Laura Ricketts, the first lesbian to own a piece of a major league baseball team, is trying to get women more interested in politics.
“It’s important to me personally that we get more women and lesbians and bisexual women and transgender women specifically engaged in the political process,” Ricketts, co-owner of the Cubs and new chair of the only lesbian-backed political action committee in the U.S., LPAC, said. “I really want to inspire more women to get engaged, because if we don’t play on this field, we forfeit when decisions are being made about our lives.”
Though politics run through the Nebraska-raised Ricketts family, they don’t all play for the same team.
Ricketts’ brother Pete, just won the GOP nomination for Nebraska governor, their brother Todd is the CEO of Ending Spending, a major conservative PAC founded by their father, and Laura is a member of the Democratic National Committee executive committee. She and her brother Tom, the least politically involved of the bunch, own the Cubs together.
“We don’t always agree on a good number of issues, but we love each other very much and respect each other’s viewpoint,” Ricketts said after she got back from joining Pete in Lincoln, Nebraska for the elections.
Since Ricketts, single mother of a 4-year-old, helped create the group LPAC in 2011, they have raised $1.2 million. Ricketts isn’t new to fundraising. In 2012, she was one of President Barack Obama’s biggest fundraisers during his 2012 re-election campaign, and joined Michelle Obama at her 50th birthday party at the White House.
“Our goal is to help elect pro-lesbian, pro-women candidates to public office whether they are men or women, straight or gay, Republican or Democrat,” she said. “And to build a strategic, powerful visible donor network among lesbians nationwide.”
The LPAC so far has an endorsement list of 15 Democrats, five of which are openly gay candidates. Though the LPAC hasn’t backed a Republican, they are open to it.
To win an LPAC backing, the candidate must “support ending LGBT discrimination, be for reproductive freedom, quality health care, and advancing social, racial and economic justice for all Americans.”
“There is so much more work to be done and women’s rights are facing an assault on an ever growing number of fronts,” Ricketts said.