Allan Spear

From OutHistory

(Difference between revisions)
Jump to: navigation, search
Line 36: Line 36:
-
== Interview with Allan Spear from ''Out and Elected'' ==
+
== Interview with Allan Spear from Out and Elected in the USA==
'''Q: What is the President of the Senate and what does is it involve?'''
'''Q: What is the President of the Senate and what does is it involve?'''
A:  The President of the Senate is the chief presiding officer of the Senate. I’m not the power person in the Senate – the Majority Leader is the person who really sets the agenda and who runs the place. Of course being president does put me in the leadership group, but I am not the leader. That varies from state to state. In some states the President of the Senate is the actual leader of the Senate; in other states the Majority Leader is, and he leads from the floor, whereas I stand up at the podium and I preside over the sessions.   
A:  The President of the Senate is the chief presiding officer of the Senate. I’m not the power person in the Senate – the Majority Leader is the person who really sets the agenda and who runs the place. Of course being president does put me in the leadership group, but I am not the leader. That varies from state to state. In some states the President of the Senate is the actual leader of the Senate; in other states the Majority Leader is, and he leads from the floor, whereas I stand up at the podium and I preside over the sessions.   
 +
There are two things I do that give me some power.  One is that I refer bills. All bills that are introduced to the Senate are then referred to the president – I have an assistant who sort of does this with my approval, and we decide which committee each bill should be sent to. The second thing is that I make the parliamentary decisions. And sometimes those can be fairly crucial. Probably the ones that are most crucial are the decisions as to whether amendments are germane or not. Our rules state that an amendment to a bill must be germane to the subject of the bill, so the question of germaneness can often be a judgement call. So, I’m the one who decides this and it can often be very crucial because sometimes amendments are the way for people to get their issues before the body if they could not get a committee hearing or if the bill was defeated in committee. I’m kind of the traffic cop on that.
There are two things I do that give me some power.  One is that I refer bills. All bills that are introduced to the Senate are then referred to the president – I have an assistant who sort of does this with my approval, and we decide which committee each bill should be sent to. The second thing is that I make the parliamentary decisions. And sometimes those can be fairly crucial. Probably the ones that are most crucial are the decisions as to whether amendments are germane or not. Our rules state that an amendment to a bill must be germane to the subject of the bill, so the question of germaneness can often be a judgement call. So, I’m the one who decides this and it can often be very crucial because sometimes amendments are the way for people to get their issues before the body if they could not get a committee hearing or if the bill was defeated in committee. I’m kind of the traffic cop on that.
Line 60: Line 61:
-
{{Curated Exhibit|exhibit name and link=[[Out and Elected|Out and Elected in the U.S.A.]]|firstname=Ron|lastname=Schlittler}}
+
<div style="text-align: right; direction: ltr; margin-left: 1em;">
 +
Return to [[Out and Elected in the USA]] index • Go to [[New Hampshire Elected Officials|next article]]
 +
</div>
 +
 
 +
 
 +
{{Curated Exhibit|exhibit name and link=[[Out and Elected in the USA|Out and Elected in the USA]]|firstname=Ron|lastname=Schlittler}}
 +
 
[[Category:Out and Elected]]
[[Category:Out and Elected]]
Line 66: Line 73:
[[Category:Minnesota]]
[[Category:Minnesota]]
[[Category:Minnesota - Minneapolis]]
[[Category:Minnesota - Minneapolis]]
 +
[[Category:1970-1979]]
 +
[[Category:1980-1989]]
 +
[[Category:1990-1999]]
 +
[[Category:20th century]]
 +
[[Category:Politics]]

Revision as of 22:01, 27 May 2008

In May of 2000, Allan Spear announced his retirement after 28 years in the Senate. He also retired from his position as a history professor so he and his partner can have more time together. Spear plans to remain active with various groups dealing with criminal law and corrections; a big focus of much of his work during his senate career. Photo by Ron Schlittler.


Allan Spear, (D)

Born June 24, 1937

State Senator, 60th District

Minneapolis, Minnesota

65,000 constituents



Career Overview

Elected November 1972

Came out in 1974

Reelected in 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996

Elected President of the Senate by the Senate in January 1993 and served in that role until he retired in 2000.


Interview with Allan Spear from Out and Elected in the USA

Q: What is the President of the Senate and what does is it involve?

A: The President of the Senate is the chief presiding officer of the Senate. I’m not the power person in the Senate – the Majority Leader is the person who really sets the agenda and who runs the place. Of course being president does put me in the leadership group, but I am not the leader. That varies from state to state. In some states the President of the Senate is the actual leader of the Senate; in other states the Majority Leader is, and he leads from the floor, whereas I stand up at the podium and I preside over the sessions.


There are two things I do that give me some power. One is that I refer bills. All bills that are introduced to the Senate are then referred to the president – I have an assistant who sort of does this with my approval, and we decide which committee each bill should be sent to. The second thing is that I make the parliamentary decisions. And sometimes those can be fairly crucial. Probably the ones that are most crucial are the decisions as to whether amendments are germane or not. Our rules state that an amendment to a bill must be germane to the subject of the bill, so the question of germaneness can often be a judgement call. So, I’m the one who decides this and it can often be very crucial because sometimes amendments are the way for people to get their issues before the body if they could not get a committee hearing or if the bill was defeated in committee. I’m kind of the traffic cop on that.


Q: You were elected right after Elaine Noble and became the first openly gay male elected to state office?

A: I was in office two years before she was elected. But I hadn’t come out yet. She was elected in November of ‘74 – and there were a lot of factors compelling me to come out – her election was certainly not the only one, but it was one. I saw she had been elected and that helped push me over the line. It was in December, just a month after she was elected, that I gave an interview to the Minneapolis Star and came out.


Q: As a real part of the history of being out and elected, and as a long-time observer of this unfolding phenomenon over the years, what do you think has been the impact of having out elected officials serving in public office?

A: Well, I think there has been a huge impact. I don’t think that it’s just because of anything I individually have done except that I’ve been there. I know a lot of people who have served with me – either colleagues or staff people, lobbyists in some cases, who have told me that they have changed their views on gay issues over the years because I was the only gay person they ever knew. They met me, and they knew I was gay, and they saw me functioning as, you know, a productive human being and that they developed new ideas and new attitudes about what gay people are and how gay people behave because of that. And I think that’s true not just in politics. I think that’s true if you come out in business, or if you come out, certainly in athletics – whatever you’re in. Coming out does have that impact. I’ve always argued that coming out is the most important political decision that any gay person can ever make. We think of it often as personal rather than a political decision, but it also has this really profound political impact on the people around us and in our own society.


Q: Now that you are retiring, any general reflections?

A: I think as a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community, we are sometimes too hard on ourselves. We sometimes focus too much on the things that are still not done. There is still a lot undone. The majority of the states still don’t have human rights legislation – we don’t have it at the national level. Issues like marriage are still a ways off. So, I understand there is a lot of unfinished agenda, but I think some of the younger people who haven’t been around as long as I have don’t quite realize how far we’ve come and how different the climate is today from what it was when I was a young person in the 1950s and ‘60s – how much more freedom we have to be ourselves. I think my election as President of the Senate is just one example of that. It would have been unthinkable just a couple of decades ago.


Return to Out and Elected in the USA index • Go to next article


This entry is part of the featured exhibit Out and Elected in the USA curated by Ron Schlittler. As it is content created by a named author, editor, or curator, it is not open to editing by the general public. But we strongly encourage you to discuss the content or propose edits on the discussion page, and the author, editor, or curator will make any changes that improve the entry or its content. Thanks.


Add A Comment Here (You need to create an account.)


This needs updating.

Allan died Saturday night.
t-bonham said ...
00:00, 27 April 2011 (EST)
Also fix the picture caption -- spelling of Minnesota: "Minneapolis, Minnisota".


Personal tools