Wednesday, September 12, 2007

One of The People I Admire Most

At a time when there are so many excruciatingly bad examples of leadership in public life, it's an uplifting elixir to be reminded of the extraordinarily good people among us. No one is more "among us" at Cable Positive, and within the Cable industry as Dennis Mangers, President of the California Cable Television Association, past Chairman of Cable Positive's Board of Directors, present Executive Committee member of Cable Positive and the recipient of Cable Positive's first Brad Wojcoski Award for Community Leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Not only has Dennis been a powerful presence within the leadership of Cable Positive and in the fight against HIV/AIDS for at least 15 years, but he is with us each day, inspiring us to do better, and constantly raising the standard of how a human being can live a life that matters, in service to others.

The article reprinted below, from this Sunday's Sacramento Bee is a sparkling tribute to Dennis as a public leader, and as a person. I am proud to count him as a friend, colleague and confidant, and as one of the people I admire most.

Marcos Bretón: Role model for politicos with a secret

By Marcos Bretón - Bee Columnist
Published 12:00 am PDT Sunday, September 9, 2007

A conservative politician is branded as gay. His "outing" causes anguish in a man with 1950s sensibilities.

Such is the quagmire of Larry Craig, the tortured Idaho Republican busted in an airport men's room by a cop who thought Craig was soliciting him for sex.

The ensuing national debate has stayed in the toilet, reeking of homophobia -- the last frontier of socially accepted bigotry in America.

In conservative circles, Craig is condemned as "sick in the head." In liberal enclaves, people sneer at a family-values hawk caught cruising for sex in a public men's room.

But we can't be too smug in Sacramento because it's only been since 2002 when the first openly gay men were elected to the state Legislature.

The pioneers -- Democratic Assemblymen Mark Leno and John Laird -- are from San Francisco and Santa Cruz, two of the most liberal cities in America.

If there is a gay man elected from conservative country in California, he's hiding in the closets of the state Capitol.

But if he ventured out, Dennis Mangers would be there to help him.

"For men like this poor, tortured senator -- men who were married or in politics and are gay -- people send them to me," said Mangers from his office across the street from the state Capitol.

Mangers is an equally significant role model for those of us who are straight. He is an openly gay man who walks with respect in the corridors of political power. He built a life of achievements while discarding soul-destroying secrets. He isn't defined by his sexuality, but isn't ashamed of it either.

Mangers knows something about being an elected official with a secret.

At 67, Mangers is five years older than Craig. He's a Democrat from ideologically conservative Orange County. He was the eldest son of a macho dad, an Eagle Scout and just like Craig, a student body president in college.

Mangers married the homecoming queen, had children, served in the Navy, became a teacher, a principal and then in 1976, a state assemblyman.

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