Reese Aaron Isbell, Co-Chair Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club

Reese Aaron Isbell, Co-Chair

Nearly a decade ago, I began two monumental life adventures which framed my life these last many years:

I joined the Board of Directors of Alice
I began working with Mark Leno

Now, in 2012, things are once again greatly changing in my life, as I begin anew in all my life’s roles.

With Alice, as the year begins coming to an end, I will start transitioning from the role of Co-Chair to next year’s Past Co-Chair. I will still be involved in the Board obviously, but my role will penultimately change from the two years as Co-Chair and my Board roles prior. Alice has been my ‘family’ since I began getting involved in the early 00’s and I will always have it as part of my life. However, I am looking forward to handing over the baton to a new generation of activists and Alice friends in the next year, and years to come.

My work with Mark Leno has changed as well. Over the last decade I’ve had two roles with him: One as his Political Consultant, handling his campaign activities, and the other a state government role where I served as a district aide. Earlier this year, in March, once his reelection filings were complete for Senate, and with only Republican opposition, I ended my role as Senator Leno’s Political Consultant. More recently, I began ending my district aide role as his first senate term ends and the preparations for the second term begin.

I’ve always believed it’s important to renew one’s passion in life by venturing into new worlds. It’s one of the reasons I moved to San Francisco. When I came to the City in 1999, I didn’t have much of a plan, no home, no job, few contacts; I just needed a new world after my life in Washington, DC in the 90‘s.

These last many years have taken me in many activities and amazing adventures. With Alice, I’ve been thrilled to be involved in tremendous events of the last decade, including many changing and growing roles with the Board of Alice (Newsletter Editor for 5 years; Membership Co-Chair for 2, and now Board Co-Chair for the last 2 where I led the two biggest Pride Breakfasts the club has ever had), as well as all the various campaigns on the local level, including 3 mayor races, the many supervisorial and other elections, seeing our Leader Pelosi become Speaker, witnessing history with President Obama winning his first term and preparing to win his second this year, fighting Arnold statewide, dealing with the horrific loss of Proposition 8, growing the Democratic Party locally and statewide to where the Republicans have barely a party left in the state, and many, many more.

With my friend Mark Leno, I have made so many dear connections and friendships. The many experiences with him, community activists, the Democratic Party, the City family of electeds and leaders, have shaped my life in the City from a person who knew no one shortly before to someone who now has many friends and colleagues all over the City. I also had the amazing honor of running one of the most important ‘change’ elections in our City: his run for state Senate in 2008. That race, more than anything, framed my life in the 00’s over the many years leading up to it and the many years of followup activities and next steps.

Now I am set to begin a new adventure, or two or three. I’m still not sure what it is yet; I’m having many discussions around town on ideas. But it is time to move into these new worlds. I know I will be doing more writing in the years to come. I know I look forward to getting into more management, marketing, research, and a whole new potential world of the private, business, tech sector. I’ll never be ‘done’ with politics in the City or the world, and will always be trying to make a positive change, but I’m ready to take on the next ride of my life, and it won’t necessarily be in the political world. We’ll see what happens.

In the interim, we have an incredibly important election season upon us. We must get President Barack Obama reelected for the good of the nation. We must help elect Democrats around the country to keep the Senate, to win back the House, to take back control over state legislatures where sadly Republican control has meant great steps backward in voting eligibility and individual rights, and to continue to win the hearts and minds of the American public on the basic issues of our equality and strength in our Pride. So make sure to get involved in the most important election of our lifetime. You can help Alice with our Field activities right here at home to make a difference locally, statewide, and nationally.

And here’s to my own and everyone’s new adventures and new worlds. Thanks for being a part of my wild Alice/Leno rides of the last decade, and let’s keep moving forward together while I jump onto a new horse for the next great ride of my life.

Reese Aaron Isbell

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