A few of us here at DSPolitical recently had the opportunity to attend the Victory Institute’s International LGBTQ Leaders Conference and it was, without question, the most moving conference I’ve ever attended. As an engineer, my experience at conferences has generally been focused on specific tools or technologies. Going to one in which the focus was mission based and completely aligned with our work was an entirely different experience.

I’m somewhat obsessed with politics, and have a significant news addiction. As a result, the impact of our work here at DSPolitical has always been clear and obvious to me. While working on and maintaining our platforms, I always try to keep an eye on the actual campaigns utilizing our tools as much as I’m able. There are so many of these campaigns I have felt personally invested in and inspired by, which makes me feel all the more privileged I’m able to support them through my work here at DSPolitical. Even after an election is over, compiling data on how the candidates did (you should really check out 2022.dspolitical.com if you haven’t yet) continues to increase that feeling and motivate me to do my best work.

Despite how plugged in I feel, actually getting to interact with so many elected officials and campaign workers gave me the deepest connection I’ve ever felt to our work. There are so many officials in every level of government doing so much great work. From hearing Senator Baldwin talk about the Respect for Marriage act, to meeting state legislature and city council members doing revolutionary work to create positive change in their communities, to talking with school board members we met protecting the youth from discriminatory curriculum being introduced by bigots across the country — these opportunities reaffirmed to me how incredibly important our work is, and how the stakes could not be higher.

One of the most powerful examples of this was from Nebraska. We heard from multiple Victory Institute endorsed candidates about how Democrats were able to keep exactly the number of seats in the unicameral state legislature required to filibuster, and as a result, there will be a limit to what the republican dominated legislature will be able to get away with. This will in turn keep abortion legal for so many more people. Knowing how close the margins were in some of those races, having seen some incredible work go through our system in Nebraska, and knowing we were able to play a small part in supporting that was truly humbling in a way that’s hard to convey.. I’m so grateful we had the opportunity to attend this conference, and be fully invigorated in starting work on the latest set of features we’ll be offering by the next election to better reach voters.

I’d like to end by noting the most important part of this conference – it was the LGBTQ leaders conference. LGBTQ representation in governments had a great year; there was a roughly 60% jump in LGBTQ members of state legislatures. It’s still not nearly enough for equitable representation, but it’s a hugely important step. I’m incredibly proud of the races we were able to support this year, and I’m going to continue doing my best to support the amazing Democrats and progressives running for office. If you’re one of those amazing Democrats and LGBTQ, consider contacting the Victory Institute. I hope I’ll be one of the folks supporting you from behind the scenes here at DSPolitical.