Transgender nurse poses as CA insurance czar
Perseverance paid off for transgender nurse Veronika Fimbres, as the Green Party member qualified to stand in the June 7 primary ballot as a candidate for California Insurance Commissioner. She is the first known statewide transgender candidate to qualify for a general election in California, as well as the first person living with HIV to do so.
Twice before, she had attempted to qualify as a candidate, the first in the 2018 gubernatorial race. However, she failed to raise enough money to cover the filing fee, so her name was omitted from the March primary ballot. Fimbres was certified as a write-in candidate for the race, which was easily won by then-Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.
The San Francisco resident had attempted to qualify as a candidate during Newsom’s failed recall attempt last year. But Fimbres did not turn in the required income tax forms and was rejected for the ballot, which included transgender reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, a Republican.
This time, Fimbres managed to raise the necessary funds to be a candidate for the position of State Insurance Tsar. She is one of many to challenge gay insurance commissioner Ricardo Lara (D), who four years ago became the first LGBTQ person elected to a statewide office in the Golden State.
“It’s pretty wonderful,” Fimbres told the Bay Area Reporter of getting on the ballot on his third attempt. “I remember when I was running as a write-in candidate, a guy from the San Diego Union Tribune said I couldn’t be a serious candidate if I wasn’t on the ballot.”
Nonetheless, Fimbres still faces serious challenges in surviving the June primary, where only the top two voters, regardless of party, will qualify for the November elections. She lacks name recognition and is unsupported by the statewide Green Party, which as part of a left-leaning unity slate endorsed Nathalie Hrizi, a member of the Peace and Freedom, who also lives in San Francisco and has applied for insurance several times before. Commissioner.
Lara, despite her controversies over initially receiving campaign contributions from people with ties to the insurance industry, has the endorsement of the state Democratic Party and groups like Equality California, the advocacy organization for Statewide LGBTQ. But he faces an intraparty challenge from North Bay MP Marc Levine (D-Greenbrae), which Fimbres sees as potentially beneficial to his candidacy.
“I think my chances are very good because the Democrats are going to split the vote,” said Fimbres, who so far has assembled a six-person campaign team to help him run this year.
She also earned endorsements from local Green Party chapters in Sacramento and Los Angeles counties, as well as veterans of the Green Party and National Black Caucus Green Party of the United States. Fimbres, a Black Navy veteran, pledged to use the pulpit of intimidation that would come with being insurance commissioner to push for universal health care in the state.
“I would work with everyone to provide single-payer health care,” said Fimbres, currently between nursing jobs and focusing full-time on her campaign.
Having been the first trans person named to a city panel, when she served on the Veterans Affairs Commission under the Board of Overseers and former mayors Willie Brown Jr., Newsom and the late Ed Lee, Fimbres told the BAR she knows “how to quote-without-quoting the commission” and is qualified to hold the statewide position.
“It’s not my first time at the rodeo,” said Fimbres, who withdrew last year to be considered for a seat on the San Francisco Police Board.
To learn more about his candidacy, click here.
Bi candidate ends San Jose council’s candidacy
San Jose Planning Commissioner Justin Lardinois, a bisexual native of the city, ended his bid for a council seat. He had been the first person to declare his candidacy for the seat of San Jose City Council’s District 1, which includes the famous Winchester Mystery House, as noted by BAR last April.
But in a March 12 email to supporters, Lardinois announced he was dropping out of the race. He cited personal reasons for leading to his decision.
“While I am proud of the campaign I led, it became increasingly clear to me that personal circumstances unrelated to the campaign necessitated my withdrawal from the race,” wrote Lardinois, whose tenure at the within the planning oversight body expires on June 30.
It has been 16 years since San Jose’s LGBTQ community has been represented on the city’s governing body. Ken Yeager, the first and only board member, was elected in 2000 and left in 2006 when he became the first, and so far only, gay member of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.
Seeking to end the drought in our representation on the City Council, gay Democratic Party leader Omar Torres. An elected member of the San Jose Evergreen Community College District Board of Trustees, Torres is seeking the District 3 council seat that covers downtown San Jose.
He will participate in a candidates forum from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on April 14, co-hosted by the Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center. If no candidate gets 50% plus one vote in the June 7 primary, the top two voters will contest the seat in the November general election.
To register for the forum, click here.
EQCA approves Kaplan for Alameda supervisor
Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland At-Large City Council member, lesbian and solitary corps member, has won EQCA endorsement for her candidacy to become the first LGBTQ person on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. She seeks the District 3 headquarters which includes the cities of Alameda, San Leandro, part of Oakland, and the unincorporated communities of San Lorenzo, Hayward Acres, and part of Ashland.
Former supervisor Wilma Chan was killed by a motorist while walking her dog in Alameda last November. His former assistant, Dave Brown, was appointed by the board to serve the remaining 14 months of Chan’s term until January. He had ruled out seeking election to the seat.
Among those who entered the race are former Alameda councilwoman Lena Tam, former San Leandro councilwoman Surlene Grant and former Oakland school board member David Kakishiba. Among the candidates, Kaplan is considered the favorite and could potentially win the seat in the June ballot if she wins more than 50% of the vote.
“I am so grateful and honored to be supported by Equality California, which has been advancing vital issues for decades and is the nation’s largest LGBT+ civil rights organization,” Kaplan said. “I would be proud to serve all of our communities as a county supervisor and help ensure a stronger, healthier future.”
The EQCA also announced on March 17 the endorsement of two gay supervisor candidates in the Bay Area: San Francisco supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who hopes to be re-elected in November to his District 8 headquarters, and Jimmy Dutra, member from the Watsonville City Council, which is again seeking the district. 4 sits on the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors.
In 2018, expelled from the city council, Dutra lost his candidacy for the county council. Two years later, he was re-elected as a member of the city council and is now making a second bid to become the county council’s first openly LGBTQ member.
Bisexual South San Francisco City Council member James Coleman, who is running for the open seat of the 22nd Assembly District on the Peninsula and was also endorsed Wednesday by the LGBTQ Victory Fund, and the gay candidate for District 23 Congressman Derek Marshall, also received support from EQCA last week. who lives in Victorville in San Bernardino County.
“These candidates understand the power of LGBTQ+ and pro-equality voters, and this year we have a historic opportunity to achieve proportional representation and increase pro-equality support,” said EQCA Chief Executive Tony Hoang. . “We are confident that they will be an important voice in our work to achieve full and lived equality for all.”
Political Notes, the online companion to the notebook, returns on Monday, March 28.
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