Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

EQCA endorses CA lesbian Assembly Speaker’s bid for state Senate

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins

Equality California, the statewide LGBT advocacy group, threw its support today behind lesbian Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins’s 2016 race for a state Senate seat.

In a statement released this morning, EQCA Executive Dierctor Rick Zbur noted Atkins’ political career has been one of several “firsts,” including her being the first lesbian to serve as speaker of the California Assembly, the first lesbian mayor of San Diego, and, while Governor Jerry Brown was on a trade mission abroad, became the first out LGBT acting governor of California.

“Toni Atkins broke barriers as the first openly lesbian assembly speaker,” stated Zbur. “Throughout her career, in all levels of government, she has never wavered in her commitment to LGBT civil rights and has served as a role model for our youth and for everyone in our community.”

He added that EQCA’s endorsement of Atkins for Senate┬árecognizes her “unique and unparalleled advocacy and leadership in advancing LGBT civil rights and social justice throughout her career and as speaker of the California Assembly, including in areas which required great political and personal courage. She has sponsored a number of truly groundbreaking pieces of LGBT legislation, and her career and character have served as an inspirational role model for LGBT youth and people of all ages.”

Termed out of the Legislature’s lower chamber next December, Atkins shocked the Statehouse in September when she announced she would run against state Senator Marty Block (D-San Diego) next year for his Senate District 39 seat.

Speaking to reporters about her decision to run next year, Atkins claimed that Block had agreed to give up his seat after one term so she could run. Block admitted to reporters that the two lawmakers had discussed such an arrangement but insisted he never agreed to step down next year.

In explaining EQCA’s endorsement of Atkins in the race, Zbur stated that it “advances one of EQCA’s electoral priorities, to support the best and brightest stars of the LGBT community to increase opportunities for higher statewide office.”

Atkins last month officially kicked off her bid to oust Block from office next fall. As the Bay Area Reporter‘s Political Notebook reported at the time, Atkins likely has close to $1.6 million to tap into for her race against Block.

She had already raised $968,000 for her campaign in 2020 when she was expected to run for Block’s Senate seat. Based on filings with the secretary of state, she has combined that haul with the remaining funds from her past campaign accounts into her 2016 Senate campaign account.

— Matthew S. Bajko, December 4, 2015 @ 12:43 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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