“The problems of racial injustice and economic injustice cannot be solved without a radical redistribution of political and economic power.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lobbying is about power, not policy. In my forthcoming book, “LGBTQ Lobbying in the United States” I argue that intersectional lobbying helps inform how we consider lobbying in Washington, D.C. For instance, intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1991) helps us understand lobbying by saying three things: That people are rendered vulnerable by systems and structures; that public policy issues cannot be solved without addressing people at the intersections of their identities; and that understanding these intersections gives us a…

The most under-recognized politician who helped lead to the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” 10 years ago is Senator Daniel Kahikina Akaka of Hawaii (1924–2018).

There are many champions of repeal that could be highlighted, like Pat Schroeder, Barbara Boxer, Ellen Tauscher, Steny Hoyer, Mark Dayton, and Jim Moran. And they will be. And there are several sour apples like Carl Levin, Lincoln Chaffee, and Joe Manchin. These will be elaborated upon as well. But this special 10th anniversary of the 2010 repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” belongs to a leader on LGBTQ rights and the first Native…

This post is the first in a series that highlight important elements from my new book: “LGBTQ Lobbying in the United States.”

I start with Chapter 4: The White House and LGBTQ Lobbying.

Here, I report on a meeting in late 2010, where White House senior aide Tina Tchen (pictured left) stated privately to me in the West Wing of the White House that President Obama was essentially pulling support for legislative repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (Pepin-Neff, 2021: 98). The meeting was also attended by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis.

She stated: You’ve had your…


Recollections from his one-time aide-de-camp on the day of Warner’s funeral in Washington

Today we mark the life and legacy of former Virginia Senator John Warner. Warner was the last in a long line of statesmen. He fought in World War II, Korea, and served as a Secretary of Navy. He also endorsed Obama, Biden, and Roe v. Wade. And through it all he was the second longest serving Senator from Virginia between 1979–2009.

I first met Senator Warner in 1999. This picture below was his favorite of himself. He liked the hair clipped at the front.

I came into his Senate office at 23 to be his “driver” but he quickly pointed…


10-steps to the launch party you must have

As we move closer to a world where some of us (white people in the Global North) are getting vaccinated and living with COVID, this reopens the possibility for in-person gatherings. This still means social-distancing at times, and having masks at the ready but it offers the chance to see important social events, like academic book launches.

Yet, not all book launches are created equal.

We have all been to excellent panel discussions and dreadfully monotone occasions. The point here is not that there is anything wrong with traditional book launches. I quite like a conventional academic book launch. However…

You read that right. I’m a bad gay during Pride. This is the story of a Facebook post. A mild-mannered lefty just attending to their own Facebook page. I made the post below and I usually make four points about the problem with Pride.

  1. ) Pride celebrations constitute delegated recognition (I say this below).
  2. ) Pride is emotionally oppressive and denies LGBTQ people the right to feel shitty.
  3. ) The corporate side of Pride makes it untenable because it has essentially become heterosexual superiority month. …


The gay right’s movement has yet to adopt a pro-Black agenda

“Shut up, Christopher” she said to me as we got out of the Congressional office. “Do not speak.” This was some of the best advice I ever received from the legendary lobbyist, women’s advocate, and my former colleague Joanne Howes.

Howes is one of the most successful female lobbyists in U.S. history. She was one of 7 women who helped put Geraldine Ferraro on the ticket as Vice President in 1984. She was one of the 12 women who founded Emily’s List. …

A lot of people love Vermont. Even just the idea of Vermont. But not me.

These people view Vermont as a quaint neighborhoodly place with cul de sacs, people walking their dogs, and children playing on their bikes. But these people never lived here. Sadly, the reality is ten times nicer.

Children play freely not worrying about cars because all the vehicles in our neighborhood inch along. Dogs march happily, on leashes, as if prancing to a Boston Pops album. This joy is the nightmare I face everyday.

Desperate for unending isolation in a year defined by loneliness, the only…

5 Ways to Crush Trumpism:

1.One Continuing Resolution for all of 2021
2. Ear-Marks to Reward Democrats
3. Announce Abrams for Supreme Court
4. Women for Every Judicial Nomination
5. 50-State Campaign w Slayer Pete

This is a time for unity as President-Elect Biden has stated. But, let’s be clear about what unity means. I am for unity, but I am not for appeasing the adoption of Trumpism in the Republican Party.

The 2020 election was a mandate on politics and policy. Most Americans are centrist-liberals. …

*Update: I’m already hearing that I’m wrong about Cotton, but I think their (Rs) predicted actions are still likely for any nominee and our (Ds) strategy should be considered.

  1. Trump will nominate Republican Senator Tom Cotton on Monday to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

2. The Senate will vote on Tom Cotton’s nomination in two weeks.

3. It is time to welcome vulnerable Republican senators into the Democratic caucus.

Dr. Chris Pepin-Neff

Researcher on LGBTQ politics and emotions in public policy. Opinions are mine.

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