Equality California Endorses Four Legislative Candidates in Priority Races for 2016 Elections

Equality California announced today that it has made endorsements in four of its priority races for the California Legislature – San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener for Senate District 11 (San Francisco), Bryan Urias for Assembly District 48 (West Covina), Sabrina Cervantes for Assembly District 60 (Corona) and former Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva for Assembly District 65 (Fullerton).

“This coming election year is especially important to the LGBT community, as several members of the LGBT legislative caucus are terming out,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California.  “The current slate of EQCA endorsees will help us to maintain a strong LGBT caucus in Sacramento for the remainder of the decade, and also to re-elect a courageous ally.”

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener has represented the Castro, Noe Valley and nearby neighborhoods on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors since 2010, and also has served as a deputy city attorney and as chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party.  If elected, he would replace Sen. Mark Leno, terming out in 2016.  Leno is one of EQCA’s strongest legislative partners and represents one of the most heavily LGBT districts in the state, in a seat that has been held by an LGBT person since 2004. Wiener has been a longtime leader in San Francisco’s LGBT community and has a distinguished record as San Francisco supervisor, advocating for the needs of LGBT people and people affected by HIV. He has served as co-chair of the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club, and in leadership roles for BALIF, Equality California and other organizations.

“Scott Wiener is a leader on many issues impacting the LGBT community,” said Zbur. “From standing up to and successfully stopping insurance companies from raising prices on life-saving HIV medications, to fighting every year to ensure full funding for HIV care, to creating programs that address the housing and health needs of our LGBT seniors and homeless and at-risk youth, he leads the way for our community. EQCA is committed to getting Scott elected and maintaining LGBT representation from San Francisco in the state legislature.”

Urias has served on the board of the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District since 2010, where, before the repeal of Proposition 8, he implemented an equal benefits policy for registered same-sex domestic partners.  He cites his involvement in the campaigns against Proposition 8 and the earlier Proposition 22 as key reasons for his interest in politics.

“Bryan cut his political teeth on LGBT issues and he will be a strong advocate for our community when he is elected to the California Assembly,” said Zbur.  “His history of implementing pro-LGBT policies and his personal experience as an openly gay Latino man will make him an effective advocate for LGBT people and a strong potential partner for Equality California as we work to improve the lives of LGBT people and all the diverse communities of which we are a part.”

Cervantes is currently district director for California Assemblymember José Medina.  She is also a boardmember of the non-profit TruEvolution, which advocates for LGBT youth and people with HIV.

“As district director for Assemblymember José Medina in the Inland Empire, Sabrina is on the frontline to implement progressive policies in a largely conservative region,” said Zbur.  “She is a dynamic young leader who will represent LGBT people, working class families and all communities of the Inland Empire.”

Sharon Quirk-Silva is running for her former assembly seat representing northern Orange County.  While in the Legislature, Quirk-Silva earned a 100 percent legislative score from EQCA – in contrast to her conservative predecessor’s rating of zero.  A former teacher, Quirk-Silva has been a passionate supporter of protections for LGBT students, measures to protect LGBT people from discrimination, and more.  She has also served as mayor of Fullerton and as a Fullerton councilmember.

“Sharon has already amply proved herself as a strong ally to EQCA and to the entire LGBT community during her time as an assemblymember,” said Zbur.  “She has a teacher’s understanding and compassion for LGBT youth, and has been a brave and vocal supporter of full LGBT equality and civil rights.  We are looking forward to helping send her back to Sacramento.”

The Equality California Political Action Committee endorses viable candidates 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.