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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 2, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 35
Joe Solmonese to leave HRC in 2012
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Joe Solmonese to leave HRC in 2012

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

HRC President Joe Solmonese 'will not renew his contract, which expires March 31, 2012,' the HRC announced on August 27.

Solmonese has led the HRC since 2005.

Blogger Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend broke the story on August 26, saying that she had learned 'from a trusted source in a position to know' that Solmonese would leave HRC in December.

Before coming to HRC, Solmonese worked as chief executive officer of EMILY's List, a pro-choice PAC. Solmonese also worked for former Massachusetts Governor and one-time Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, and Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.).

There has been speculation that Solmonese would take a post either in the White House or in President Obama's reelection campaign, but he has so far declined to say what his future plans might be.

Solmonese would say only that he was exploring 'new professional possibilities' that might include 'ensuring President Obama is reelected for a second term.'

'Leading HRC has been an inspiring experience and a complete privilege,' Solmonese said in the HRC's August 27 statement.

'I could not be more proud of our staff, our volunteer leadership and of the extraordinary progress we've made together as a community. & HRC has never been stronger and after nearly seven years, this is the right moment for me to move on,' he said.

HRC said its membership grew from 750,000 to 'more than 1,000,000' under Solmonese's leadership.

HRC Foundation Co-Chair Anne Fay called Solmonese an 'outstanding leader' and credited him with putting HRC in 'the best place the organization has ever been.'

HRC says it has formed a search committee to find a replacement for Solmonese.

Hilary Rosen, interim HRC director before Solmonese took over and former partner of HRC Director Elizabeth Birch, said the new HRC head should be both a 'visionary' and a 'political strategist.'

'Elizabeth [Birch] was a visionary who shone a light to the straight world at a time when we were more invisible,' said Rosen. 'Joe was a political strategist at a time when we had a president and a Congress who wanted to work with us to get things done. The next leader,' said Rosen, 'will have to be able to do some of both.'

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