Anthony Woods' star is rising. Benjamin Sarlin at The Daily Beast talks to the black, openly gay congressional candidate and writes a glowing profile. Sarlin says the highly decorated Iraqi War veteran and West Point graduate has "the" biography of this election cycle. "In 2004, it was Barack Obama; in 2006, it was Vietnam vet Jim Webb. Anthony Woods' biography—he’s a gay, black Iraq vet with a Harvard degree—reads like a West Wing script Aaron Sorkin threw into the wastebasket for being too over the top"
Woods’ résumé seems perfectly tuned to attract national attention. One of his top issues is repealing the military’s “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy, an issue that seems to be gathering steam as liberals try to hold President Obama to his campaign pledge. Woods has already received an endorsement from Dan Choi, a fellow West Point graduate whose recent discharge for being gay made him a rallying point for activists, and popular blogger Andrew Sullivan recently took note of his campaign as well.
For Woods, the issue is deeply personal. He was forced to leave a promising Army career after he came out in 2008. He received an honorable discharge under the Don't Ask, Don't Tell rules. “I knew getting into it that if I took a stand, it would be a costly decision and it certainly has become one,” Woods said in an interview with The Daily Beast. "But people have to take a stand for what's right. There's a reason this policy is on the front burner now... We're a country fighting two wars, having trouble recruiting, yet we want to turn away some of our most talented, most well-trained soldiers?"
Woods is running in a special election in California's 10th Congressional District where he grew up. The seat is being vacated later by Rep. Ellen Tauscher who has resigned to become the Obama Administration's Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.
If elected, Woods would become the first openly black gay person elected to Congress, and, only the second gay man who was elected to Congress while fully out of the closet. The first was Colorado's Rep. Jared Polis.
Gay Iraqi Vet Anthony Woods Runs for U.S. House [R20]