Name: Jacob Manser
Title: LGBT Vote Director
Based in: Columbus, Ohio
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
Q: Why Is the LGBT Community crucial to the 2012 election?
The final vote in November is going to be extremely close, so it’s more important than ever that we organize in every community across the state—we can’t afford to leave any stone unturned. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Ohioans know as well as anyone that we can’t afford to turn back the clock on the historic progress we’ve made under President Obama, which means it’s even more imperative that we mobilize the community to support the President on the doors, on the phones, and at the ballot.
Q: What is your role as LGBT Vote Director?
My most important job is to make sure that the LGBT community across Ohio is engaged with the campaign and plugged into our neighborhood teams. I work with LGBT and allied grassroots leaders to organize our presence at Pride, collaborate with small businesses, and recruit volunteers in our community. I love hearing from our volunteers and supporters all across the state about what’s going on in their neighborhoods.
Q: What inspired you to get involved?
In 2007, then-Senator Obama told a group at Howard University, “Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It’s about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect.” By voicing his support in such strong terms, he filled many LGBT Americans—myself included—with hope for remarkable progress under an Obama presidency. I started volunteering on the campaign a short time later, and President Obama hasn’t stopped working toward that goal he set five years ago.
Q: What has President Obama done for the LGBT community?
So much! Legislatively, he signed the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act and repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. He’s also tackled the issue of bullying in our schools and announced his personal support for same-sex marriage. President Obama has led the way in making progress for LGBT Americans and has proven himself to be the fierce advocate that we need in the White House. He’s also launched an effort to promote equality across the world by creating the first-ever U.S. government strategy dedicated to combating human rights abuses against LGBT persons abroad and renewing our nation’s commitment to creating an AIDS-free generation.
Q: What do you enjoy about your job most?
I’m a people person. I love interacting with new people all the time and learning about their stories and what inspires them. One of the best parts of my job is traveling across the state to meet with supporters and activists. Each story is so unique, every time I get to hear about how President Obama has affected the life of one of our volunteers I remember how important this work is to our community.