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This is just one way I am saying thank you

This past weekend I joined many of my fellow Virginians at one of 40 Camp Victory events across the Commonwealth. As we were discussing electing fine public servants throughout Virginia, including Senator Mark Warner, I couldn’t help but remember the first time I met Mark Warner.

It was election eve 2000 in a small commercial airport in Norfolk.  Mark Warner had been flying around Virginia with then Senate Candidate Chuck Robb.  I was sitting on bench listening to the speeches and  Mark Warner sat down right next to me.  I was tired and he was looking tired too. Norfolk was the last stop after a long day of campaigning. I looked at him and said:  “we are getting ready for you”.. 

I will always remember how he looked right at me and said , “I am going to need your help”.

Well, that was fourteen years ago and since then I’ve been knocking on doors and helping in whatever way I can to get Mark Warner elected first as our governor, and then as our senator. 

It’s fitting that this week marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, because as much as I’ve helped Mark, as an LGBT activist Mark has in turn helped me and my LGBT community. 

I was honored to be a part of the work then- governor Warner did to make it illegal to discriminate in Statewide hiring based on sexual orientation. That action was historic because for the first time it made it illegal to discriminate against state hired employees because of their sexual orientation.

And now over a decade later when I see Mark Warner supporting marriage equality, I want to pinch myself.  Progress was slow on LGBT issues but Mark Warner always took the rights of our community seriously.  He voted to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and he is standing up for marriage equality here in Virginia and all across the United States. 

Because of his continued commitment to our community, I volunteered this weekend and will continue to knock on doors, make phone calls and talk to my neighbors in support of Senator Warner.  

Mark Warner has delivered for me and my community and now it is time to deliver once again for him. This is just one way I am saying thank you.

Charley Conrad,  Arlington, VA


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