“Historians will write
about this period for
generations to come.
And I've had a front row
seat for all of it.”

Read more about Bob Kabel's experience as a gay republican in
his book Inside and Out: The Odyssey of a Gay Conservative

Inside and Out Book

Bob Kabel

Bob Kabel rose from humble Midwestern roots to serve in the highest corridors of power in Washington, D.C. He built a distinguished career as policy expert, lobbyist, political strategist, GOP leader, and advocate for LGBT equality.

His first political job was on the staff of Tennessee Governor Winfield Dunn. From there, he moved to Washington, D.C. to work for Senator Paul Fannin (R-AZ), helping to draft key tax legislation. Later, he worked for GOP Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana. Bob’s star continued rising, and he was soon tapped to work in President Ronald Reagan’s White House. He served as a special assistant to the president for legislative affairs for three years before joining the private sector after Reagan’s 1984 re-election.

For more than 30 years, Bob had a successful law and consulting practice at two large firms in D.C., where he had an active practice representing a wide range of clients.Aside from his law and consulting career, he took on significant outside responsibilities. In the early 1990s, he served as the first national board chair of Log Cabin Republicans. In that capacity, Bob helped build the nation’s only LGBT Republican political organization. He also served more than 20 years in leadership positions for the District of Columbia Republican Party, including election as the first openly gay chairman of a state GOP. His service to the D.C. GOP included eight years as Republican national committeeman.

Millions of young men and women all over the country dream of one day walking the corridors of power in the nation’s capital.

Bob was one who literally got to live the dream, due in part to luck but more to hard work and taking advantage of opportunities that came his way. He worked for a governor and two United States senators. He drafted legislative language that became the foundation for some of the most significant tax legislation of the past 50 years. He had the distinct honor of working in the White House for Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States. He has been a trusted advisor in matters of state and matters of conscience for some of the most powerful men and women in the United States and abroad. He has flown on Air Force One and on Army helicopters.

Bob worked hard and reaped the rewards, but not without trials and obstacles. Some of them were typical: the hurdles of gaining knowledge and maturity, being able to thrive in the most competitive arena imaginable, and gaining the favor of just the right mentors along the way. These days, being gay or lesbian is not widely considered a hindrance to a successful career, but in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, being gay was at the very least awkward and could at times be quite dangerous.That includes Bob’s own story of being kidnapped, robbed, and shot by a young hustler in Nashville,Tennessee. Aside from the physical danger, being gay could be the equivalent of the scarlet letter for a young man with designs on making his mark in Republican politics. Somehow, he persevered and learned a few lessons along the way.