Tagline: Until the Work Is Done
Equality California Endorses Open LGBTQ+ Candidates For State Legislature
February 16, 2022 at 9:48 am

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February 16, 2022

CONTACT: Jorge Reyes Salinas, Equality California
PHONE: (323) 848-9801/MOBILE: (213) 355-3057/EMAIL: press@eqca.org

SACRAMENTO — Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, announced the dual endorsements of open LGBTQ+ candidates as it continues the work to achieve 10% LGBTQ+ representation in the California Legislature this November. Wednesday’s endorsed candidates include: Daniel Hertzberg in Senate District 20, Caroline Menjivar in Senate District 20, Jennifer Esteen in Assembly District 20 and Shawn Kumagai in Assembly District 20.

“Representation is power, and we have a historic opportunity to achieve proportionate representation in Sacramento,” said Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang. “It is stirring to have two open LGBTQ+ candidates for both Senate and Assembly races. We are excited to support them and help them make history as we continue increasing representation across California.”

Daniel Hertzberg is running for the newly drawn Senate District 20, which represents communities of the San Fernando Valley. He is a businessman, activist, organizer, and deeply committed to the values embodied by the Democratic Party. Hertzberg’s grassroots efforts started when he was young. In 2008, he volunteered as an activist on Barack Obama’s campaign for President. After that, in 2012, he volunteered for the Virginia Democratic Party to help keep the state blue while volunteering for Barack Obama in the President’s re-election campaign.

“It’s a great honor to be endorsed by Equality California. As an LGBTQ-identifying man myself, I’ve had firsthand experience with what it means to come out to my friends and family,” said Daniel Hertzberg. “For far too long, LGBTQ Californians have been left behind at the decision-making table, especially when their interests are being legislated on. I look forward to working on legislation which protects LGBTQ individuals in the workplace and expands their rights in accessing healthcare and education”.

Caroline Menjivar is also running for Senate District 20. She enlisted and served in the Marine Corps from 2009 to 2016. After serving on active duty, Menjivar worked as an EMT and earned a Bachelor of Arts from California State University, Northridge and a Master of Social Welfare from UCLA. She served as a Field Deputy for Councilwoman Nury Martinez’s and then as East Valley Representative for Mayor Eric Garcetti. During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Caroline hosted nightly conference calls to update residents with the latest information from the city. She also organized socially distanced community events, including the San Fernando Valley’s LGBTQ+ Pride Car Parade and the Veterans Day drive-thru recognition.

“My identities — a queer, woman of color, veteran —cross into so many vulnerable demographics. I have a history of advocating for each one of these groups, both individually and with intersectionality,” said Caroline Menjivar. “It is an honor to receive Equality California’s endorsement and continue the fight for civil rights and just representation in the California Senate.”

Jennifer Esteen is running for Assembly District 20. She is a psychiatric nurse, mother, and community activist in the East Bay. In 2019, Esteen was selected to serve as Vice President of Organizing for SEIU 1021, allowing her to broaden her reach and impact. Esteen supported the Lyon Martin clinic in San Francisco to prevent its closure, which served as a world-renowned center for Trans health for more than 40 years. The training provided to clinicians and healthcare professionals has allowed gender-affirming healthcare to be provided to people worldwide.

“I am honored to receive Equality California’s endorsement. I hope to work with Equality California on legislation that protects families, children and young people, especially trans, non-binary and disabled members of our LGBTQ+ community because there is so much more progress to make,” said Jennifer Esteen. “It will be my duty to help champion legislation that protects us in California and that serves as a model to other states and countries.”

Shawn Kumagai is also a candidate for Assembly District 20. He is a first-generation Japanese immigrant and a third-generation LGBTQ+ veteran. He’s a national security expert with 20 years of Navy experience and serves as District Director for Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan. Kumagai made history as the first openly gay City Councilmember elected in Dublin. As a city councilmember, he delivered transit-oriented affordable housing for seniors and low-income residents, helped local small businesses stay afloat during the pandemic, expanded good-paying green jobs and increased safety in the city.

“I am honored to have the trust of Equality California,” said Shawn Kumagai. “As the first openly gay elected official throughout the Tri-Valley region, I have consistently advocated for elevating the voices of LGBTQ+ people. I have been and will continue to be a champion for EQCA’s legislative package and will continue the work to recognize and uplift LGBTQ+ people and other marginalized communities.”

For a complete list of Equality California’s 2022 endorsements, visit eqca.org/elections.


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

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