Jo Ann Emerson, vicious homophobe, to head NRECA

Jo Ann Emerson is the Wrong Choice for the NRECA

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) is one of the largest and most influential trade associations in Washington, DC (and the US).  And yesterday they announced their new CEO, Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson from Missouri (R-8th), one of the most virulently anti-gay members of the entire US Congress.

The NRECA represents and services all of the electric (and related) cooperative utilities in the country, not just in “rural” areas (in spite of its name). It has about 900 member utilities that serve 40 million people and own almost half of the US power grid.  The NRECA CEO’s influence is huge, especially since the association sets the tone and often policies – including employment policies – for all of the member companies.  And it has had a “public interest” history.

Not any more.

Jo Ann Emerson

Jo Ann Emerson

Jo Ann Emerson Voted to Ban Gay Couples in DC from Adopting Children

Gratuitously anti-gay.

Viciously anti-gay.

Jo Ann Emerson was against ENDA.  She was against gay adoption in DC.  Against the hate crimes bill.  Against domestic partner recognition.  In favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment.  And she had a rating of ZERO from the Human Rights Campaign, which comes as little surprise when you get into the guts of her record, which is steeped in bigotry.

Let me walk you through the panoply of Jo Ann Emerson’s anti-gay votes in Congress.  The thing is, she didn’t just vote against us.  She went out of her way to support the worst of the worst anti-gay Republicans in the House, who offered vicious amendments to undercut the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and to preserve the Defense of Marriage Act.

I keep using the word “vicious” because no other word suits such a hideously, gratuitously, anti-gay record.  What right did Emerson think she had, as a congresswoman from Missouri, to vote to ban gay couples in Washington, DC from being able to adopt children?  The arrogance, the level of hate, and the almost activist intensity with which she used her position in Congress to harm gays,  is stunning.

Here are the details of Jo Ann Emerson’s hateful anti-gay record in Congress from HRC’s scorecard and “On the Issues“:

  • Opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
  • Voted against ENDA, legislation to ban job discrimination against gay and trans people.
  • Voted yes on amending the US Constitution to ban gay marriage.
  • Voted to ban gay parents in DC from adopting children.
  • Opposed adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the Hate Crimes bill.
  • Supported the Foxx amendment to the 2012 Defense Appropriations Act that would require the military to continue discriminating against gay and lesbian service members.
  • Supported the Huelskamp amendment to the 2012 Defense Appropriations Act to ban Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal training manuals.
  • Supported yet another anti-gay, anti-DADT, pro-DOMA amendment to the 2013 DOD Appropriations Act by Rep. King.
  • Supported a separate Huelskamp amendment to the FY2013 Commerce, Justice & Science Appropriations Act “to prohibit the Administration from using any federal funds to undermine or bring suit against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) or state constitutional amendments protecting traditional marriage.”
  • Opposed legislation to “amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide same-sex partners of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents the same immigration benefits that legal, different-sex spouses of U.S. permanent residents enjoy.”
  • Opposed legislation “to provide spousal health-care, retirement, and other benefits to all federal civilian employees with qualifying same-sex domestic partners.”

Anti-Civil Rights Activists are not “Moderate”

The NRECA is trying to sell Jo Ann Emerson to the public as some kind of moderate!  A moderate what?  It would have been nearly impossible to find someone worse on gay civil rights than Jo Ann Emerson.

Huge American organizations – especially behind the scenes ones like NRECA – need to be held accountable for their choices in leaders, especially when they’ll have so much influence in setting employment policies and other rules affecting so many people around the country.  NRECA is incredibly influential.  They should be held to the highest standards.

And their member utilities are just that – public utilities with public charters.  So there’s a quasi-governmental quality to the organization.  And its leader believes in discriminating against a large segment of American society, which also include some of her own employees.

The weird thing is that the organization isn’t reputed to be anti-gay at its core.  Quite the contrary, it’s rooted in liberal, FDR New Deal-type development, universal service, principles.  Which is why it’s so out of character for them to being hiring a virulent bigot.

The NRECA claims that “[t]he respect [Emerson] has from both sides of the aisle and her proven ability to bridge political and policy divides and find common ground will serve NRECA well.”  Respect?  Bridge political divides and find common ground?  Yeah, she did a great job finding common ground with the worst legislative gay-bashers in the US House of Representatives.  And you sure have to respect the tenacity it takes to be a class-A bigot.

How Can Anyone Gay Work at the NRECA in the Future, Knowing the Contempt their Boss has for Them?

I pity any gay or trans people – hell, any Democrats – working under Jo Ann Emerson at the NRECA.  She quite literally voted to take away the civil rights of her own employees at the NRECA, she voted to ban them from having children.

How do you work for someone like that after they cast such a hideous vote against your basic humanity?  And how can Emerson treat her new gay employees with any modicum of fairness when she clearly has such contempt for them as human beings?

What a complete #FAIL.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • civil

    Said the anti-straight bigot. – If you want life to be equal, peaceful, and without hate, think about, “In life you will find, you’ll get what you give.” All we are saying is, “Give peace a chance.”

  • civil

    I was a hippy in the 60/70 era. There were a lot of people on the left and right who just decided all hippies were dirty, drug abusing. sex crazed, animals. That being said, I have never seen a more hateful cynical group of people as I am seeing here in the homosexual community in general with the responses they are making. There is no reason for so much hate. Maybe you hate everyone. Maybe you’ve been taught to hate anyone who isn’t gay.Maybe you just hate yourself, so you hate others just because. Truly, there is seemingly nothing but pure vitriolic hate coming from anyone who is apparently on the side of gays. You have somehow decided (long ago I’m sure) that everyone who is as much as a church goer is to be seen as less than dog shit on a shoe, while at the same time you ask for, no, you demand tolerance! Why? What makes anyone so angry that anger becomes blatant hate? And before you judge me, you don’t know whether I’m gay or not, so you can’t, or at least shouldn’t assume and then hate. All I’m asking is that you give what you expect to get. If you want peaceful coexistence, then you need to be peaceful. You can’t expect others to accept you as equal if you start out with,”Screw you because you are religious!”, or “Give me what I want, but screw you.” I think you can understand that one HUGE reason gay marriages, gay adoptions, or gay insurance coverages are seemingly hard to come by start with the gay community being overly vocal in a hurtful and hateful manner. You know the old saying, “You’ll catch more flies with honey than you will with vinegar.” makes perfect sense. If you truly expect good things to happen when you begin a conversation with, “Screw you. I hate you and everyone like you.” , then you are disillusioned. Hippies were generally mellow and let hateful language just roll right off. They loved everybody whether it was deserved or not. Eventually hippies were accepted as being truly peaceful people that were a threat to nobody. Eventually the draft ended, voting ages were lowered, drinking ages were lowered, a war ended, and although there were a few crazy people who blew up buildings and what not, the hippies were overall seen as non threatening peaceful people. We ended up getting the things we believed were right and necessary, and did it without ever firing a single “Screw you!” toward the opposition. Rodney King (RIP) had it right, and said to the whole world “People, I just want to say, can’t we all get along? Can’t we ALL get along?” I think if the hate level disappeared, the whole community would probably get the things they’ve been asking for. All they need to do is drop the “Screw you” and the other hateful language.

  • civil

    Don’t confuse a person’s right to free speech with hate. For years homosexuals have wanted an equal voice and now they have it. That does not however, give homosexuals a special dispensation to then deny free speech and an equal voice to the opposing view. That would be ridiculous. It actually makes the homosexual community look like extreme haters who are incapable of being peaceful or kind toward someone who simply has a different opinion. This woman is expressing her views. Obviously they don’t match up with what homosexuals believe. It doesn’t make one right and the other wrong. it simply shows that the two opinions are in direct opposition. You calling her names or passing judgement on her because her views are not yours takes away from that “equal voice”. Finally, after so many years you have an equal voice. How is it that you see that as giving you supreme power over the opinions of others? You don’t have to agree. You don’t have to like the other person’s opinion. You don’t have to like the other person. You just have to accept that the other person has an opposing opinion. Leave it at that. Work peacefully toward changing laws or rules, or whatever, but do it peacefully or you’ll just put a big black mark on your own group of like thinkers (other homosexuals). You’ll give your opposition ammunition by allowing them to point out your hatred, mean spirit, and inability to actually share that “equality” you are able to enjoy after so many years of working to achieve it. You can still do what you want to do if you channel that anger and hatred into something constructive. Quit wasting time, energy, and breath on what you know is a view you can not change in a single person. Quit putting your focus on a person instead of on the opinion that you could convince the public to see through or past by working peacefully toward the changes you desire. There is already too much hate and too many haters. Don’t blame a person for having accepted what they were taught over many years of teaching, training, and parenting. You aren’t going to change their mind by calling them names, fighting with them, or being toward them the way people have been toward the homosexual community over so many years.Change takes action yes, but quiet and peaceful wins more people over than loud and hateful.

  • ZB81

    Electric cooperatives are non-profit member-owned enterprises. They spend more and do a much better job maintaining their lines than their investor owned and municipal competition.

  • ZB81

    It looks like others have addressed the misunderstandings regarding electric cooperatives and NRECA’s role, so I won’t go into it those here. That being said, I wonder if the John can cite specific anti-gay statements by Ms. Emerson, or examples where she has sponsored or co-sponsored homophobic legislation. Basically, from these allegations she sounds like a member of the generally homophobic Republican Party representing a socially “conservative” district who went along with her party’s leadership on these issues (while standing against it in some others such a food stamps, stem cells, and a relatively early turn against the Iraq War). I guess my question is did she generally just vote the party line on these issues, or did she lead the charge? Both are I course of concern, but the latter would be more indicative of real personal animus.

  • http://insideoutandbackwards.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/creepy-clown-nun.jpg Ritorna Vincitor

    Whoever did her eye lift surgery, what were they using as a model? A photo of Chuck Connors?

  • codyj

    oh, and yeah, Ms Pony? i ‘stumbled” by your 1961 single wide the other day..love your new curtains, what a WONDERFULL WAY to re-use old newspapers, its simple amazing what one can do with a 3RD grade educ…CONGRADS!

  • codyj

    hmmm,can’t say i’m crazy ’bout her plastik surgeon, I’ve seen better ‘pans’ under an icebox.

  • http://www.facebook.com/manny.espinola Manny Espinola

    No means must be spared for NRECA to be rid of this pestilence!

  • LisaSpamier

    Why even say she’s a biggot, the ‘R’ next to her name pretty much gives that away. http://www.ficksitall.blogspot.com

  • Sweetie

    Go ahead and rate down the truth… See if it cares. lol

  • rob

    You know that bigoted b*tch is going to be outed any day now as a self-hating closet case. I’ll never understand why Rethuglican, conservative, right-wing, religious fanatics think they can force other normal
    people to accept their deviant views and lifestyle. They love to tell other
    people how to live their lives, while their own lives are in shambles. The
    Christian (esp. Catholic, Mormon, Evangelical, and Southern Baptist) Taliban in
    this country are going to face a violent wake up call soon if they keep trying
    to spread their hatred, intolerant views, and intolerant actions on normal
    Americans. And it is patently unfair that Gay Americans and their loved ones
    should suffer the effects of discrimination while the bigots and their loved
    ones go about their lives as if nothing is wrong. Anyone coming into contact
    with Jo Ann Emerson, the people who hired her, or their loved ones, SHOULD
    TAKE ANY ACTION POSSIBLE TO HARM THEM. Maybe when the bigots start paying a
    high price for their discriminatory actions, they’ll think twice before
    committing the same crimes in the future.

  • bkmn

    When you are not that old and you need a ton of plastic surgery I guess you will lie down with any man (or group of men) to make sure that your cheek bones are highlighted.

    It goes back to substance vs. style, and we know JAE has no style.

  • caphilldcne

    I’m actually somewhat surprised by this record since she has been fairly good on DC home rule issues such as protecting the ability to use local funds for DC syringe exchange. She became a Representative after the death of her husband and continued his legacy in favor of substance abuse treatment and has been mentioned below has generally been good on HIV/AIDS issues. She was one of five Republican representatives to vote to overturn the federal ban on syringe exchange (and protected it in DC). Still her record is obviously terrible on LGBT issues and it’s a legitimate issue and the vote on DC adoption is quite damning. It is not the whole substance of her record and that should be said. I will just add that there are issues in which a Member, particularly a chair, is required to vote with the majority in order to later call a point of order. I think David Obey has a couple of those votes that are exactly the opposite of how he felt on his record. I don’t know if any of those votes represent that sort of an issue but it might be worth figuring out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mrs.Vera Vera Newman

    well hopefully she will learn something from the standards you will hold her to, that would be great.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mrs.Vera Vera Newman

    when treated as less than equal, or human, by a person in power who goes out of their way to follow the mob’s sentiment, instead of the constitution, to blithely attack your rights and the legitimacy and the value of your citizenry, you may just find yourself resorting to cruel humor, since plain regular old cruelty is already trademarked by ,well, people like her.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mrs.Vera Vera Newman

    certain populations of rural missouri perhaps, the kind she personally feels don’t require her big government intrusion into their 2nd class lives

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mrs.Vera Vera Newman

    I think the woman whose face they removed had a head to small to properly cover the crested dinosaur-like cranium of the devils from space attempting to infiltrate our society wwWOoooOooOooo…ooooooOoo….ooooo

  • Baron54

    So, Butchie, it’s ok to attack someone on their looks?

  • Don Chandler

    Great pic. I immediately looked for a Coulter-style-adams-apple but couldn’t see one. Then I saw the eyes and looked for the eye teeth. There were none! Like our reptile ancestors, the hater seemingly lacks the differentiated teeth of the standard mammal. It should be no surprise that the hater has all one kind of teeth with the simple purpose of snatching the prey and swallowing it whole…perhaps one must have incisors to fully develop empathy ;)

  • Butch1

    Well said.

  • Don Chandler

    Or another hit and run.

  • Butch1

    It’s just another “drive-by.”

  • Butch1

    A republican from Missouri who looks like she may be one step away from casting a spell on you if you cross her, I can only wonder how much air-brushing it took to erase all of the evil in her face to make her presentable for a photograph. I see tons of makeup and a smile of which would make any old Buick envious to have such a grill. ;-)

  • Baron54

    Please don’t let me confuse you with the facts. Cooperatives are owned by the members we serve. We are PRIVATE, non- profit entities. As a CEO of a large cooperative I can tell you that we, all coops, and NRECA have the same policies of non-discrimination as the rest of the country. Regardless of that, we treat all people with the same amount of respect, equally. We DO NOT discriminate against anybody for any reason. And, NRECA has absolutely nothing to do with its members hiring practices. I run my coop, NRECA does not. Same goes for all the others across the country. Ms. Emerson shall be judged on her record as CEO of NRECA. Cooperatives across this nation have the business model that returns power to the members we serve, in business only to improve the quality of life for EACH and EVERY member we serve.

  • http://www.seriouslyspain.com/ Seriously Spain

    Not surprising she would be chosen. There are far too many anti-gay bigots in the US. Very sad.

  • Asterix

    Indigo, I don’t agree with your characterization of rural electric in general. My own utility provider is a rural electric co-op that buys and sells power from the same sources that the other private power companies do and is a member of the Touchstone Energy group. The big difference is that the customers vote for the board and president and are kept apprised of the current state of the utility. No boondoggle that I can tell.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    And you speak for rural MO, my god that’s says it all Ms. The Hills Have Eyes.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    We are sorry too, that you stumbled on this site and managed to put hooves in mouth pony gurrrl.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Voted YES on opening Outer Continental Shelf to oil drilling.

    Voted YES on barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.

    Voted NO on enforcing limits on CO2 global warming pollution.

    Voted NO on tax credits for renewable electricity, with PAYGO offsets.

    Surprise!

    http://www.ontheissues.org/house/Jo_Ann_Emerson_Energy_+_Oil.htm

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    What exactly is wrong about my story? She did support all of that hate. And that’s why my story alleges – that she’s an anti-gay bigot. I don’t care what she did for the other 90% of her constituents, she’s an anti-gay bigot, that’s what I alleged, and you’ve offered no proof to counter my research.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    No she hasn’t. She bashed the gays in her constituency every legislative chance she got. Then she went out of her way to bash gays in DC, when it wasn’t even her own district. That’s just gratuitous. And if the people in her district didn’t like blacks or Jews, she’d vote against their civil rights too? Wow, that’s a scary admission.

    As for being a Google mommy, that’s me. I already did the research. She has the voting record of a homophobe. Prove me wrong.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Prove it. I researched her record, then documented it. If it’s wrong, prove it. Tell us what’s wrong.

    Are you saying that there another side to voting to ban gay couples in DC from adopting children, when it’s not even your own district? I’d love to hear what that other side is.

    And her desire to put anti-gay bigotry in the US Constitution, I’d love to hear that one too.

    If this is the best defense that this woman’s friends have to offer, then all I can say is j’accuse.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Just go to the link John provided above: http://www.ontheissues.org/house/jo_ann_emerson.htm

    Scroll down to Energy & Oil and the Environment. Her positions record is not good.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    That’s good. She was still a horrific homophobe on everything else, and perhaps was able to separate gay from AIDS in her mind (though that would be a surprising leap, considering her record). The DC adoption stuff is what really stands out for me – you take a stand in favor of banning that, and you really are gratuitously hateful, especially considering it’s not even your own district.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Either you don’t understand what the word ‘propaganda’ means, or you don’t have a problem with gay-hating bigotry.

    Either way, I am glad I do not know you.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Yeah I thought Bachmann too when I saw that pic, funny.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ed.adams.370 Ed Adams

    LOL. Like most anti-gay bigots you have trouble with facts and reality.

  • Benz981

    Oh, is that right? So…. please point out the factual inaccuracies of John’s article, and enlighten us with information from “the other side” regarding her pro-equality positions and support of legislation that respects ALL Americans as equal citizens under the law. (Good luck with that.)

  • Jonathan_Justice

    So, where is she on the rising flood of global climate disruption? One might also ask where she is on locally distributed generation of electric power and the storage problem. I somehow doubt that the answers will please me?

  • MsPony65

    Ms Emerson, if you’d do some simple research, has long been a stalwart advocate for her constituency in rural MO. She actually votes according to the will of the people who put her in office – something with which some folk seem to be unfamiliar.

    And don’t demand citations. I’m not your google mommy.. Do something on your own instead of chewing someone else’s sound bite.

  • MsPony65

    “Deliberate” and “malicious” describe this article. One-side, vicious, and total propaganda.

  • MsPony65

    Wow. You sure do paint people with a broad brush.

    Sorry I stumbled on this site that viciously labels anyone with whom you disagree. And how telling is it that you found the worst possible picture of Ms Emerson – who has done more for rural Missouri than you seem to realize – and posted it.

    Very telling on you and your lack of research.

  • Sweetie

    It’s always easier to engage in victim blaming, because they’re the low-hanging fruit.

  • Sweetie

    Heterosexism derives its power from the heterosexual majority.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    That’s the fire of insane religious zealotry you see burning behind those eyes.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Perhaps so, but in the last decade or so, HIV/AIDs has stopped being “the gay disease” and now most newly contracted cases are among heterosexual women and intravenous drug users.

    I’m also not willing to forgive one non-heinous position when it’s counterbalanced with vote after vote deliberately and maliciously attempting to deny the basic humanity of LGBT folks. Paul Ryan’s one vote in favor of ENDA doesn’t wipe out the rest of his gay-hating voting record, for instance — and Jo Ann Emerson’s record is even worse than his.

  • cole3244

    corporate america is the home for the bigoted scum in america to ply their trade.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Bet she has a massage wand in her closet named Wanda.

  • starmann

    She even looks evil!

  • dula

    “It has about 900 member utilities that serve 40 million people and own almost half of the US power grid.”

    Of course they would want a dirty Neocon to help them hoard profits instead of reinvesting in their aging power grid. Where is Hugo Chavez when you need him.

  • Pat

    I take your point on all of the above positions and they are indeed disagreeable. However, having worked for a bit with the domestic HIV/AIDS non-profit sector I can verify that Emerson was pretty supportive of these issues during her time in Congress.

  • http://twitter.com/listless_art listless_art

    I loathe her and have always voted against her. I will work for and support any progressive who runs for her seat.

  • HereinDC

    Maybe she hides it really well.
    Just sayin’…

  • cslib

    What’s with these anti-gay bigots and the Michele Bachmann crazy eyes?

  • MyrddinWilt

    Well thats one bigot less in the House.

    Unless they find someone equally bad to replace her which given that she polled 72% in the last election seems likely.

    Seems odd that she would resign only a few weeks after the election. But not really when you consider that she was an 8-term rep and a chairwoman in this Congress and despite being elected to a 9th term Boehner didn’t have a chair spot for her or for any other woman in the caucus. So the party really can’t complain about her leaving.

    Its a win-win, she gets a huge salary and the GOP will be happy to have replaced another uterus owner with the owner of a penis.

    Of course the people who elected her might be less happy with her decision to jump ship weeks after re-election to cash in for herself but that is exactly what the GOP is all about.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    That is often the case. Though I’ve not heard anything about her in particular.

  • HereinDC

    Well……..from what we’ve learned from the past….. many times…….
    The ones who speak the loudest against anti-gay ….they are the ones who are gay…..
    Just Sayin’

  • SavonarolasAshes

    I’m surprised that this snake-juggling hag knows about electricity.

  • Cletus

    The scary is powerful with this one…

  • Indigo

    The history of Rural Electric is not today’s RE exactly like “this is not your father’s Chevrolet.” Ya know? RE today is just another bloated congressional bureaucracy and, like most of the others, has lost its way long since, shape-shifting into a building filled with desks where patronage determines who gets the window cubicle. This person you object to is from solid rural Missouri, she’s held her post for a good long while without change-making objections, and now it’s her turn. It’s an ill-conceived rotation of the chairs, no doubt, but it’s how the System works. You see, she’s in office and dislodging her is difficult. Shall we give it a try? Is it worth the effort?

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