I should start this post by saying that I'm a political junkie. I got a big flatscreen for election night, not the Super Bowl. I serve as the male alternate delegate to the CDP from the old 42nd Assembly District and had a blast working with thousands of other passionate people at the convention in Sacramento last year.
Late last year, however, I checked out of politics for a little while. I needed a break. The heartbreak over Prop. 8 passing and the subsequent nastiness on Capitol Hill was enough for me to focus on my family, friends, and career and ignore Rachel Maddow.
Fast forward to February of this year. I missed the local political community. I went to the Stonewall Democratic Club endorsement meeting that included a choice for the 50th Assembly District. I had never heard of Torie Osborn and knew virtually nothing of her opponents—they had never popped on my radar. What happened that night, however, changed everything for me.
When Torie Osborn spoke, I felt the way I did when Barack Obama spoke at the '04 National Convention. And I'm rarely taken with people. I have a lot of love for my species, but rarely does someone move me the way Torie did. Issues, political in-fighting, and and opinionated friends aside—I knew I was looking at a leader that we desperately needed.
That night, I wrote to Torie through her campaign website and offered to help, "before I talk myself out of it." (What can I say? I'm a busy guy!) Since then, I've been making a documentary about her and her campaign (shamelss self promotion below, if you're interested). In a way, hearing Torie Osborn changed the course of my life.
I can't stress this enough: we need Torie. She knows this district like the back of her hand. More importantly, she has the power to move mountains. She HAS moved mountains, in fact.
Having gotten to know Torie, I can attest to the fact that, while she is a fierce advocate for what she believes in and those she cares about, she is also an amazingly kind, generous, and compassionate person. She has taken up a role in our society that can be thankless: raging against the machine to run for a political office- not to advance her own profile or interestes (She's already debated Pat Buchanan on CNN, led a meeting with President Clinton in the Oval Office, and been credited a leader in the fight to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Torie has nothing to prove and little to gain from this.), but because she wants to pour herself, her talents, and her extensive (and pricelessly relevant) experience into fixing the state-wide problems that are crippling what once was the world's SIXTH largest economy.
I could go on and on, but I'll close with this: like many residents of the 50th, I've met scores of powerful, influential, and capable individuals. In my view, Torie Osborn is greatest among them. That this woman is willing to give up her private life in order to be our representative in Sacramento is a privledge and an honor for everyone in this district. We are lucky to have Torie fighting for us—even those of us who choose not to vote for her.
Okay, I lied. I'm not done. :) I like lists, so I'm going to rattle off a few of the things that really hit home for me about Torie:
* When Torie led the LA Gay and Lesbian Center during the height of the AIDS crisis, she not only played a key role in preventing the federal government from letting the disease become a genocide of the LGBT community, but she also secured the first-ever federal funding for the welfare of at-risk LGBT youth.
* In almost every case, she was the EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of the major non-profits listed on her bio—not just a staffer or fundraiser. In most of those where she wasn't the ED, she was a VP or regional director. Torie literally has decades upon decades of large-scale leadership experience.
* Torie has an MBA with a focus in Finance. In other words, she literally has an advanced degree in solving the problems that California faces today.
* She has been a classroom teacher, a small business owner, and a grassroots organizer whose efforts have brought real results. I don't have to tell you that Torie rolls up her sleeves and digs in without blinking an eye because her actions speak for themselves.
Okay, now I'm really closing: I simply cannot imagine why our community would send someone other than Torie Osborn to Sacramento. Other than Barack Obama, I can't remember the last time I had the privledge of voting for someone whom history will record as one of the great leaders of our time. Take a good, hard look at Torie, and you'll see what I mean.
Seriously, go to her website (www.torieosborn.com) and watch the video on the main page. She is truly one of a kind.
I'll see you at the ballot box on June 5th!
Shameless self promotion:
If you'd like more information about my forthcoming documentary about Torie Osborn and her campaign (and would like to learn more about a possible tax-deductible donation to the project), please visit: www.thefighting50.com.