by Denny Meyer
Christine Hallquist has won the Democratic primary to be the nominee for Governor of Vermont in the upcoming November mid term election. She's not the first woman to run for governor of a state, nor will she be the first to have won. We've had women governors, and Black governors, and a few women Presidential candidates.
I was honored to have met the first Black woman to run for President, Shirley Chisholm, in 1972 as my accidental airplane seatmate in coach on a flight from Washington DC to New York. We had a lovely long chat although I had no idea who she was until we deplaned. In parting she thanked me for the lovely chat and said she hoped I'd vote for her as she was running for President, and told me who she was. I'm still gasping with excited incredulity all these years later.
American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER), the nation's oldest Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender veterans service organization held its biennial convention in late September in Chicago. Delegates representing chapters from Ft. Lauderdale to Seattle attended the three-day conference where sessions were presented by the LGBT Outreach of the Veterans Administration, the Chicago Commission on Human Relations, and the John Marshall Law School Veterans Clinic, among others. Speakers included former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy, Amanda Simpson, who in 2010 became the first openly transgender woman political appointee of any administration.
Retired US Coast Guard Chief Boatswain’s Mate Julz Carey was elected the new AVER National President at the convention. Fifty-nine year old Carey succeeds US Army (ret) Vietnam veteran LTC Steve Loomis and is the first woman to lead the veterans organization in over a decade. Carey served as one of the first women aboard a US combatant ship when the Coast Guard stationed 24 women aboard two cutters as an experiment in 1977. The success of this experiment led to the full integration of women aboard US Coast Guard and Navy vessels, and later submarines. In January, 2015, Carey and her fellow female shipmates were honored at a dedication at the Naval Memorial in Washington, DC.