Equality California
Equality California Endorses Speaker John A. Pérez for State Controller
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Equality California Endorses Speaker John A. Pérez for State Controller

(Los Angeles) Equality California, the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization in California, today announced its endorsement of Speaker of the Assembly John A. Pérez for State Controller.

Pérez would be the first openly LGBT person elected to serve in one of California’s eight constitutional offices (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Controller, State Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction). That would follow Pérez’s historic term as the first openly gay person in California and in the United States to be elected as speaker of a state legislative assembly.

“Speaker Pérez’s career has been one of leadership and landmarks — not only has he achieved momentous firsts as an out gay man, but he’s been a powerful and effective advocate for the LGBT community, and for Californians broadly,” said John O’Connor, EQCA executive director. “California is at the forefront of LGBT equality, and we owe that in large part to the efforts of Speaker Pérez. We know that his election as Controller would break a glass ceiling for openly LGBT candidates for elected office. It would be both symbolic and impactful for LGBT people in California and across the country.”

Among the highlights of Pérez’s service in the Assembly are working to sustain funding in the state budget for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, increasing fiscal support for domestic violence programs that provide competent care to LGBT individuals, requiring the Office of Multicultural Health to include programming for the LGBT community, and leading the effort to ensure that all managed care plans in the state provide the full range of health care coverage needed by transgender individuals.

“I’m extremely proud of the legislation I’ve championed to protect and create opportunity for the LGBT community,” said Speaker Pérez. “I am honored to have the support and endorsement of Equality California in my campaign for Controller. I look forward to ensuring LGBT Californians have equal rights and the tools to succeed in school, worksites and communities."

The State Controller, in addition to being the chief fiscal officer for the state, sits on 81 state boards and commissions with jurisdiction over issues that touch the lives of LGBT Californians such as education, housing and health. Speaker Pérez would bring a passionate voice to these decision-making bodies on behalf of the LGBT community.

Notable in this race and indicative of advances in equality is that the two lead contenders are both extraordinary champions of LGBT equality, perhaps more so than any other constitutional officer race before. Also running for Controller is the Honorable Betty Yee, one of four elected members and past chair of the California Board of Equalization. Yee has been an exceptional champion of equality for LGBT Californians, especially in advancing tax equality for same-sex couples as a member of the Board of Equalization. She has also served with distinction for many years on the board of directors of Equality California Institute, EQCA’s educational affiliate.

“We have a long and treasured relationship with the Honorable Betty Yee,” said EQCAPAC Chair Richard Poppen. “She has been and continues to be one of the LGBT community’s greatest advocates, and we hold her service in the highest esteem.”

The Equality California Political Action Committee endorses viable candidates running for statewide offices and the state legislature 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 (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to a state with some of the most comprehensive human rights protections in the nation. Equality California has partnered with legislators to successfully sponsor more than 90 pieces of pro-equality legislation. EQCA continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org