June 6, 2024

EDA Celebrates LGBTQ+ Pride 2024 with Economic Development Leaders Across America

This month, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) allies with economic development leaders across the United States who have joined together to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Pride. The Biden-Harris Administration is the most pro-LGBTQ+ in America’s history, with the greatest number of out and proud public servants ever. 

Sect. Raimondo and EDA's Jonathan Lovitz

Pride Month is an important opportunity to raise awareness of ongoing discrimination faced by the LGBTQ+ community, while also celebrating more than 50 years of progress toward equity and full equality under the law. It’s a milestone moment for reflection on both the past and present contributions of the United States’ LGBTQ+ communities, and also a chance to take stock of how those contributions have secured and strengthened the American nation.  

EDA staff are at the forefront of recognizing and celebrating these contributions. 

Recently, EDA's Director of Public Affairs and Senior Advisor Jonathan Lovitz (he/him) reflected on the life and achievements of activist and author David Mixner, who made it possible for LGBTQ+ Americans to become openly-LGBTQ+ public servants.

Recently, EDA assembled a panel drawn from some of our networks’ LGBTQ+ economic development leaders to discuss what Pride means to them:


Abigale "Abby" Belcrest (they/them), DC  

Abigaile Belcrest

"My time at EDA has deepened my understanding of Pride as a practice of community engagement. Both in the office and in the field, Pride highlights the impact of being fully present and invested in your community – fostering supportive relationships and delivering excellent work. It reminds me that we rely on each other to achieve common objectives, and I am grateful to join such a warm and welcoming community that embraces genuine collaboration.” 

Abby is currently on detail to the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and National Programs, where they are supporting the rollout of the Phase 2 Tech Hubs announcement and the Phase 2 Recompete Pilot Program announcement this summer. They previously served as the Deputy Chief of Staff at the Bureau of Industry and Security. 



Jeff Hays (he/him), Arizona 

Jeff Hayes

“As a mature man and career civil servant, I see Pride Month as an opportunity to celebrate the acceptance I have experienced in the personal and professional sides of my life.  I know and appreciate that many others come to an awareness, as we highlight ourselves, that we are just normal folk who work or live as friends and neighbors… maybe with just a little more flair (ha!). But we love, laugh, and can get hurt just as easily as anyone else.” 

Jeff Hays is EDA’s Economic Development Representative for Arizona and Northern California. He joined EDA from USDA Rural Development where he served as Community Programs Director and Acting State Director for Arizona. 


Gaby Seltzer (they/them), California  

Gabby Selzer

“Pride is a force that overwhelms shame. The Pride movement encourages me to embrace myself fully and to celebrate my capacity to love. I believe the skills I've learned through my queer and trans experience — such as unapologetic love, valuing the unconventional, and appreciating the power of community — are particular assets in the field of economic development.” 

Gaby Seltzer is an Economic Recovery Corps Fellow posted to the city of Antioch, California. Gaby works on the city’s Crossroads to the Delta project, where they are focused on establishing local business associations, attracting water-based tech startups, and evaluating small business recovery programs.  


Carolyn Fryberger (she/her), North Carolina  

Carolyn Fryberger

"Pride month is a time to recognize the intersecting identities that impact the lived experiences and economic outcomes of the people we serve as economic development professionals.  New Census data shows that members of the LGBTQ+ community are more likely to live below the poverty line and struggle with household bills – though they are employed at the same rate, or higher, than the general population.  Better data and better protections for LGBTQ workers are needed to ensure equitable outcomes for all.” 

Carolyn Fryberger is Assistant Director of Economic Development at NCGrowth, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s EDA-designated University Center. She works with local government and community clients to develop and pursue strategies addressing downtown revitalization, business retention and expansion, and economic development planning.


Frances Weiner (she/her), California  


“I really appreciate the Pride community and the opportunity to celebrate that love is love no matter who you are with. The growth and visibility of this community is proof that the movement is becoming an integral part of our society. “ 

Frances Weiner is an Economic Recovery Corps Fellow posted to the Center by Lendistry in Southern California. There, she is working to create a toolbox of resources to equip community-based organizations and community development financial institutions with the capacity to acquire zero-emission technologies and support environmental justice activities.