Equality California Endorses Three LGBT Champions for West Hollywood City Council

Equality California today announced endorsements of Hon. John D’Amico, Hon. John Heilman and Joe Guardarrama for three at-large seats on the West Hollywood City Council. EQCA endorses LGBT candidates in local races who have exhibited exceptional leadership and ongoing commitment to LGBT equality and social justice.

Currently serving as Mayor, John D’Amico has served on the West Hollywood City Council since 2011 and has been an active member of the community for 15 years. Former Chair of the West Hollywood Planning Commission, D’Amico has made affordable housing for LGBT seniors and support and safety of transgender people top priorities. A fighter for those with HIV/AIDS, D’Amico served on the West Hollywood Human Services Commission and the Disabilities Advisory Board in addition to serving on the L.A. County HIV Health Services Commission and L.A. County Commission on HIV Prevention and Planning.

“Mayor D’Amico has a vision of West Hollywood as a place where LGBT people can come to invent their lives, and a place where LGBT elders can live as part of the community they helped create,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of EQCA. “He has earned our proud endorsement because of his exemplary leadership, hard work and fierce advocacy as a member of the city council.”

Mayor Pro Tempore John Heilman has served the residents of West Hollywood since first being elected in 1984. He was a key leader in the city’s incorporation and in helping to make West Hollywood one of the most progressive cities in the world.

The longest serving openly gay elected official in the United States, Heilman helped draft West Hollywood’s landmark ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of HIV/AIDS, among the first in the country. He was also instrumental in making West Hollywood the first city to legally recognize domestic partnerships in 1985. More recently, Heilman was a founding member of what is now the Victory Fund and helped establish West Hollywood’s Transgender Advisory Board, the first in the world, and the West Hollywood Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board. A dedicated volunteer for A.P.L.A., Heilman has participated in almost every AIDSWalk since its inception.

“LGBT people throughout the world look to West Hollywood as a model for what is possible, and Councilmember Heilman has led at every step for the last 30 years,” said Zbur. “He continues to inspire and find new ways to demonstrate what LGBT equality and community can look like. We are excited to endorse him for another term.”

Joe Guardarrama has lived in West Hollywood for 15 years. A dedicated leader, Guardarrama served on the city’s Planning Commission for seven years and also served on the Business License Commission and Campaign Finance Reform Committee.

The son of Cuban immigrants and a government ethics attorney, Joe Guardarrama was a member of the board of directors of EQCA for several years and also served as Vice President. He regularly volunteers his time for social justice causes.

“Joe Guardarrama’s candidacy is built on ethics and compassion, and ensuring West Hollywood stays accessible for all LGBT people will take both,” said Zbur. “He is keenly aware of the challenges the city faces, and we’re confident in his ability to meet them. That’s why we’re enthused to endorse him.”

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. Election Day is March 3, 2015.

Equality California is California’s largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization focused on creating a fair and just society. Our mission is to achieve and maintain full and lasting equality, acceptance, and social justice for all people in our diverse LGBT communities, inside and outside of California. Our mission includes advancing the health and well being of LGBT Californians through direct healthcare service advocacy and education. Through electoral, advocacy, education and mobilization programs, we strive to create a broad and diverse alliance of LGBT people, educators, government officials, communities of color and faith, labor, business, and social justice communities to achieve our goals. www.eqca.org