GLT “Beyond The Briefs” on Napolitano

Interesting commentary by Robert Dekoven in the Gay and Lesbian Times regarding Governor Janet Napolitano. Dekoven’s “Beyond The Briefs” applauds Obama and Napolitano on her nomination to Secretary of Homeland Security.

Obama’s choice of Janet Napolitano as secretary of homeland security is significant for us too.

Napolitano, the current governor of Arizona, is supportive of gay rights and, as secretary of homeland security, can instruct her immigration staff to grant asylum to gay and lesbian refugees who flee persecution in their native countries.

Former Attorney General Janet Reno initiated this concept, but right-wing immigration attorneys in the Bush administration argued to send GLBT people seeking asylum back to their countries of origin, as long as there were remote places where they could hide. (Imagine sending Jews back to Nazi Germany to live in the hills!)

Napolitano will also have the power to remove the homophobic immigration judges DHS hired under Bush, and this will affect other areas of immigration law too. For instance, it will affect whether we can bring our spouses to the U.S., as straights can, without fear they will be sent back.

James to run for AZGOP Chair – AZGOP turns guns on itself once again

Espresso Pundit is reporting that Lisa James will again be running for Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party.  James, who lost to current chairman Randy Pullen in 2007, was the Arizona Chairman for Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign.

The most interesting comparison is between the current state of the Arizona Democrat Party and the Arizona Republican Party.  The AZDEMs have actually created Facebook groups to try and figure out what went wrong in Arizona in 2008, plus they’re losing their Governor whose arm-twisting was their only source of fundrasing not named Pederson.

Yet at present, the AZDEM Chairman faces no challengers.  Now compare that to the AZGOP, which actually gained seats in the face of Obamamania and massive outspending, and which is sending Jan Brewer to the 9th Floor.  Instead of building on these successes and moving forward, why are some Republicans ripping the scabs off of the 2007 wounds and fighting that old fight again?  Is it just the AZGOP being the AZGOP again?

Or, is it just certain players within the AZGOP who are up to their own tricks?

Given the high degree of cooperation between Pullen’s State Party and John McCain’s Presidential Campaign (after he secured the nomination), and the thawing of relationships between Pullen and Kyl, the former seems less likely.  The later theory gets a serious boost when yesterday’s interestingly-timed Capitol Times story is read.  The article quotes extensively from Kevin DeMenna, the lobbyist who was the driving force between Kirk Adams’ ouster of House Speaker Jim Weiers, and Nathan Sproul, each of whom spoke at length about what DeMenna called ““…a grassroots fight for the soul of the party”.  He spoke of the recent defeat of LD11 Chairman Rob Haney approvingly and said “The Republican Party has bottomed and we are recovering… (District) 11 is the canary in the mine.”  Each indicated that the battle would move next to the Maricopa County Republican Committee elections on January 10th, then to the State Convention on January 24th.

With hired guns like DeMenna and Sproul driving a rematch of the 2007 State Chairman’s race, we can be sure that the race will be nasty and vitriolic.  It will be interesting to see how certain Arizona conservatives line up this time, especially in light of gains made by pro-life conservatives under Pullen’s watch and James’ advocacy for Giuliani, the only pro-abortion GOP candidate in 2008.  All eyes are on Len Munsil, who reportedly still fosters gubernatorial ambitions, and Congressman Trent Franks, whose convention speech on behalf of James in 2007 is largely credited for making the race as close as it turned out to be.  Will politics trump policy?  We’ll all know in six weeks time.

Lisa James In

Both Politico Mafioso and Espresso Pundit have now confirmed that Lisa James will indeed run for Arizona Republican State Party Chairman next year.

She is scheduled to announce her candidacy at the Yavapai Republican Organizational meeting this morning in Prescott.

Here is her bio as it appears on the Gordon C. James Public Relations website:

Lisa James began her career in politics working in the Illinois Legislature for State Representatives and Senators, as well as the Assistant Clerk of the House. She managed and worked on several campaigns in Illinois before moving to Washington, DC where she joined the Republican National Committee in the political department serving state and local governments. She has worked as an advance representative for President George H.W. Bush and worked on the 1992 Bush/Quayle campaign.

In 2000, Lisa was a member of the Arizona George W. Bush for President Advisory Board. She served as the director of Arizona Victory 2000 where she was directly responsible for the management of all Victory 2000 efforts in Arizona.

In 2004, Lisa was chairman of the No Taxpayer Dollars for Politicians Ballot Initiative before she served as the Arizona executive director for Bush-Cheney ‘04. As executive director, she was responsible for all campaign efforts in Arizona. Lisa also served as the director of coalitions for Senator Kyl’s 2006 re-election effort before serving as the director for the Arizona Republican Party Victory 2006 campaign.

Lisa has been involved in many community activities including serving as the chair of the Teaming Up for Kids Luncheon benefiting Florence Crittenton, the corporate board of directors of the Boys & Girls Club of Metropolitan Phoenix, Crisis Pregnancy Center Gala committee member, Maggie’s Place Baby Shower Committee Member and other charitable events. She co-chaired the successful Arizona Winning Women Fundraiser for the Arizona Republican Party featuring Mary Matalin and RNC co-chair Ann Wagner. She was a member of the 2003 Presidential Rank Awards Program Meritorious Executive Review Board. Lisa received her bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University.

Lisa is married to Gordon James. They have four children and reside in Scottsdale, Arizona.

James announcement sets up the likely rematch between herself and Randy Pullen.