Los Angeles–In light of the unprecedented threat to LGBT civil rights represented by the incoming Donald Trump Administration and 115th Congress, Equality California announced today that it has hired its first national policy director, veteran political strategist Valerie Ploumpis. Ploumpis will lead Equality California’s legislative and administrative programs in Washington, D.C. She will help fight to protect LGBT civil rights gains at the federal level, including executive orders and directives that protect LGBT people from workplace discrimination, expand Title IX to include discrimination based on gender identity, protect transgender students, shield many of California’s 250,000 LGBT undocumented immigrants from deportation, and more. In addition, she will lead Equality California’s efforts to defend the Affordable Care Act, which for the first time brought healthcare coverage to millions of LGBT people who had previously been shut out because of HIV status or preexisting conditions. She also will help further California’s unique role as a global leader of LGBT civil rights and progressive policies. Ploumpis is based in Washington, D.C. and began work on January 1.
“We’re thrilled that Valerie will move into this new role leading our federal advocacy efforts,” said Rick Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California. “Now more than ever, California is positioned as a bastion of LGBT civil rights and as a beacon of hope in Donald Trump’s America. Valerie will play an instrumental role as we fight attacks on the Affordable Care Act that so many LGBT people rely on, on undocumented immigrants and on the LGBT community in general.”
Ploumpis is a political expert with more than two decades of experience in issue-advocacy campaigns, grassroots education and mobilization, coalition building, lobbying and media outreach. She serves on the board of directors of OutRight International Action, a global LGBT civil rights organization, and was board co-chair of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund’s Campaign Board, a national PAC which endorses and supports LGBT political candidates and elected officials.. Prior to joining Equality California, she was a principal at Burnside & Associates, where she managed political and mobilization campaigns. She previously served as associate director of the Japan Business Federation, an organization promoting trade between the United States and Japan, where she oversaw an organizational rebranding effort and conducted outreach to the U.S. and foreign governments. She also was senior vice president of the European-American Business Council, where she advised member companies on legislative and regulatory developments affecting trade. Ploumpis holds a BA in international relations from Mills College and an MA in international relations from Johns Hopkins University.
“As a native Californian and long-time DC resident, I am thrilled to be joining Equality California at this critical juncture,” said Ploumpis. “With the incoming Trump Administration and the 115th Congress, Equality California will be on the ground to defend the programs on which every LGBT Californian, our families, and our communities rely. The stakes are high but so is our resolve and passion.”
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