Michael Emanuel Rajner

Happy Birthday Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz!

Filed By Michael Emanuel Rajner | September 27, 2012 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: ADAP, congressional district, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, DNC, DNC Chair, happy birthday, HIV/AIDS, LGBT, Miami Beach, Stonewall, Wilton Manors

Thursday, September 27th is DNC Chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's birthday and she is celebrating the day by opening up her newest campaign office in Miami Beach. Typically a DNC Chair doesn't have to campaign for their own re-election while working hard to get our party's leader elected, but Debbie has proven time and time again that she is a force to be reckoned. She is fearless, a breast cancer survivor and never backs down to mentally unstable bullies like Tea Party favorite, Rep. Allen West.

As a result of redistricting, Debbie will no longer be representing Wilton Manors. The Florida Legislature traded her gay populous island city for Miami Beach. While I'm saddened Debbie will no longer be my elected Member of Congress, she will always be my champion and someone I look up to as a big sister. Even if I tower above her in height.

You can get a sense of who Debbie is from this video of her talking about her large LGBT-constituency at the last conference of the Southeast Regional Gay Men's Health Summit in 2010:

Michael Rajner and DNC Chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman SchultzI first met US Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz more than six years ago at the beginning of the Stonewall Street Festival & Parade in Wilton Manors. Before the parade started she was riding around in the back of a truck, so I climbed right up there to introduce myself. I wanted to let her know that the US House of Representatives had cut funding to the Ryan White Part D program that funds services for women, infants, children and their families. Two weeks later, Debbie took to the floor of the House and successfully demanded her colleagues restore funding levels.

From then on, I knew Debbie was my champion. Over the years, I worked with her amazing staff to ensure they were briefed on the issues being discussed in the LGBT and HIV/AIDS-community. Over the last several years, as people living with HIV/AIDS struggled with wait lists to access lifesaving treatment through a state's AIDS Drug Assistance Program, Debbie was always there working with her colleagues in Congress to respond to the crisis.

This summer, Debbie participated in Wilton Manor's Stonewall Street Festival & Parade once again, but this time I had the honor to escort her in the parade and introduce her to community members as we made our way through the streets. As we marched down the street it was thrilling to hear the loud chants for Debbie. In this community, she clearly was a rock star!

As the parade got going, she and her two precious girls quickly jumped in to help carry the Rainbow Flag. I couldn't help but capture the moment on video and ask Debbie what the Rainbow Flag meant to her.

This year, I had the honor to be elected to attend the Democratic National Committee's Convention as a district-level delegate representing Debbie's 20th Congressional District. As a gay man living with HIV/AIDS, I was extremely proud to be there to support a personal champion who is working tirelessly to re-elect President Barack Obama to another 4 years in the White House to continue to fight for people.

Debbie, while I can't be there with you tonight, Happy Birthday and thank you for everything you do for the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities! Without your leadership, we would not have achieved the many things we have over the last four years.

If you are in South Florida and want to celebrate with Debbie this evening, attend her office opening in Miami Beach.

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