California’s legislature body is poised to look more like residents of the Golden State than ever before.
With eight openly LGBTQ+ candidates winning their races, the state Legislature is on track to have at least 10% LGBTQ+ representation, Equality California, a nonprofit civil rights group, said in a news release.
That number could increase to 13 LGBTQ+ legislatures if other candidates for win their races; some votes are still being counted.
Overall, LGBTQ+ members could represent areas in California like San Diego, Fontana and East Los Angeles.
“Representation is power,” Tony Hoang, Equality California executive director, said in a statement. “LGBTQ+ people belong in every room and deserve a seat at every table where decisions impacting our community and our lives are being made.”
The legislature’s growing diversity is expected to impact its policy output, said Matt Lesenyie, an assistant professor of political science at California State University, Long Beach.
“With membership changes coming from the election, I would expect that the bills proposed and argued in committees will be shaped by the legislature’s composition,” Lesenyie said. “I expect that the bills they propose will reflect some of their identity and be able to recognize those identities in their communities easier.”
In past sessions, the LGBTQ+ caucus helped push for the landmark legislation that made California a refuge for transgender health care, Cal Matters reported.
A record number of women, as many as 52, could hold seats in the state legislature as well, Cal Matters reported. In the past session, women made up 39 of the 120 legislators.
Similar to the policy effect more LGBTQ+ members will have, Lesenyie expects that more policies advocating for women will also be presented.
“Californians should be proud that our legislature is diverse and is continuously diversifying,” Lesenyie said. “We are all in the same year, but many other states are relatively homogenous in their legislative composition in age and race.”