The group just hired Richard Carlbom, an old friend, as campaign manager. Carlbom is a great choice, since the personable young man understands the dynamics of Twin Cities politics, having just finished a stint as Mayor Coleman's communications director, while knowing Greater Minnesota as well as anyone. Shortly after graduating from St. John's, Carlbom was elected Mayor of St. Joseph. He was 23. He came out as a gay man during his first term and was reelected to a second.
He left office to serve as Tim Walz's finance director in 2008, then managed the campaign that brought Walz to a third term in my native southern Minnesota during a tough year for Democrats. Possessed of great humor and boundless energy, Carlbom helped Walz retain the Republican-leaning seat (though the credit for that win ultimately goes to Walz's own good cheer, tirelessness, and fearsome work ethic).
Here's the release:
Minnesotans United for All Families, the campaign to defeat the constitutional amendment banning marriage for same-sex couples, announced today that Richard Carlbom has been hired as Campaign Manager.
Carlbom, 30, is currently the Communications Director for St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. He was Campaign Manager for Congressman Tim Walz’s 2010 congressional race, and prior to that was the Finance and Political Director for Walz. Carlbom was the Mayor of St. Joseph, Minnesota, from 2005-2007. He is a graduate of St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota.
Senator Scott Dibble (D-Minneapolis) and Representative Tim Kelly (R-Red Wing) both participated in the hiring process, and praised Carlbom. Dibble said, “I know that Richard Carlbom is the individual who can lead us to victory. His work ethic is excellent, and his intelligence and insight inspire confidence.” Rep Kelly stated, “Mr. Carlbom is a fantastic choice. From my perspective, this issue is not one of partisanship but rather, one of individual freedom and choice. Richard has the ability to bring this message to all Minnesotans in a clear, concise manner, and I look forward to being a part of that effort. ”
"We are thrilled to welcome Richard Carlbom to lead the Minnesotans United campaign," said Ann Kaner-Roth, Executive Director of Project 515, one of the founding organizations of the coalition. Monica Meyer, Executive Director of OutFront Minnesota, another founding organization, stated, "Richard comes to us with broad campaign experience and a track record of working across political spectrums. We are fortunate to have someone of his caliber.”
“I am honored to lead this incredibly broad and diverse coalition of organizations and individuals. We will defeat this amendment by remaining united and focused on victory in 2012,” said Richard Carlbom.
Also praising the selection of Carlbom was Tom Knabel, MD, a member of the Human Rights Campaign Board of Directors, who stated, "Richard has important experience in greater Minnesota as well as the metro area, and we're anxious to draw on his relationships across the state as we move forward in our campaign.”
Cristine Almeida, an attorney from St. Paul, facilitated the hiring process for Minnesotans United, and indicated that Carlbom will officially begin work on the campaign on Saturday, September 24, 2011.
Minnesotans United is a coalition of DFL'ers, Republicans, Independents, Greens, Libertarians, business people, labor and faith organizations, elected officials, community leaders and various others who all care deeply about defeating this amendment.
Bluestem doesn't favor full equality for all people because we feel sorry for LGBTQ people. We favor equality abstractly because we believe in the dignity and worth of all people. But that's not why this blogger is ready to fight against this amendment.
Bluestem's fighting the amendment because the marriages enjoyed by LGBT people in my life enrich my life. This isn't an abstract. It's an ordinary thing, like bread or poetry. Who would settle for life without either?
Photo: Richard Carlbom (center, blue jacket) claps at the 2010 Walz Victory celebration.