Glencoe News: Gay in the GOP

Sep 13, 2010

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GAY IN THE GOP: NEW TRIER ALUM EYES RUN FOR PRESIDENT

September 14, 2010

By KATIE OKON kokon@pioneerlocal.com

For link to article, Click Here

Sixty-year-old Fred Karger was back in Glencoe last weekend for Central School’s 1964 class reunion. Considering the whirlwind that is now his life, it was a welcomed break.

On April 10 at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Karger announced his consideration for the 2012 Presidential Bid.

Fred Karger, who is considering a run for President, sits in front of his old school, Central School, on Monday. Karger was back in his hometown of Glencoe for a school reunion.

(Ruthie Hauge/Staff Photographer)

If he seeks out a nomination on the GOP ticket, he will become the first openly gay candidate to run for President in a major political party. That groundbreaking moment does not faze Karger, who has spent the majority of his life enmeshed in politics.

Karger’s father was a precinct chairman in Glencoe. Karger remembers his first brush with politics as a child, when he would go with his father to the Glencoe train station and greet commuters as they came home at dinnertime.

“We would hand out brochures of whatever Republican candidate was running at the time,” Karger said.

At the age of 14, Karger rode the train into Chicago, where he volunteered at a phone bank for New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, who later on became the vice president of the United States. At that same time, Karger also volunteered at campaign headquarters on Sheridan Road in Kenilworth for Charles Percy when he ran for Governor of Illinois.

Karger graduated from New Trier High School in 1968 and went on to earn a degree from the University of Denver in speech communications and a minor in political science.

After college, Karger was fully expected to join the family business — a brokerage firm where his brother, Dick, of Northfield currently works. But instead, at the age of 23, he moved to California and dabbled in the acting life — landing gigs in commercials and guest spots on television shows.

“I have always been a ham,” Karger said. “I was in high school plays and went to a couple of acting schools (in Los Angeles).”

Karger said he was good friends with fellow acting school student Lynda Carter, who would later gain fame as Wonder Woman. Another classmate was Suzanne Somers.

Fred’s big break would have been his role in a “Welcome Back, Kotter” spinoff, but the pilot never took (a “huge letdown,” he said) and he segwayed back into politics, eventually working on nine Presidential campaigns, including George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan.

Campaigning is what Karger knows best. While stepping out in front of the curtain will be a change for him, Karger is using his behind-the-scenes skills to help guide the newcomers to his presidential exploratory committee, which includes a researcher and website administrator.

He is currently funding everything himself, and plans to continue until the end of the year. Karger also recently hired a professional fundraiser to begin the process of soliciting donations.

“If I run, I am looking for an approximate $5 to $6 million budget to get through the next year-and-a-half,” Karger said.

Using his own skills as campaign manager to start out will help keep the costs down, as will his campaign techniques, which he likens to that of President Obama’s.

Rather than costly direct mailings, the Internet will be a huge tool in getting information out to the public. He has flying discs, T-shirts and stickers with a “Fred Who?” slogan and his website (www.fredkarger.com) emblazoned on them.

“I am going door-to-door with Frisbees,” Karger said. “I want to hand one out to every household in New Hampshire.”

While Karger has received mostly positive feedback with his intent to run as an openly gay Republican, not all are enthused with the idea.

“When I go around and meet the Republicans, I am the first openly gay person (some of them) have knowingly met with,” Karger said.

Despite not in agreement with all of the Republican stances — he supports gay marriage and wants “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” gone — he stands firm with his devotion to the Party.

“I have never waivered, never left the Republican Party,” Karger said. He describes himself as a “socially liberal, fiscally conservative Republican” and coined a new term for his party affiliation: Independent Republican.

“I am one of those dissatisfied Republicans,” Karger said. “The Republican Party has gone so far to the right.  I want to reinvent the Republican Party.”

Karger is still on the fence about running, but if he chooses to seek out the GOP nomination, he will make a formal announcement next year.  The biggest obstacle Karger will face if he runs for President is to be taken seriously as a candidate, he explained.

“As a first-time candidate and an unknown individual, it is a tough one,” Karger said. “That is why I started early. I have been meeting with people and traveling and getting ideas.”

While Karger does not have a lot of experience with international relations, that is an issue he has been studying.  “I am primarily concentrating on domestic issues,” Karger said. “Education reform is my number one platform.”  He is currently researching the federal No Child Left Behind Act.  “The education experts I have met with don’t think that (the Act) is necessarily the solution,” Karger said. “I am still formulating my opinion.”

Karger understands the difficult job that a President of this nation faces. He also understands that talk means nothing if you do not back it up with action.

While President Obama took the helms of a bad situation, Karger said he is disappointed with what Obama has done with the economy.  “Obama said he was going to spend the first two years on the economy,” Karger said, “He passed the stimulus bill and then went off to other issues.”

As a gay rights activist, Karger takes issue with how Obama has handled matters important to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.  “Obama has not really lit that torch that we were expecting,” Karger said. “Despite promising us everything, he has delivered us practically nothing.”

Karger himself is a big name in gay rights activism.  “The gay civil rights movement has not been aggressive until me,” He said.  He started Californians Against Hate to bring attention to the major donors of the $36 million YES campaign for Proposition 8. Prop 8 passed in November 2008, and ended gay marriage in California.

Karger filed a sworn complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission against the Mormon Church for possible illegal campaign activities surrounding its involvement in Prop 8, he said. The church was eventually fined.  With this victory behind him, Karger is now concentrating on becoming recognized as a possible 2012 Presidential candidate, with much time spent in Iowa and New Hampshire.

As for his chances of securing the GOP nomination for President of the United States, Karger knows he is a “long shot.”  “I am going to be in this to make my stand,” Karger said. “As we see in many elections, anything can happen.”

Labor Day Report

Sep 7, 2010

Labor Day Report

Fred With White House Press and Greeting UNH Students as Classes Begin

MARTHA’S VINEYARD, MA & DURHAM, NH – After attending the WRAP Conference on Martha’s Vineyard, we spent the rest of the week on this beautiful island off Cape Cod, MA.  It coincided with the Obama’s vacation.  So, we made a couple of visits to the Mansion House, where the White House Press Corps was headquartered.  It was an excellent opportunity to meet some of the journalists who cover the President.  We gave away press kits and left behind plenty of Fred Frisbees, stickers, cards and pins.

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Here’s the press filing room at the Mansion House in Vineyard Haven.

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Up on the roof of the Mansion House.  Quick mock interview in the spot where all the networks reported from.

BACK TO NEW HAMPSHIRE

Making this year’s trip #6 to the first-in-the-nation primary state, several friends and I campaigned in front of the Memorial Union Building (MUB) at the University of New Hampshire on Monday, as UNH students returned to campus for their first day of classes.

Wearing the famous Fred Who? – New Hampshire license plate replica T-shirts, we welcomed students back from summer break, and gave away lots of Fred Frisbees, web cards, stickers and pins to students, faculty and families of students.  Our time on campus included a visit to the office of MultiCultural Student AffairsThe New Hampshire (the student newspaper) and the dining room.  A Frisbee game got underway on the lawn in front of the MUB.

Am looking forward to spending a lot more time in New Hampshire the rest of this year and next.

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We spent last Monday at the University of New Hampshire meeting

and greeting students and their families.

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It was a warm day and the Fred Frisbees were very popular at UNH.

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Sure enough, several spontaneous Frisbee games erupted!

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Fred Frisbees were popular with the entire family!

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Team Karger at work spreading good cheer along with stickers, web cards and T-shirts.  Lee, Kevin, Leslie, Fred and Callie in front of the MUB.

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Frisbees and skateboards go well together.

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Even campus security was welcoming.  Gave him a web card.

Other News

Two recent news developments; One Iowa and GLAAD got Clear Channel to correct WHO Radio’s Jan Mickelson’s terrible HIV/AIDS comments that he made the day after I was interviewed on his show:

http://www.oneiowa.org/news-events/clear-channel-rebukes-mickelsons-factual-errors-hivaids

And here is great a story about the coming out of former GOP National Chairman Ken Mehlman by Stephanie Mencimer in Mother Jones Magazine and my comments:

http://motherjones.com/mojo/2010/08/rnc-chair-mehlman-gay-comes-out 

Check out the big profile in the highly regarded Democracy in Action, by Eric Appleman

Story: http://www.p2012.org/chrnprec/karger080610analysis.html

And Full Interview:  http://www.p2012.org/chrnprec/karger080610int.html

Check out our web site:   www.fredkarger.com 

Follow Fred Karger on Twitter: http://twitter.com/fredkarger

Huffington Post: Is Mike Huckabee Nuts?

Sep 1, 2010
huf post
For link to article, CLICK HERE

IS MIKE HUCKABEE NUTS?

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee wants to turn the United States back over to God and Jesus.

Huckabee actually said this in a just released 60 second commercial for Lou Engle’s “The Call.”

In the spot Huckabee says, “Fast and pray and turn this nation back to God, as Jesus is our only hope.” He goes on to tell everyone to go to Sacramento and fast and pray for the sanctity of marriage over Labor Day Weekend.

Governor Huckabee should know that the Constitution is very clear about the separation of Church and State.

Take a look at the commercial; it’s unbelievable: Click Here

The event titled, “What Can Wash away our Sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus” is put on by controversial Pastor Lou Engle. There is a slick web site: Click Here

On the site, Engle is hawking “Season Tickets” for the event and gives a very passionate pitch for money: Click Here

Uganda’s Treatment of Gays and Lesbians

Two months ago, Pastor Engle again traveled to Uganda, where an Anti-Homosexuality bill is being considered. It calls for life in prison or death for gays and lesbians.

Does the current front-runner in the Iowa Caucus polls for 2012 agree with Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill calling for the death penalty for gays and lesbians?

Mike Huckabee should not continue to gay bash

It was just a couple of months ago that Governor Huckabee compared gay marriage to incest, drug abuse and polygamy. He went on to say that gay and lesbian couples should not be allowed to parent, because kids aren’t puppies. I wrote a strong response to those hateful remarks for the Huffington Post: Click Here

Mike Huckabee’s continued cruel statements about LGBT Americans are insensitive and dumb. He owes all fair-minded Americans an apology.

Follow Fred Karger on Twitter: http://twitter.com/fredkarger

Check out lots of new info at www.fredkarger.com

One Iowa: Clear Channel Rebukes Mickelson’s “Factual Errors” On HIV/AIDS

Aug 26, 2010

One Iowa

CLEAR CHANNEL REBUKES MICKELSON’S “FACTUAL ERRORS” ON HIV/AIDS

Submitted by admin on Thu, 2010-08-26 10:54

Clear Channel Communications issued an on-air statement prior to today’s Jan Mickelson radio show correcting “factual errors” in the radio host’s commentary last week regarding HIV/AIDS.

Last Thursday, WHO Radio’s Mickelson called public service announcements regarding HIV/AIDS “propaganda” and claimed AIDS discriminates against “the stupid behavior of homosexuality.”

Jan Mickelson

In the week since the remarks, One Iowa worked with our partners at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), urging Clear Channel to correct the misinformation.

Clear Channel responded today by saying the remarks “confused strong opinion with medical fact, and contained factual errors regarding HIV/AIDS, it’s spread and current efforts to inform the public about this disease.”

“Jan Mickelson’s comments on HIV/AIDS are reprehensible,” said One Iowa Executive Director Carolyn Jenison. “Stigma and discrimination surrounding the discussion of this epidemic are barriers to prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Clear Channel did the appropriate thing in responding to and correcting this misinformation.”

“We thank Clear Channel for addressing this issue in an on air clarification, to ensure that WHO-AM’s millions of listeners will have the facts about HIV/AIDS, and dismiss the highly offensive, anti-gay and misinformed statements made my Jan Mickelson last week,” said Cindi Creager, GLAAD Director of National News. “We’ll continue to pay close attention to future broadcasts, and Mickelson’s defamation will not go unchallenged.”

Last Thursday’s comments from Mickelson continue a pattern of anti-gay commentary, including a heated interview with openly gay GOP presidential prospect Fred Karger just the day before.

Audio of Clear Channel Statement

Audio of Mickelson’s original comments (Begins at 51:25 mark)