Editorial: Cabaldon would bring experience to Senate

  • by BAR Editorial Board
  • Wednesday January 31, 2024
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State Senate candidate Christopher Cabaldon. Photo: Courtesy the candidate
State Senate candidate Christopher Cabaldon. Photo: Courtesy the candidate

Voters in the state's sprawling Senate District 3 would do well to elect gay former West Sacramento mayor Christopher Cabaldon in the March 5 primary. The district includes all of Napa, Solano, and Yuba counties plus portions of Contra Costa, Sacramento, and Sonoma counties. In short, it encompasses rural and suburban communities. Cabaldon is the best-qualified candidate.

In his Bay Area Reporter questionnaire, Cabaldon, a Democrat, noted that with lesbian state Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) termed out, there will be no LGBTQ+ representation from the Sacramento/Central Valley region in the Legislature's upper chamber unless he prevails. There has never been an LGBTQ+ state senator from the Filipino American or Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, he stated. But electing a state senator is about more than representation. As mayor, he reshaped West Sacramento into a regional hub with urban-style housing, locally owned businesses, and new riverfront recreational access, as we reported in 2017.

Cabaldon stated that he strongly supports Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5, which would remove the anti-LGBTQ Proposition 8 language from the state constitution. (Prop 8, which voters passed in 2008, was ultimately ruled unconstitutional and California saw same-sex marriage become legal in 2013.) "It's presence in our state constitution is a lingering symbol of discrimination that we must remove," Cabaldon stated, adding that 16 years ago, Prop 8 passed in his own city during the same election that he was reelected. "Their hearts and minds have changed since 2008, in no small measure due to out LGBTQ+ visibility," he stated. "I've learned how to engage with voters on that journey, especially in places outside the dense coastal urban centers, and will do so for ACA 5 to help the better angels of California voters to express themselves."

Cabaldon also wrote that he would fight against a possible anti-trans initiative should it make the November ballot for which proponents are currently gathering signatures. It would ban gender-affirming care for minors; prevent trans women and girls from participating in women's sports; repeal a state law allowing trans students to use bathrooms or locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity; and require schools to notify parents if a student asks to be treated as a gender that doesn't match their school records. "We must confront this measure before it reaches the ballot," Cabaldon stated. "I'm the one candidate in this race who has spoken out publicly, repeatedly, and in every corner of the district as communities here like Davis, Napa, Woodland, West Sacramento, and Vacaville face threats by anti-trans agitators."

If elected, Cabaldon stated that he "will always stand with the trans community" in the Legislature: "I will pass policies to protest trans students, protest teachers from having to forcibly out them, and work with the attorney general's office to explore where officials may have violated the civil and constitutional rights of trans students and hold them accountable."

Cabaldon would also support legislation requiring public school districts to respond to Equality California's school surveys on LGBTQ issues. He noted that it's important to have data and information necessary "to mount a serious counteroffensive." This includes asking school districts about policies and safety measures that defend queer youth. "We cannot — and will not — allow a group of maliciously motivated reactionaries to force LGBTQ students back into the closet, or just as dangerously, force them out," he stated.

Cabaldon would ably represent Senate District 3, and we need his voice in Sacramento to fight not only for LGBTQ people and families, but also for all his constituents.

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