Voice for Equality: Jim Kolbe
August 06, 2009Jim Kolbe is a former eleven-term U.S. Congressman from Arizona’s 8th district and current fellow at the German Marshall Fund think thank. He was educated at both Northwestern and Stanford Universities before taking a position as special assistant to the Illinois Governor while in the U.S. Navy. Following his military service, Jim moved to Tucson, Arizona where he worked as an executive in the private sector. In 1976, Kolbe was elected to the Arizona State Senate and in 1984 he was elected to the position of U.S. Congressman for Southern Arizona; he remains the only Republican to have held that office.
He was a prominent moderate Republican during his 22 years in Congress and served as the Chair of the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs of the House Appropriations Committee. Congressman Kolbe came out publicly in 1996 under threats of outing during deliberations over DOMA. He was only the second openly gay Republican U.S. Congressman and the first to win reelection. In 2000, Kolbe became the first openly gay person to address the Republican National Convention.
Kolbe recently said in support of marriage equality:
"As much as the social conservatives might not like to hear it, there will be a time when your grandchildren say: ‘What was the argument with gay marriage? Who cares?"Freedom to Marry salutes Congressman Jim Kolbe as a Voice for Equality!
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