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Patrick Guerriero is an openly gay Republican politician in the United States who was the leader of the Log Cabin Republicans since January 1, 2003. Previously, he served three terms as a Massachusetts state representative and two as mayor of the city of Melrose. He stepped down as president of the Log Cabin Republicans on September 1, 2006 and now heads the newly founded political organization, the Gill Action Fund.
Guerriero was born to an Italian immigrant and mason father and a social worker mother. He worked his way through college, spending his summers mixing cement and hauling bricks for his family's masonry business. Guerriero attended The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, where he played soccer and graduated summa cum laude in 1990. The next year, Guerriero attended Boston College's Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Fellowship in American Government Program. Guerriero came out to his family shortly after college, and they have been very supportive of him and his political endeavors ever since.
In 1993 Guerriero was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives (35th Middlesex District) at the age of 25. He supported initiatives related to lower taxes, limited government expenditure, improved public schools, public safety, and welfare reform. Guerriero was a staunch supporter of the landmark 1993 Education Reform Act that required students pass standardized graduation tests (MCAS). He was also an advocate for gay and lesbian issues, effecting strict anti-hate crimes legislation and increased AIDS awareness funding.
Guerriero was awarded the John F. Kennedy Library's Fenn Award for politicians 35 years of age and younger on November 10, 1998. He was chosen in part for the leadership he demonstrated in pursuing legislation that gave cities and towns control over which stores can provide the lottery game Keno. In 1994, Guerriero first introduced legislation supported by local town and city board of selectmen asking for its regulation. The bill was voted down by a margin of three to one in the House of Representatives and opposed by owners and operators of convenience stores, the Massachusetts Convenience Store Association, the New England Convenience Store Association, and the Lottery Commission. Guerriero, however, was able to persuade the legislature to support the measure, and on April 11, 1996, Governor William Weld signed a bill into law requiring the Lottery Commission to submit an application for Keno licensing by certified mail to the mayor or board of selectmen of a municipality which must be publicized in the local newspaper.
In 1998, Guerriero was elected mayor of the city of Melrose, Massachusetts with 85% of the vote. As mayor, he worked to achieve fiscal discipline, better public schools, and a more genial and friendly community. Guerriero developed his hands-on style in becoming mayor: he visited local public and private schools to give speeches during his campaign and later helped collect trash and plow snow as mayor. This won him the support of the residents, who elected him to a second term with over 80% of the vote. During his tenure as mayor, Guerriero created a "civility initiative" which encouraged residents to show each other respect and courtesy. This project earned him the City Livability Award at the U.S. Mayor's Association 2000 City Livability Awards. He also led the way for the city building its first new public schools in over 30 years.
In May 2001, Guerriero stepped down as mayor to join the administration of Jane Swift, the first female governor of Massachusetts, who took over when then Governor Paul Cellucci became U.S. ambassador to Canada. He served as deputy chief of staff, advising Swift on such issues as domestic partner benefits and working with religious leaders to stop the anti-Muslim backlash after the September 11, 2001 attacks. He later served as her running mate in the 2002 Gubernatorial elections. Faced with deep-pocketed competition from her own party in the form of Salt Lake City Winter Olympic CEO and Bain Capital founder Mitt Romney, Swift withdrew from the race. Guerriero then asked Romney to support his run for Lieutenant Governor, but Romney did not comply. Without that key vote of support, Guerriero withdrew his candidacy for the position. Though he did not have Romney's support, Guerriero still campaigned for Romney, spoke to him about issues related to the gay community, and served on the governor-elect's transition team.
On January 1, 2003, Patrick Guerriero succeeded Rich Tafel as the leader of the Log Cabin Republicans. Since accepting the position, Guerriero has faced sharp criticism from both the left and the right. Controversial Baptist minister Fred Phelps calls all gays (not just Guerriero) a "faggot…worthy of the death penalty," while gay Democrats have not been pleased with his positions either. He also faced criticism from the far-right Republican side.
An anonymous Sound off contributor to the gay newspaper Washington Blade wrote in March 2004: "Patrick Guerriero... is a sell out and a traitor to the gay community. It’s pretty sad for Log Cabin when the Republicans don’t want them and they are not respected in the majority of the gay and lesbian community." However, gay conservatives are increasingly making their presence felt at gay pride celebrations, within the Republican Party and through websites such as the Independent Gay Forum.
Guerriero often writes op-ed pieces for Massachusetts newspapers. He praised the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's 2003 decision in the case of Goodridge v. Department of Public Health as a conservative ruling supporting stable families, relationships, and society, limited government, individual liberty, and religious freedom. Guerriero has supported gay rights in the tradition of Massachusetts Republican Governors William Weld and Paul Cellucci. Guerriero stepped down as leader of the Log Cabin Republicans on September 1, 2006 to lead the Gill Action Fund.
The Gill Action FundEdit
Effective September 1, 2006 Guerriero became the first ever executive director of the Gill Action Fund, a new organization advocating gay and lesbian equality. It will be involved in American politics, supporting key political organizations.
- Log Cabin Republicans biography
- Fenn Award press release
- The New Face of Gay Conservatives
- Patrick Guerriero to lead Log Cabin Republicans
- Calling on Conservatives to Come Out article by Guerrerio
- A Conservative Ruling on Gay Marriage article by Guerriero
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