Senator George LeMieux was recently appointed by Florida Governor Charlie Crist after the resignation of former Senator Mel Martinez. Will he support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, S1584?
There have been some press reports that Senator LeMieux may be somewhat friendly towards gay rights, at least in his heart. However, the political climate in Florida doesn't make it easy to express these thoughts openly. Even the senior Senator from Florida, Senator Bill Nelson, who is reckoned a friend of the LGBT community, has not come out in favor of ENDA.
What they need, in order to come out with support of ENDA, is to hear that there is support for it. That comes from one place: telephone calls from you. Please call Senator LeMieux and ask him to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, S1584.
According to Wikipedia, Senator LeMieux was Chairman of the Florida-based law firm of Gunster Yoakley & Stewart, P.A. and served as Chief of Staff to Governor Charlie Crist, was former Deputy Florida Attorney General, and is credited with spearheading Crist's successful campaign for Governor. At 40, LeMieux is the youngest member of the U.S. Senate.
It has been reported that he has taken very public stands in favor of LGBT rights: health benefits for same sex couples, gay adoption, and publicly counseled against a Broward County petition drive to overturn the county's gay rights law.
An important wrinkle here is the fact that Gov. Crist will be running for Florida's Senate seat in 2010.
In the cheekily titled "Governor Crist Plays Both Sides," an article in the South Florida Blade suggests that Senator LeMieux might be amenable to supporting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
If LeMieux votes in favor of ENDA, it will appeal to liberal voters, and Crist can take the credit for appointing him. But then when it's Crist's turn to run for office, he can just shrug, point at LeMieux, and say "I didn't tell him to do it, don't blame me." With both sets of voters on his side, he'll be a sure thing in 2010.
An interesting read, and definitely fodder for the Machiavellian among us. While there may be some risk to Crist in this strategy, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is making a rare pre-primary endorsement of Crist over one of his main opponents, Mario Rubio.
Senator LeMieux is clearly very fiscally conservative, and it's notable that the issues he is pushing as a freshman Senator are all fiscal issues. There's nary a social issue in there. In addition, he has specifically excluded the possibility that he would run for the Senate seat in 2010. However, he has indicated that he loves public service and that it's "the greatest job in the world," and is working hard to create a public profile on fiscal issues.
The Miami Herald has an article about him today: Florida's new senator battles `placeholder' stigma He wants to be seen as politically active. That suggests a possible run for office in Florida And where would he likely run for office? He's from Broward County, which is quite liberal. What would Broward County voters want to see from George LeMieux if he ran for office there? I would think voting for ENDA would be a feather in his cap in Broward County, and voting against ENDA would be seen as a political problem.
No doubt Senator LeMieux wants to please his friend, Governor Crist, and Governor Crist himself might be against ENDA, but not very strongly. Senator LeMieux could secure his own political future by voting for ENDA, and such a vote could, as pointed out by the South Florida Blade, even help Gov. Crist in his Senatorial bid.
It all remains to be seen. Certainly, it would make a big difference for Senator LeMieux to hear of widespread high-profile support for ENDA.
Please call Senator LeMieux (pronounced "leh-mew," according to his voicemail) and ask him to support S1584.
Here's his contact info.
LeMieux, George S. - (R - FL)
DC Office: (202) 224-3041
(Toll free DC Capitol line: 866-220-0044)
Fort Myers 239-332-3898
Coral Gables 305-444-8332
Palm Beach Gardens 561-842-8300
If you're not sure what to say when you call, click here for a "Step-by-Step Script For Calling Legislators On ENDA."
This was originally written by Dr. Jillian T. Weiss at Bilerico. It is reposted here with her permission.