PAC organized in W.Va. to promote gay causes

CHARLESTON, W.Va.—­­­­West Virginia’s first political action committee has formed and plans to provide financial backing for candidates who favor inclusive hate crimes legislation, fair housing, civil unions and rights protections in the workplace.

“It was long overdue,” said Robert Sheets, West Virginia Unity PAC president. “We need this PAC in order to get politicians to stand up and take notice. They know that ‘we’ are out there, but it’s easier to ignore us when we don’t have a strong voice representing us.

“It’s regrettable to say, but money helps make politicians listen,” Sheets acknowledged. “We hope to raise enough money to donate to the campaigns of those candidates who support our issues. While many other organizations with our same concerns will focus on lobbying, our aim is to fund the campaigns of our political allies. We’ll all be working together to achieve the same goals.”

Sheets said the PAC plans to mail questionnaires to statewide legislative candidates and to candidates in populous counties in the state in an effort to gather information about their positions on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues, and then make the information available to voters.

According to Sheets, the group believes that it can make a difference at election time. “People who support the issues of Unity PAC will finally know which candidates really support the PAC’s issues and which do not,” he said. “They then can make an informed choice on election day.

            “We want every thinking person to understand that their contributions will be used to improve the quality of life for West Virginia’s citizens. We hope that people and politicians will begin to see that ‘our’ issues are very much like ‘theirs,’” Sheets explained.

Unity PAC Secretary Lynne Sandy added: “This is a very exciting development in the landscape of West Virginia politics. We are the first PAC of our kind, and we expect the support and involvement of a broad range of people and organizations. We hope to change this climate of callous indifference and misunderstanding that has existed for too long.”

For more information about West Virginia Unity PAC or to make a contribution, write to PO Box 1603, Charleston, WV 25326; or send e-mail to wvunitypac@yahoo.com.