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Equality California Celebrates Golden State’s New Pro-Equality Leaders
Executive Director Rick Zbur Congratulates Governor Gavin Newsom, First Female Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, First LGBTQ Statewide Elected Official Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara
January 7, 2019 at 12:15 pm

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January 7, 2019

CONTACT: Samuel Garrett-Pate, Equality California
PHONE: (323) 848-9801/MOBILE: (973) 476-3770/EMAIL: sam@eqca.org

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, released the following statement from Executive Director Rick Zbur on Monday, as the state’s new constitutional officers were sworn in to office:

“Today is a day for the California history books. Millions of LGBTQ Californians and our allies voted for equality last November, and today we are thrilled to see pro-equality champions sworn in to every constitutional office in the state. We congratulate our friend Gavin Newsom — a tireless advocate and ally for the LGBTQ community — on his inauguration as California’s fortieth governor. And we are especially proud to watch Eleni Kounalakis make history as the Golden State’s first female lieutenant governor and Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara shatter California’s rainbow glass ceiling as the state’s first openly LGBTQ statewide elected official.

“In a representative democracy, it’s critical that our elected officials reflect the diverse identities and experiences of the people they serve. These exceptional leaders — who are LGBTQ, women, children of immigrants and people of color — do just that.

“We’re confident that California’s new constitutional officers are ready to continue our state’s role as a beacon of hope for LGBTQ people everywhere, and we look forward to working with them to create a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ people.”

Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur will attend the inaugurations of Governor Gavin Newsom and Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis on Monday and will speak at the swearing in of Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara on behalf of the statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization’s 800,000 members. Equality California Institute and the California Legislative LGBT Foundation will host a celebration Monday evening for Lara, who is the state’s first openly LGBTQ statewide elected official.

Equality California ran a robust $650,000 voter engagement and get-out-the vote program in 2018, aimed at electing the state’s eight new constitutional officers and pro-equality leaders up and down the ballot. The effort included a direct mail campaign reaching approximately 740,000 voters — including targeted mail supporting Senator Lara, Assemblymember Tony Thurmond’s campaign for Superintendent of Public Instruction and eight pro-equality candidates for the California Legislature — and robocalls to approximately 520,000 voters supporting Lara, nine pro-equality Congressional candidates, 14 pro-equality state legislative candidates and 12 openly LGBTQ local candidates.


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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