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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Ian Thomas Palmquist, June 27, 2001. Interview K-0848. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Equality PAC and its political work in North Carolina

Palmquist discusses the work of Equality PAC during the 1990s. Palmquist began to work for Equality PAC following his graduation from college in 1999, but it had been established since 1990. Palmquist explains their work towards supporting gay-friendly legislators and in raising awareness for various issues.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Ian Thomas Palmquist, June 27, 2001. Interview K-0848. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

CHRIS McGINNIS:
Do you feel that you have played any important role in getting certain gay people elected into office in the legislature?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Well, there are no completely, openly gay people in the legislature.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Oh yeah, I'm sorry, I mean gay friendly, not necessarily gay per se.
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, gay friendly. Absolutely, we have worked with Campaigns, we have raised money for campaigns, and a lot of people are really turned off by Political Action Committees and giving money to candidates and I think that there are a ton of problems with that system, but that is how the system is now and we have to play that game too. I would personally totally support campaign finance reform, but since we have got this system, them we are going to be giving money to candidates because that is how you get things done.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Are people worried about getting money from you in some cases, because they are worried about the association with gay people?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Some do. We have had candidates who asked us not to endorse them. We usually respect the candidate's wishes on that. They are going to be more useful to us as a quiet ally than someone who is pissed at us for outing them as a supporter in a conservative district. But, I think that we have helped some pro-gay people get elected and I think that we have made a lot of candidates feel a little better about talking about these issues at least. I mean, I think ten years ago a candidate would not even know how to talk about these issues and I think that we have done a lot of education work with candidates and people who win.
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Do people come to you for advice ever? On issues?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Yeah, we definitely build working relationships with legislators, particularly our big supporters. I mean, we—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
Who are your big supporters? Ellie Kinnaird? Howard Lee?
IAN THOMAS PALMQUIST:
Orange and Durham Counties are the big ones obviously—
CHRIS McGINNIS:
I guess that it is very fair to say, really that this whole thing, this whole organization, Equality PAC, had its origins definitely in the triangle, most notably, Mike Nelson and Herzenberg were in Carrboro and Chapel Hill, so this organization definitely has this tie to Chapel Hill.