BY STEVE ROTHAUS
Chuck Wolfe, an Eagle Scout who grew up in South Florida and became Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles’ closest gay advisor in the 1990s, announced Wednesday he is stepping down as president of the national Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.
“The Victory Fund and our supporters have endorsed and helped elect thousands of LGBT Americans who have been brave enough to put their names on a ballot, and their honesty has been key to changing politics wherever they serve,” Wolfe wrote in an email to Victory board members. “This work is as necessary as ever, especially in places where our community still feels powerless or lives in fear.”
Victory’s mission is to increase the number of openly LGBT officials in all levels of government and Wolfe has headed the group for 12 years.
Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT activist group, on Thursday applauded Wolfe’s tenure at Victory:
“Thanks to Chuck Wolfe’s tireless leadership and advocacy during his years at the Victory Fund, LGBT people are far better represented in elected office across America – more so than many in this community ever thought possible. During Chuck's tenure, Victory has helped to more than triple the number of openly LGBT Americans serving in elected and appointed office, and the number of out members serving in Congress has gone from just two to 8. Throughout history, government has virtually never been a leader on issues of equality. But Chuck Wolfe and the Victory Fund have helped to change that, ensuring that LGBT people are represented in the institutions with the power to address the vital needs of our community.
“We are sad to see Chuck leave. But at this pivotal moment in our nation’s history, the Victory Fund is in a powerful position to make great progress for the LGBT community throughout the nation. We look forward to a continued partnership with the organization and whoever is fortunate enough to take its helm. The entire HRC family wishes Chuck the very best, and the entire LGBT community owes him our deepest gratitude.”
The Blade reports that “in recent months, Wolfe has been struggling with health issues.”
“As he acknowledged during the Victory Fund’s annual brunch in D.C. this year, he had suffered a heart attack and was in the process of recovery,” according to the Blade.