Anti-LGBT Record of Trump’s Nominee for Air Force Secretary Seen as Troubling
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, released the following statement today regarding President Donald Trump’s nomination of former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson as Air Force Secretary:
“The nomination of former Rep. Heather Wilson as Secretary of the Air Force raises serious concerns about whether President Donald Trump can be counted on to honor his promise to treat LGBT Americans equally and to provide the armed forces with the best talent to defend this nation.
As a member of Congress, Rep. Wilson consistently opposed measures to protect LGBT Americans from discrimination or grant them equal protection under the law.
As a senate candidate, Rep. Wilson opposed a bill intended to reduce anti-LGBT bullying, saying that victims should simply be stronger and more ‘comfortable with themselves’ instead of expecting perpetrators to be held accountable. In the Air Force, where it’s imperative to make clear that sexual harassment and anti-LGBT conduct have no place, this is a troubling position for any senior leader to adopt.
As Senate members weigh the nomination, they should scrutinize this part of her record and consider whether Rep. Wilson is the right person for a job that requires placing cohesion and merit above personal bias. Wilson has a heavy task in demonstrating to the Armed Services Committee that she is the right person to foster a climate of professionalism and respect for all service members, including LGBT troops and women.”
Heather Ann Wilson (born December 30, 1960) is President of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, South Dakota. She is a former Republican member of the United States House of Representatives representing New Mexico’s 1st congressional district from 1998 to 2009. She was the first female military veteran elected to a full term in Congress.
While in Congress, Wilson focused on national security issues, serving on the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the United States House Committee on Armed Services. She also focused on health care, energy, manufacturing and trade, and telecommunications, serving on the United States House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
She opted not to run for re-election to the House in 2008 and sought the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Senator Pete Domenici but finished second in the Republican primary to Congressman Steve Pearce, who then lost the general election to DemocratTom Udall. On March 7, 2011, she announced another run for Senate in 2012 to replace retiring Senator Jeff Bingaman, but lost the general election to Martin Heinrich, her successor in the House of Representatives.
In April 2013 she was selected to be President of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology by the South Dakota Board of Regents. She is the eighteenth president, and first female president, of SD Mines.
The Palm Center is an independent research institute committed to sponsoring state-of-the-art scholarship to enhance the quality of public dialogue about critical and controversial public policy issues. Their research on sexual minorities in the military has been published in leading social scientific journals. The Palm Center seeks to be a resource for university-affiliated as well as independent scholars, students, journalists, opinion leaders, and members of the public. For more information, see www.palmcenter.org