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What Remained Unsaid When Tammy Baldwin Took The Stage In Charlotte

Rep. Tammy Baldwin would be the first out LGBT Senator, but she didn’t mention that in her convention speech tonight. She talked mainly about “the Wisconsin I know.”

Chris Geidner

Charlotte, NC — Rep. Tammy Baldwin riffed on the prominent place Wisconsin’s conservative Republicans have played in the national dialogue in the past year, a refrain present through many of her speeches at the Democratic National Convention.

She did not, however, directly mention the historic role that her election to the U.S. Senate would play: She would be the first out LGBT U.S. Senator if she defeats Tommy Thompson this November.

In leading off her speech in Charlotte this evening, she said:

On behalf of the great state of Wisconsin and our proud progressive tradition, thank you! I know you’ve heard a lot about Wisconsin lately. You’ve heard about Paul Ryan, who wants to end Medicare as we know it. You’ve heard about Scott Walker, who took basic rights away from teachers, nurses, and public employees. Maybe you’ve even heard about Tommy Thompson, our former governor, who went to Washington, cashed in on his special interest connections, and never really came back.

Well, I’m here to tell you that they don’t speak for all of Wisconsin. I want you to hear about the Wisconsin I know: the place where my grandparents raised me, the place where generations of families have worked hard to get ahead, the place where our state motto might sound familiar to you. It’s just one word: forward.

Although she didn’t mention her own sexual orientation, the only out lesbian in Congress did talk about President Obama’s efforts toward LGBT equality:

Our president has made historic progress toward equality. He repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” so that no American ever again has to lie about who they are in order to serve the country we love. Republicans want to write discrimination into our Constitution. But the Wisconsin I know believes that with each passing year and each generation, our country must become more equal, not less. Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, Tommy Thompson—they think they’re the only ones who speak for Wisconsin.

But come November, the Wisconsin I know—the America I love—will speak out loud and clear, and keep us moving forward: forward with a strong middle class; forward on a path to prosperity; forward with President Obama.

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Chris Geidner is the legal editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C. In 2014, Geidner won the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association award for journalist of the year.
Contact Chris Geidner at chris.geidner@buzzfeed.com.
 
 

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