Kyle Flood

Bill Richardson: Still my Facebook Friend!

Filed By Kyle Flood | January 10, 2009 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Politics

I might be going out on a limb here, but I don't care what people say about Bill Richardson - I still like him!

The Former Candidate for President and current New Mexico Governor has had quite a wild ride this past year. Richardson launched a failed bid for President, got into trouble with the Clintons for endorsing Barack Obama, ended his Presidential campaign in debt, and most recently withdrew his nomination for Commerce Secretary over an impending investigation in his home state. As a gay student, I also remembered when he blatantly stated "homosexuality is a choice" at the LOGO Presidential Forum in 2007 (Ouch! Although he has stated he did not understand the question, and he, in fact, does not believe it is a choice).

After all this, someone may ask why Bill Richardson is still one my favorite U.S. politicians, especially after the LOGO Presidential Forum. Well ...

For starters, let me begin with my connection to the Governor. During the Iowa caucus roughly a year ago (hasn't it been longer?) I drove to the Hawkeye State and volunteered for the Bill Richardson for President campaign. The opportunity presented itself and I decided to spend my winter break (between semesters in college) treading through snow and putting door hangers on mobile homes in Cedar Rapids. Aside from freezing my feet off, I learned a great deal about where Richardson stands with the LGBT community.

When I arrived to the office, it was not long after the LOGO Presidential Forum. I talked with a few volunteers and staff (some of whom were openly gay) and most agreed it was an ugly moment for the Governor. It was possibly his most misunderstood moments of his campaign for the White House, because Richardson is no where near being anti-gay or homophobic.

As I entered the Cedar Rapids office every day, I would notice a section devoted specifically to Richardson's stance on gay rights on the front bulletin board (along with pictures of him at PRIDE festivals, taken long before the LOGO appearance). Richardson is against DADT, has fought for domestic partnerships and civil unions, added sexual orientation and gender identity as NM civil right, and is for hate crime laws (among other things). Richardson even went a step further and said if he were President he would not accept honorary chairman of the Boy Scouts of America in light of their views on gay membership.

By the time I left Cedar Rapids, after I had met Richardson a few times and spent my New Years driving two hours to Des Moines, I had a new found respect for him. Not only for his years of work in public office, but also for his devotion to gay rights.

So when someone brings up Governor Bill Richardson (he's gotten some bad media lately), I still feel the need to defend him because he has spent countless hours defending me as a gay citizen. I wish Richardson were still up for nomination for Commerce Secretary, but I know no matter what he does, he'll always be an ally to the gay community. He'll always be my Facebook friend!

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I love Bill Richardson. I supported him in the primary until he dropped out and got him to guest post on Bilerico Project a couple of times. (Including his "I screwed up" post where he accepted responsibility for the LOGO remarks and apologized.)

How cool that you worked on the campaign, Kyle. I remember a guy from the campaign e-mailing me who had ties with Indiana. Was that you?

He was (and I believe the past tense is unfortunately accurate here) one of the best. Still, we continue to scan the horizon for a true hero.

Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | January 11, 2009 8:19 AM

First of all, Kyle, a hearty welcome to Indiana Bilerico and the Bilerico family!

Although an Obama supporter during the primaries, I nonetheless shared your admiration and respect for Bill Richardson. We are often all too quick to look at one or two situations where a candidate doesent's seem to completely "get it" with respect to LGBT issues, and pounce without standing back and looking at the totality of what they stand for and their level of sincerity.

Hi Kyle! Welcome to bilerico. I agree with Don - you can't throw the baby out with the bathwater. I would imagine at the LOGO appearance, Richardson might have been somewhat nervous. I did not support him but I did respect him. We need all the allies we can get!

I think I have more sympathy than others did about his logo appearance. The question was dumb... Is being gay a choice or genetic? Well, the evidence is pointing to... neither! Even the biggest homophobes don't think it's a "choice," per se, they think that we're emotionally traumatized, sick, etc, but I don't think there are many who think that it's a choice like choosing grape or strawberry jelly.

Besides, I don't care what he thinks about the origins of sexual orientation. I want to know what he wants to do when it comes to legislation!

Great first post, Kyle.

Daniele McMinn | January 11, 2009 6:29 PM

Welcome Kyle!!!