Los Angeles — Equality California today announced the endorsements of 10 strong LGBT allies for office in Congress and the California Legislature.
“These candidates represent the length and breadth of the state and come from a variety of backgrounds and experience,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “However, they share a commitment to full LGBT equality and acceptance and to improving the health and wellbeing of the LGBT community and the diverse communities of which we are a part.”
The EQCA-endorsed candidates are:
Dr. Joaquin Arambula for Assembly District 31 (Fresno) – Arambula is a Central Valley native and a strong LGBT ally. As an emergency room physician, he understands firsthand the specific healthcare needs and challenges of the LGBT community and of LGBT undocumented Californians. He has shown commitment to ensuring everyone gets the care they deserve, regardless of their social or economic status. Equality California looks forward to working with him in the assembly as part of its fight for quality, affordable healthcare for everyone in the LGBT community.
Al Muratsuchi for Assembly District 66 (L.A. County South Bay) – Muratsuchi is running for the assembly seat he occupied from 2012 to 2014, where he earned a 100 percent Equality Score rating from Equality California for two years in a row. In the 1990s, as Pacific Southwest regional director of the Japanese American Citizens League, he led the organization to become the first Asian-American civil rights group to support marriage equality and oppose the Defense of Marriage Act.
Nancy Skinner for Senate District 9 (Berkeley) — Nancy Skinner represented Assembly District 15 (East Bay) from 2008-2014. During that time, she earned a 100 percent Equality Score each year, authored legislation ensuring single women and lesbian couples equal access to fertility treatments, and led efforts for transgender-friendly restrooms in the Capitol. She cast her first vote as a Berkeley city councilperson in the 1980s in favor of establishing municipal domestic partnerships, and was on the front lines at demonstrations for increased government funding for HIV programs.
Johnathon Ervin for Senate District 21 (Lancaster) – A U.S. Air Force veteran and aerospace engineer, Ervin has served in various positions in local government. He was a member of the Muroc Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees and the Lancaster Planning Commission, where he was a strong voice for working families and disadvantaged communities. He has worked in coalition with the LGBT community of the Antelope Valley and Democratic Club of the High Desert against Proposition 8 in 2008.
Henry Stern for Senate District 27 (Agoura Hills) – Stern is currently senior policy advisor to State Senator Fran Pavley, whom he hopes to succeed. Stern’s commitment to safer neighborhoods, schools that offer quality education and a supportive environment to all students and a greener, sustainable California will benefit the LGBT community together with all Californians. He has a keen understanding of the disparities in health and wellbeing faced by millions of LGBT people. Equality California is endorsing him because it believes that his experience in Sacramento, his policy expertise and his commitment to social justice for the LGBT community, together with all the communities of which LGBT people are a part, will make him a strong ally in the California Senate.
Sukhee Kang for Senate District 29 (Fullerton) – Kang was elected to the Irvine City Council in 2004 following a door-to-door campaign in which he knocked on 20,000 doors. In 2008 he became the first-ever Korean American mayor of a U.S. city larger than 100,000. He is a strong supporter of LGBT civil rights, and issued a powerful statement following last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision extending marriage equality nationwide.
Michael Eggman for Congressional District 10 (Turlock) – Eggman grew up in the Central Valley on land he still farms. In addition to being an enthusiastic LGBT ally, he supports Equality California legislative priorities including comprehensive immigration reform, improved access to healthcare and adoption of the proposed federal Equality Act. Eggman is the brother of current California LGBT Legislative Caucus Chair Susan Eggman.
Jimmy Panetta for Congressional District 20 (Monterey) – A decorated Navy veteran and Monterey County deputy district attorney, Panetta is the son of former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. He served on the California Councils on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, which provided guidance to the governor’s office on critical criminal justice programs. Panetta has demonstrated a deep understanding of LGBT civil rights and social justice issues, and is a strong supporter of the proposed federal Equality Act.
Bryan Caforio for Congressional District 25 (Santa Clarita) – Caforio, an attorney, is a progressive voice in a competitive district. He seeks to replace staunch conservative Steve Knight, who is a consistent vote against legislation advancing the civil rights of LGBT people. Caforio protested against the U.S. military’s exclusion of LGBT people and its on-campus recruitment efforts while a Yale law student and remains committed to the equality of all Americans.
Isadore Hall III for Congressional District 44 (Compton) – Hall has been a strong voice for LGBT civil rights since first elected to the California Assembly in 2008. He earned an Equality Score rating of 100 percent all six years he served in that body, and again in the Senate in 2015. In addition to his strong support of protections for LGBT people, Hall will be an advocate in Congress for comprehensive immigration reform, affordable healthcare and the federal Equality Act.
The Equality California Political Action Committee endorses viable candidates who have a proven track record of supporting equal rights and legal protections for LGBT Californians and who are committed to advancing these goals in their capacity as elected officials.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization dedicated to creating a fair and just society. Our mission is to achieve and maintain full and lasting equality, acceptance, and social justice for all people in our diverse LGBT communities, inside and outside of California. Our mission includes advancing the health and well-being of LGBT Californians through direct healthcare service advocacy and education. Through electoral, advocacy, education and mobilization programs, we strive to create a broad and diverse alliance of LGBT people, educators, government officials, communities of color and faith, labor, business, and social justice communities to achieve our goals. www.eqca.org