Galgiani, 47, was being interviewed about one of her pet projects, a proposed high-speed rail system, when reporter Dana Nichols raised a question about her orientation. Though she had deflected inquiries before, Galagiani decided it was time to be open—in part to help young people struggling with their sexual identity. “It sickens me that young people would think about taking their lives because of who they are,” she told Nichols.
Galgiani, a Democrat, says she didn’t come to grips with her sexuality until well into adulthood—after she was elected to represent Merced County, CA, north of Fresno.
Although the majority of voters in Merced County are registered Democrats, when it comes to social issues, many residents express conservative leanings. In 2008, 71 percent of Merced County voters supported Proposition 8, the ban on gay marriage, while only 29 percent voted no.
However, the recent redistricting of California’s political boundaries means that, if elected, Galgiani would represent much of San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties in the state Senate. Not Merced.
That’s part of why Mary Ward, a Merced political consultant who has worked with Galgiani, said the sexual orientation disclosure won’t change a thing about her chances for election.
“The district is a very urban area. I think it has more liberal social views in San Joaquin County than it does farther south,” Ward said. “I really don’t see how it would affect her campaign. It certainly doesn’t change who she is or her voting record or how she conducts her campaigns. I don’t think revealing your sexual orientation changes who you are.”