LOS ANGELES — Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, announced the endorsements of four pro-equality candidates in some of California’s most competitive Congressional districts: Josh Harder in CA-10, Gil Cisneros in CA-39, Katie Porter in CA-45 and Mike Levin in CA-49. If elected, all four candidates will be champions for full LGBTQ equality and help create a pro-equality majority in Congress.
“Last week made clear that the LGBTQ community and our allies cannot count on the U.S. Supreme Court to provide a necessary check on the Trump-Pence Administration’s anti-equality agenda,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “We must elect leaders who will stand up to the Administration and fight for our civil rights and social justice — and the road to a pro-equality Congress runs right through California.”
On Wednesday, July 11, Equality California will host a fundraiser with U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and the DCCC for eight California Congressional candidates running in the state’s most competitive districts, including Harder, Cisneros, Porter and Levin.
Congressional District 10
A product of California’s Central Valley, Josh Harder is a Modesto Junior College teacher and businessman running as a Democrat in California’s 10th District, which is currently represented by Republican incumbent Congressman Jeff Denham. Denham won re-election in 2016 by the third narrowest margin of any Republican Congressman nationwide — then voted to take health care coverage away from millions of Californians. Harder grew up in Turlock, went to public school and worked his way through college and business school. Now he’s running for Congress to help defend our values against the Trump-Pence Administration’s attacks and create an economy that works for the Central Valley.
“Now more than ever, we need Josh Harder in Congress fighting for full equality,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “Congressman Denham has shown time and time again that he chooses his deep-pocketed donors and lobbyists’ interests over what’s best for members of the LGBTQ community, DREAMers and his Central Valley constituents.”
“Day by day, Equality California works tirelessly to ensure that civil rights and social justice become a key part of our legislative system,” said Josh Harder. “When elected to Congress, it is my priority to join Equality California to fight for equal rights for every American.”
Congressional District 39
Gil Cisneros is an independent leader running to replace anti-LGBTQ extremist Congressman Ed Royce, who announced his retirement last year and was one of just nine members of California’s Congressional delegation to earn a zero percent on Equality California’s 2017 Legislative Scorecard. The son of a public school cafeteria worker and a Vietnam veteran, Gil attended college on a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) scholarship before serving his country for ten years in the U.S. Navy. An education policy expert, Gil is president and co-founder of The Gilbert & Jacki Cisneros Foundation, an organization committed to strengthening public schools, and creating college opportunities for students and veterans. Gil is running for Congress to lower healthcare costs, protect education funding and work to create good-paying local jobs.
“Equality California is proud to endorse Gil because he is a true champion for LGBTQ civil rights and social justice,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “Gil has been a strong ally in our fight for equality and he understands how important the values of inclusion, diversity and equality are for all Southern Californians. We need leaders who are committed to equal rights and inclusiveness, and we trust Gil to champion that fight in Congress.”
“I’m honored to receive Equality California’s endorsement,” said Gil Cisneros. “No person should ever be denied equality and dignity because of who they are and who they love. We must continue to push for equal rights and inclusion, and I’m proud to stand with the LGBTQ community and against discrimination and hate. In Congress, I will advocate for the Equality Act and fight to ensure the LGBTQ community is given the equal rights, treatment, and respect they deserve.”
Congressional District 45
Katie Porter is a consumer protection attorney challenging Congresswoman Mimi Walters, one of just nine incumbents in California’s Congressional delegation to earn a zero percent on Equality California’s 2017 Legislative Scorecard, indicating an extreme anti-LGBTQ voting record. In 2012, then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris appointed Porter to be California’s banking watchdog. The banks had promised to pay billions to homeowners they cheated, and Harris appointed Katie to make sure they followed through. Katie and her team secured over $18 billion to help tens of thousands of families in California move forward with their lives. Katie lives in Irvine with her three children, and is a tenured consumer law professor at University of California Irvine.
“The choice couldn’t be clearer — while anti-LGBTQ extremist Mimi Walters is working with the Trump-Pence Administration to roll back our civil rights, Katie Porter is fighting for full LGBTQ equality,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “We’re proud to support Katie and know she’ll be the ally and champion for the LGBTQ community in Washington, DC that Orange County deserves.”
“I am going to Washington to do what I have done my whole career — to give voice to the needs of the most vulnerable and to fight for a fair system,” said Katie Porter. “In Congress, I won’t back down and will fight for equality for all. Our LGBTQ community deserves our respect, not the disdain that Donald Trump and my opponent Mimi Walters show. That’s why I’m proud to stand with Equality California.”
Congressional District 49
Mike Levin is a clean energy advocate running to replace anti-LGBTQ extremist Congressman Darrell Issa, who announced his retirement last year and was one of just nine members of California’s Congressional delegation to earn a zero percent on Equality California’s 2017 Legislative Scorecard. Levin grew up in South Orange County, attended Stanford and Duke University Law School. Today, Mike Levin works as an expert in the field of clean energy, sustainable power generation and transportation. Mike, his wife Chrissy and their two children live in San Juan Capistrano.
“Mike Levin understands the real challenges facing our LGBTQ community — and all hardworking Californians — under the Trump-Pence Administration, and he’ll be a stalwart champion for us in Washington,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “With the president dead set on turning back the clock on health care, women’s rights and LGBTQ equality, California’s 49th District can’t afford another corrupt extremist Trump ally like Diane Harkey representing them in Congress.”
“I’m deeply honored by the endorsement of Equality California,” said Mike Levin. “The civil rights movement of the LGBTQ community is one of history’s best examples of how people working and struggling together can truly change the world. Equality California is one of the organizations that give us hope in these times where the underpinnings of our democracy are under attack. I am proud to stand with them.”
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org