Page 37

A Personal Letter from John Pérez

A S O N E C A L I F O R N I A N T O A N O T H E R , I know we are all deeply concerned

about the direction of our country and the challenges that we face here in California. I believe Antonio is the right choice to lead our state and build on these last eight years of progress.

There are many progressive reasons to support Antonio, but I have a very personal reason for supporting him.

In that moment, he made it clear that he was something more than my cousin: he was my champion.

In 1994, Antonio was running for the State Assembly for the first time, and he appeared before Stonewall Democrats to ask for our endorsement. I was a young labor organizer, becoming more active in the community and political life. Now, the fact that Antonio even asked for our endorsement was significant. This was 1994, where public support for LGBT rights was a fraction of where it stands today. Ideas like domestic partnerships were still years away and many Democrats saw LGBT rights as a third-rail issue.

Just like he’s always been a champion for immigrants. And working people. And the poorest, sickest and most vulnerable Californians.

During the question and answer portion, he very matter-offactly answered “yes” when he was asked if he supported same-sex marriage. That was such a meaningful moment for me. I felt chills down my spine.

Photo: Karen Ocamb



Antonio Villaraigosa (and children) at CSW Pride parade in early 1990s with Stonewall CALIFORNIA Democratic Club president Eric Bauman.


The first employment protections for LGBT Californians were introduced and passed by Antonio in the State Assembly. It would be another decade before most politicians had the courage to embrace a position that came to Antonio as naturally and quickly as any other issue of justice. And that’s because justice is the through-line of Antonio’s career. He’s fought for minimum wage increases time and again because he believes in worker justice. He believes that environmental justice means clean air, clean water and clean power for every Californian. And he believes in opportunity. I often think back to that Stonewall Democrats

Antonio Villaraigosa (left) with John Pérez

meeting. He was willing to risk his entire political career because he believed in what was then an unpopular truth — that LGBT Californians were deserving of equal rights. Progress is achieved when our politics and our government are aspirational. And progress is maintained when our leaders are prudent, focused and decisive. Antonio Villaraigosa has been fighting for justice and progress his entire life. He’s dreamed big, and he’s balanced budgets. He has the talent and tenacity to run our state, and he has the compassion and conviction to create the environment where our progressive values can thrive. For these reasons, I hope you will join me in supporting Antonio Villaraigosa for Governor. Sincerely, JOHN A. PÉREZ, SPEAKER EMERITUS


Paid for by Villaraigosa for Governor 2018, 5429 Madison Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95841

Antonio Villaraigosa is a fighter for justice and progress

Profile for Los Angeles Blade, Volume 2, Issue 13, June 1, 2018, Volume 2, Issue 13, June 1, 2018, Volume 2, Issue 13, June 1, 2018, Volume 2, Issue 13, June 1, 2018