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The Gay Candidate Who Could Flip a California Congressional Seat for the Democrats

Author: Trudy Ring

As Democrats look to regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives next year, one of the candidates that may help them do that is a gay former federal prosecutor.Image: Will Rollins for Congress

Rollins and partner Paolo Benvenuto

After the terrorist attacks of 2001, he wanted to enlist in the military, but “don’t ask, don’t tell” was in force then. So he found another path to working in national security — he went to law school and became an assistant U.S. attorney, prosecuting white-collar criminals, drug traffickers, sex offenders, and more, and eventually joined the Terrorism and Export Crimes Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, where he prosecuted several offenders who posed security threats, including some of the January 6 insurrectionists. He would be the first LGBTQ+ member of Congress from a law enforcement background.

If he’s elected to Congress, he plans to work to assure LGBTQ+ equality, including passage of the Equality Act; to secure abortion rights; to combat climate change; to fight inflation; to prevent gun violence; to expand access to affordable health care; to improve public education; to make the criminal justice system more fair and equitable; to protect voting rights; and above all, to support democracy.

“Government should be used to solve complex problems that we cannot solve alone,” Rollins says.

He’s racked up a long list of endorsers, including most Democratic members of California’s congressional delegation and numerous local public officials; LGBTQ+ groups such as Victory Fund, the Human Rights Campaign PAC, Equality PAC, Equality California, and the Stonewall Democratic Club; several labor and environmental groups; and the California Democratic Party.

Under California’s election system, candidates from all parties compete in the primary, and the top two advance to the general election. There’s an independent in the race, Kyle Penna, and another Democrat, Brian Hawkins, a former Republican who’s been arrested on charges of child assault. He’s pleaded not guilty, but his election chances are slim. So the election will come down to Rollins versus Calvert. The primary will be March 5 and the general election November 5.

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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Trudy Ring

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