Equality California has endorsed Eric Bauman for chair of the California Democratic Party.

If elected, Bauman would be the first openly LGBT person to head either major political party in California. Bauman has served as vice chair of the California Democratic Party since 2009 and is in his eighth term as chair of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, the largest local Democratic Party organization in the nation. He is senior adviser to California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and directs the Speaker’s Office of Member Services. He served in the same role for former Speakers Toni Atkins and John Pérez. He was Southern California director and liaison to the LGBT community under Governor Gray Davis and served as deputy insurance commissioner to Commissioner John Garamendi.

In addition, Bauman was president of Los Angeles’ Stonewall Democratic Club and was founding co-chair of the National Stonewall Democrats in 1995 and of the Binational Coalition on AIDS and HIV in 1989, and served on the board of the Latino Coalition Against AIDS for four years. During the campaign against Proposition 8, he mobilized Democratic Party leaders and organizations throughout the state in opposition to the ballot measure. Since his earliest days as a grassroots activist and later as a party leader in the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, Bauman has mentored and supported LGBT candidates and has played a key role in bringing LGBT people into leadership positions in the party. He has provided strong leadership to assure that the California Democratic Party and its leadership represent the rich diversity of our state.

“Eric’s election would be a milestone for the LGBT community,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “LGBT people are under-represented in elected and appointed office, as well as in party leadership positions. Having an LGBT person lead the largest political party in the largest state in the nation will shatter an important glass ceiling. While we need and value our many non-LGBT allies, there is no substitute for members of the LGBT community having a seat at the table, who can advocate and advance LGBT equality and social justice with authentic, lived experience as LGBT people. As party chair, Eric will have a real impact on LGBT civil rights and social justice — and will ensure that the LGBT community, people of color and all marginalized communities have a voice and are represented in the party and its leadership. Eric has dedicated much of his public life to fighting discrimination for all communities, and he played a key role in the LGBT civil rights movement over the past 25 years and helped advance and found many of the organizations that LGBT people depend on today. He will also serve as a valuable role model to LGBT young people across California. While we are a non-partisan organization, guaranteeing that LGBT people are represented in leadership positions in all political parties is a key objective for Equality California. We look forward to a day when we can endorse LGBT candidates in the Republican and other parties.”

Bauman married during the brief window marriage was legal for same-sex couples in 2008. He lives with his husband in North Hollywood.