Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, announced the endorsements of 10 openly LGBTQ candidates running for local office in 2018. The candidates are among a surge of out LGBTQ Californians seeking public office across the state — and a record number of LGBTQ candidates running throughout the country this year.
Equality California has endorsed the following candidates in their respective races:
San Francisco Board of Supervisors: District 8
Equality California has dual-endorsed Supervisor Jeff Sheehy and City College Trustee Rafael Mandelmanfor the Eighth District of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
Jeff Sheehy, who was appointed by the late Mayor Ed Lee in January 2017 to fill Senator Scott Wiener’s (D-San Francisco) vacant seat, is a longtime HIV/AIDS activist and LGBTQ civil rights advocate who previously served as president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club and as then-Mayor Gavin Newsom’s HIV/AIDS advisor.
“Supervisor Sheehy is a pioneer in our community’s fight for full equality and social justice and has been an incredible advocate for people living with HIV over decades,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “A self-described ‘activist,’ Sheehy is committed to making San Francisco more affordable and safer for all.”
Rafael Mandelman is an urban development attorney and member of the San Francisco City College Board of Trustees, previously serving as the Board’s president. A San Francisco native, Rafael has dedicated his career to building affordable housing and revitalizing commercial districts in the Bay Area.
“Rafael Mandelman is a tireless advocate for San Francisco’s LGBTQ community and a champion for the city’s students and for San Franciscans experiencing homelessness,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “We’re proud to endorse Rafael and are confident he would bring bold ideas, energetic leadership and a fresh perspective to City Hall if elected.”
San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools
Equality California has dual-endorsed Gary Waddell and Nancy Magee for San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools.
Gary Waddell, who currently serves as Deputy Superintendent of the Instructional Services Division, was previously an award-winning principal and school counselor. He has also received endorsements from California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Congresswoman Jackie Speier and the California Teachers Association of San Mateo County, among other elected leaders and organizations.
“Dr. Gary Waddell is a champion for LGBTQ equality who has devoted his life to ensuring access and opportunity for all students and communities,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “We are impressed by his vision of equity and inclusion and are excited to support his campaign for San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools.”
Nancy Magee, who currently serves as the County’s Associate Superintendent for the Student Services Division, was previously an award-winning high school English teacher for 20 years before becoming a high school librarian. She has also received endorsements from San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President Don Horsley, County Sheriff Carlos Bolanos and County Controller Juan Raigoza, along with a growing list of local elected leaders and educators.
“Nancy is a proven leader and LGBTQ civil rights advocate with a long track record of fighting to ensure all our children have a shot at success,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “We are thrilled to support her campaign for San Mateo County Superintendent of schools and are confident she will work tirelessly to ensure that our schools are safe and supportive learning environments for LGBTQ youth.”
Davis City Council
Equality California has endorsed Linda Deos and Eric Gudz in their campaigns for the Davis City Council. There are nine candidates running for two open seats on the Council.
The daughter of a school teacher, Linda Deos is a consumer protection attorney who has taken on big banks and worked to establish the first help desk for underrepresented clients at the Sacramento Federal Court. Deos is the current President of the Northern California Bankruptcy Forum, Treasurer of the Yolo County Progressives and a member of both the Davis Democratic Club and the Yolo County Democratic Central Committee.
“Linda Deos is a dedicated, passionate community advocate dedicated to standing up for those who need a helping hand,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “We’re excited to see Linda bring that passion with her to the City Council and continue fighting to ensure the voices of all Davis residents, including members of our LGBTQ community, are heard.”
Eric Gudz is an Eagle Scout and retired Army captain, who has led drug policy reform efforts in Davis in recent years. After returning from Afghanistan, Gudz worked with the Army’s Warrior Transition Unit, supporting the recovery process for other returning soldiers. Gudz currently serves on the City of Davis’s Bicycling, Transportation and Street Safety Commission.
“As an Eagle Scout, Army veteran and accomplished community leader, Eric Gudz has dedicated their life to serving others,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “We’re confident that Eric will continue fighting for Davis families, small businesses and our LGBTQ community on the City Council”
Rancho Mirage City Council
Equality California has endorsed Robert Mueller in his campaign for the Rancho Mirage City Council. Robert is one of three candidates challenging the three incumbents on the Council seeking reelection to their at-large seats. Mueller has spent five decades as a top executive with Sony, JVC Kenwood and Panasonic and has been a strong community advocate for LGBTQ civil rights and social justice.
“Robert Mueller will bring experience, drive and a fresh vision to Rancho Mirage’s City Hall,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “If elected, he’ll prioritize reducing crime, increasing government transparency and strengthening the city’s public schools — helping to ensure that every child in Rancho Mirage has access to a safe and supportive learning environment.”
Kern County Board of Supervisors, District 2
Equality California has endorsed Whitney Weddell for the Second District of the Kern County Board of Supervisors. Weddell has been a school teacher for nearly thirty years and a longtime community activist. She previously spent a decade building coalitions around the fight for marriage equality, traveling all over the Central Valley recruiting community organizers and volunteers.
“Whitney Weddell has a proven track record of thirty years of LGBTQ advocacy in Kern County, and we are convinced she will continue to lead as a Supervisor for the residents of the Second District,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “She cares deeply about improving the lives of Kern County families and will bring a fresh perspective to the Board of Supervisors.”
San Diego City Council, District 2
Equality California has endorsed Dr. Jen Campbell for the Second District of the San Diego City Council. Campbell is an active community leader, having served on the Clairemont Town Council Executive Board, in a number of capacities in the San Diego County Democratic Committee and California Democratic Party and as a Board Member and interim Executive Director of The San Diego Human Dignity Foundation, a local LGBTQ nonprofit. She is a physician and practiced family medicine for 37 years.
“We’re proud to support Dr. Jen’s campaign for San Diego City Council and know she will be an excellent advocate for our families and small businesses in the Second District,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “She will be a strong addition to LGBTQ San Diegans’ representation on the Council and will continue to fight for civil rights and social justice for our community.”
Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, District 4
Equality California has endorsed Jimmy Dutra for the Fourth District of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors. Dutra currently serves on the City Council in Watsonville and as the Mayor Pro Tem. The first openly LGBTQ member of the City Council, he has worked to enhance city contracts and legal documentation to protect the LGBTQ community and has expanded support for the local shelter for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness. Dutra also serves on the Board of the LGBT Caucus at the League of California Cities.
“Jimmy Dutra is a committed leader with a proven track record of getting results for his community,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “As County Supervisor, Jimmy will continue to be a strong advocate for progress toward a Santa Cruz County that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ residents.”
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