Monday, January 21, 2008

Equality South Dakota is here

I am late getting this thing on my blog, but here goes!

We are already working on comments the group will have on legislation on deck in Pierre, and have been successful with our startup fundraising and group-building project.

For more details, and to support us, visit the website at eqsd.org.
For Immediate Release
Released January 7, 2008


Two new groups form to work for
LGBT equality in South Dakota


SIOUX FALLS--Equality South Dakota (EqSD) and Equality South Dakota Political Action Committee (EqSD PAC) announced their formation prior to the start of the South Dakota Legislative session on Tuesday.

Both groups spring from the work of South Dakotans Against Discrimination, the 2006 ballot committee that nearly defeated the so-called "gay marriage" state constitutional amendment in the 2006 election. The groups will work for the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) South Dakotans.

EqSD is a private, non-profit S.D. corporation that is seeking IRS 504(c)(4) status as a lobbying organization. EqSD PAC is a registered S.D. state political action committee formed in anticipation of the 2008 elections.

"During the 2006 campaign, we learned that many South Dakotans believe that it is wrong and unproductive to deny LGBT people their basic human and civil rights," said EqSD chairperson Karen Mudd, a professional non-profit fundraiser and lesbian from Sioux Falls. "South Dakotans from every corner of the state, political party, and sexual orientation have come together in the name of equality to form these organizations," she said.

Other members of the EqSD Board of Directors besides Mudd include:

* Don Frankenfeld, a former Republican state legislator and Congressional candidate from Rapid City;
* Monique Mousseaux, an anti-domestic violence advocate, member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and a security guard from Rapid City;
* Todd Epp, a Democratic activist and lawyer from Harrisburg;
* Angie Buhl, an LGBT advocate and a recent graduate of the University of South Dakota from Yankton;
* Lawrence Novotny, vice chair, a long-time LGBT and environmental advocate and chemist from Brookings;
* Curtis Price, treasurer, an active lay member of the Episcopal Church and a Federal scientist in Rapid City; and
* David Fischer, secretary, a long-time LGBT advocate and nurse anesthetist from Aberdeen.

Some of EqSD's planned political activities in 2008 include an ambitious outreach campaign to contact every statewide elected official in South Dakota, as well as monitoring legislation in the 2008 Legislature.

EqSD PAC plans to raise at least $35,000 in contributions for the 2008 election. That money will be used to train and assist candidates from both political parties as well as provide meaningful monetary contributions to candidates in key legislative and other races.

"More and more South Dakotans want to see positive change in support of LGBT equality and know they need to actively work for and support legislative candidates with integrity who are willing to take a stand," Novotny said. "That is why EqSD PAC was created," he added.

Members of the EqSD PAC board of directors include:

* Epp, chairperson;
* Frankenfeld;
* Novotny, treasurer;
* Mudd; and
* Sharon Ludwick Warner, a progressive activist and philanthropist from Rapid City.

"Money wins elections," Epp said. "We plan to be a political force supporting open minded and tolerant candidates," he added.

The two groups will share a website at www.eqsd.org. The website includes more information about the group, and allows visitors to sign up for email updates, volunteer, and to contribute. (Contributions to EqSD and EqSD PAC are not tax deductible.)

For more information about EqSD, contact Karen Mudd at kmmudd "at" yahoo.com or 271-4136. For more information about EqSD PAC, contact Todd Epp at toddepp "at" eqsd.org or 351-5021

Authorized and issued by EqSD and EqSD PAC, 610 S. Grand Ave., Harrisburg, SD 57032. EqSD treasurer is Curtis Price. EqSD PAC treasurer is Lawrence Novotny.

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