GOP Representative Jim Kolbe of Arizona Earns Victory Fund Endorsement

Distinguished Leader, Only Openly Gay Republican in Congress, Deserves Re-Election

June 16, 1999 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Blogger Tumblr

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund today announced its endorsement of U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., in his re-election bid for Congress representing his state's 5th District.

"Congressman Kolbe has proven himself to be an invaluable advocate for ending discrimination," said Victory Fund Executive Director Brian K. Bond. "His record is strong, and his role as the only openly gay Republican in Congress is indispensable."

Rep. Kolbe's leadership has made a key difference in efforts to hold the line against discrimination in Congress. In 1998, Rep. Joel Hefley of Colorado introduced an amendment that threatened to overturn President Clinton's executive order banning sexual orientation discrimination against federal civilian workers. Kolbe teamed up with Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and led dozens of thoughtful House Republicans in a bipartisan effort to strongly defeat the amendment and uphold job fairness for millions of federal employees.

Kolbe is a co-sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to protect Americans from job discrimination based on sexual orientation, as well as the Hate Crimes Prevention Act to protect Americans from hate crimes based on sexual orientation, gender and disability. In addition, Kolbe has advanced sound and compassionate public health policies to address the needs of Americans living with HIV and AIDS.

"Congressman Kolbe is a champion for civility and fairness in the face of irrational fear," added Bond. "Since he came out publicly in 1996, Rep. Kolbe has been crucial in building bipartisan support against discrimination. He is living proof of why our movement to secure equal rights for all Americans regardless of sexual orientation must rise above the bitter partisanship of the past."

The Arizona Republican is facing a strong challenge in this election as he fends off threats on multiple fronts. Both the national Democratic Party and anti-gay extremists are targeting Kolbe for defeat as never before. Anti-gay forces cannot abide his courageous honesty in acknowledging his sexual orientation and standing up to discrimination – and they are gearing up for a serious attack on his re-election bid.

Kolbe has been active in politics since he was a young man. At the age of 15, he served as a page for the late Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz. Kolbe earned his bachelor's degree in political science at Northwestern University and his MBA from Stanford. A Vietnam veteran, Kolbe was commissioned in the Navy in 1965. He retired from the military in 1977 with the rank of lieutenant commander. After serving in Arizona's state Senate, Kolbe was first elected to Congress in 1984. His local community involvement earned him Tucson's 1997 "Man of the Year" award, and he has also received numerous awards for his national service in Congress. Rep. Kolbe is widely respected on matters of international trade and fiscal responsibility, and he has earned a leadership role on the House Appropriations Committee. Kolbe's district includes the city of Tucson and its surrounding counties.

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund is the only national organization whose sole mission is to increase the number of outstanding openly gay and lesbian public officials. As the nation's 14th largest nonconnected political action committee, the Victory Fund has generated more than $2 million for qualified openly gay and lesbian candidates at all levels of government.


Sloan C. Wiesen
Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund