe is committed to working with
 Republicans as the new head of HRC." -- Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)
     "In every region of this nation, activists, candidates and committed
 individuals have been inspired by and benefited from Joe's political expertise
 and tireless drive to create a more progressive America.  He is a masterful
 political strategist with a long track record of success.  From helping
 Congressperson Tammy Baldwin achieve a historic victory in Wisconsin to
 electing Democrats in the heartland and beyond -- Joe knows how to get blue
 things done in red states by engaging and supporting people who want to make a
 difference and win in historic elections.  EMILY's List's loss will be a
 tremendous gain for HRC and the movement." -- Ellen Malcolm, President,
 EMILY's List
     The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual
 and transgender political organization with members throughout the country.
 It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the
 public to ensure that GLBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at
 work and in the community.

SOURCE Human Rights Campaign