Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Gay Assemblyman Low new chair of CA LGBT Legislative Caucus

California Assemblyman Evan Low

California Assemblyman Evan Low

The California LGBT Legislative Caucus will have new leadership for the 2017-2018 legislative session.

At its meeting yesterday, (Wednesday, January 11), the eight members of the caucus opted to elect gay Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), whose district covers much of Silicon Valley, to serve as its chair this year.

He is succeeding lesbian Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), who was the first lawmaker not from a coastal district to lead the affinity group since its creation 15 years ago. She served the last two years as chair.

The election of Low as chair returns the leadership position back to a Bay Area lawmaker, and particularly one from the South Bay. Gay former Assemblyman Rick Gordon (D-Menlo Park), who was termed out of office last year, held the caucus chairmanship for a record three one-year terms. And at 33, Low is the youngest lawmaker to chair the LGBT caucus.

In a statement, Low said he was “honored” that his colleagues had put their trust in him to lead the LGBT caucus and thanked Eggman for her leadership of the group, which for the second time in its history numbers eight members.

“We have a historically high number of eight members and over the past decades, we have made incredible advances in the fight for equality – from securing same-sex marriage, to increasing advocacy for and visibility of transgender rights, to strengthening our laws and protections in the areas of health care, education, and poverty alleviation,” stated Low, who is already fundraising for his 2018 re-election campaign. “However, this past election serves as a reminder that much more work remains to be done.”

Low pledged that the LGBT caucus members would do “everything in our power to ensure California remains a leader in advancing LGBT civil rights protections throughout our state and the nation.”

Gay state Senator Ricardo Lara (D- Bell Gardens), who was elected vice chair of the caucus, noted that Low is the first Asian and Pacific Islander legislator to lead the affinity group, which is only open to LGBT legislators.

“I look forward to supporting his leadership during the upcoming session. Our LGBT community is at a crossroads and stakes cannot be higher,” stated Lara. “More than ever, we must unite to protect our accomplishments and remain resolute in our fight for equality, inclusion, and respect.”

Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur also praised Low’s stepping into the leadership role. EQCA and Low worked together last year to enact a ban on state taxpayer-funded travel to other states that have adopted anti-LGBT legislation since June 26, 2015.

As the Bay Area Reporter reported last week, four states landed on the list: Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kansas.

“Assemblymember Low has been at the forefront of groundbreaking legislation that advances equality and social justice and improves the lives of LGBT people,” stated Zbur. “We are delighted to work with him in this new role to continue to advance equality for the LGBT community.”

Zbur added that EQCA is “equally delighted to continue working with” Lara as vice chair and thanked Eggman “for her leadership of the LGBT caucus and hard work on behalf of our community.”

The LGBT caucus’ formation in 2002 made California the first state in the country to recognize an official caucus of openly-LGBT state legislators.

The other current caucus members include lesbian state Senators Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) and Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton), and gay state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). Also part of the caucus are lesbian Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes (D-Corona) and gay Assemblyman Todd Gloria (D-San Diego).


— Matthew S. Bajko, January 12, 2017 @ 1:19 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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