When Kamala Harris was elected to the United States Senate last November, Governor Jerry Brown picked Xavier Bacerra, Congressman from California’s 34th District to replace her as the state’s Attorney General. But Becerra refused to resign his post until confirmation by the California Legislature, forcing a special election for his replacement and opening the door to a large field of candidates.
During that time, 23 candidates, 19 Democrats, one independent, one Republican, one Green Party member, and one Libertarian jumped into a race that seems largely defined by who might best confront Donald Trump. An ad by Sara Hernandez features Donald Trump and demands to know, “How do you stand up to a bully?” Another ad in heavy rotation from candidate, Alejandra Campoverdi’s TV ad stares voters down and proclaims that “If Donald Trump wants to have a conversation about women’s bodies, let’s start with mine.” It’s a densely crowded field.
Since one candidate must emerge with more than 50 percent of the April 4 vote, it seems like the top two vote getters will will be forced to square off on June 6.
The leading candidate appears to be Democratic Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, a candidate who has raised the most money and who has attracted the most establishment and LGBT support. Other candidates to keep an eye on include Democrats Sara Hernandez and former Bernie Sanders staffer Arturo Carmona.
But since special elections in California historically have very low turnout, anything could happen.
Bamby Salcedo, the legendary Los Angeles transgender activist and founder of the city’s TransLatin@ Coalition, has a thing or two to say about someone new and different. Meet Wendy Carrillo, she says:
Why I support Wendy Carrillo for Congress
By Bamby Salcedo
Yo soy un milagro. In Spanish, that means I am a miracle. I say that because I’m not suppose to be here—I’m really not suppose to be here. I am a woman who was born in the wrong body, and over the years I fought for a better life. I was raised by a single mother in Guadalajara and was abused by my step father. I fell into a deep depression, addiction, and got caught up with the wrong people.
Today I am the proud founder of the Trans Latin@ Coalition, and we recently opened the Center for Violence Prevention and Transgender Wellness. We in the trans community are facing an enormous amount of violence, both physically and emotionally. Trans women of color are routinely attacked across the nation, and Donald Trump’s outright misogyny and homophobia is frightening. Times like these call for true leaders who are unapologetic about their views. That woman is Wendy Carrillo, and I am proud to support her in her bid for Congress.
Wendy is also a miracle. Her mother made a courageous decision and fled a brutal civil war in El Salvador thirty years ago. Wendy was 5 when she was smuggled across the border and settled in Los Angeles with her family. From the ages of 5 to 13, she was undocumented. In her teens she worked a number of minimum-wage jobs and she worked her way through college, earning a Master’s in Journalism from USC.
Wendy’s journey is the embodiment of the American Dream, but she’s never forgotten who she is, where she comes from, and the intersectional battles that connect us all. Whether it’s fighting for clean water at Standing Rock, working as a labor activist, standing up saying that Black Lives Matter or that love is love is love is love, Wendy gets it. My fight is her fight, and her fight is our fight, and now more than ever we need to show up to the polls and send a clear message to Trump’s Washington: That we are not afraid.
I haven’t heard another member of Congress—or another candidate in this race for that matter—talk seamlessly about trans-women’s liberation. Have you? She’s exactly who we need in Congress.
Election Day is on Tuesday, April 4 to fill the vacancy left by Xavier Becerra who was nominated to be California’s Attorney General. This is one of the first federal elections since Trump won, so it’s crucial that we show up to the polls. We need to send a loud, bold, unapologetic progressive to Congress. We need to send the resistance to Congress. And that’s why I’m with Wendy.
Bamby Salcedo is nationally recognized Trans activist. She lives in Los Angeles.