Representative Mary Wolfe, 2016 Advocate of the Year
State Representative Mary Wolfe is the recipient of the 2016 Lee Stafford & Jared Ellars Advocate of the Year Award to be presented at the Spirit Awards on October 20th, 2016. Representative Wolfe represents Iowa House District 98 located in Eastern Iowa. In the Iowa House, Representative Wolfe has served as the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee and on the Government Oversight Committee. Representative Wolfe has been a tireless advocate for the LGBTQ community and has continued to fight for comprehensive bullying prevention laws. During the 2016 legislative session, members of the Government Oversight Committee staged a political stunt in an effort to disrupt and ultimately shut down the Annual Iowa Governor's Conference on LGBTQ Youth. The Governor's Conference thrived in the face of the extreme right and saw the attendance expand to over 1,200 attendees in 2016. The stunt completely backfired on the far right and showed yet again that hate is not an Iowa value. Representative Wolfe led efforts to fight back against the extreme rhetoric about the Governor's Conference and continued to put the focus back on supporting LGBTQ youth across the state. Thanks to Representative Wolfe's leadership, LGBTQ youth continue to have a safe place to go and connect with others without fear of being bullied.
About the Lee Stafford & Jared Ellars Advocate of the Year Award
Lee & Jared are a couple living in Des Moines who in 2013 became the focus of national attention. While looking for a venue for their wedding, Lee & Jared were turned away because the venue discriminated against their sexual orientation. The ensuing uproar by the far right and bullying Lee & Jared experienced led them to fight back and serve as role models to the entire LGBTQ community about not letting discrimination go unchecked. The Award is presented annually to an individual who has advocated to improve the lives of LGBTQ youth in Iowa communities and schools.