The Four Newly-Elected Gay House Reps Discuss LGBT Issues

Following the historic election of four new openly gay members to the House of Representatives, the LGBT community has an even more visible presence on the Hill. The Washington Blade tracked down the first openly gay rep of color Mark Takano, Tammy Baldwin’s replacement Mark Pocan, New York’s first openly gay rep Sean Patrick Maloney and the House’s first openly bisexual member Kyrsten Sinema to get their views on the issues and plans for their terms.

“I know ENDA is reintroduced almost every session, and those are two parts of an equality agenda that I’d like to be able to work on. I’m mindful that we have a Republican majority in the House … I want to spend time building relations with Republicans who might want to join in some aspects of an equality agenda.”

Mark Takano, Cailfornia’s 41st Congressional District

“I did sit down with Jared Polis (D-CO), and we had a good discussion about having the LGBT [Equality] Caucus pool some money and perhaps hire a staffer like some of the other caucuses do. That way we could hopefully be even more proactive on issues like ENDA, student non-discrimination and some of the other bills that are out there…it’s just a matter of now figuring out — having seven of us total — how can we best move those forward either through legislation and working with the president to issue orders.”

Mark Pocan, Wisconsin’s 2nd Congressional District

“I want to continue the work I’ve done for 20 years to secure full equality under federal law. I think the most important thing is to work with my colleagues in the House to pass legislation across party lines, and keep focused on a goal, which is full equality under federal law.”

Sean Patrick Maloney, New York’s 18th Congressional District

“The first thing I plan to do is what I did while serving in Arizona’s legislature — and that was to seek out members that I often disagreed with on important issues. It was through our authentic relationships and mutual respect that we found common ground on legislation that helped people. The challenge for Congress is to move past the harsh partisanship that we saw in the last term. This is a critical step in advancing policies that will strengthen and protect LGBT families.”

Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona’s 9th Congressional District

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