U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) told members and supporters of D.C.’s Gertrude Stein Democratic Club on Tuesday night that Democrats are in a good position to gain control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections.
Speaking at the club’s annual holiday party at the Dupont Italian Kitchen on 17th Street, N.W., near Dupont Circle, Takano called on the LGBT community to take an active role in the congressional elections both as volunteers and donors.
Takano and local Democratic activists Cristina Calvillo-Rivera, who’s active in the Latinx community, and Randy Downs, a Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, were honored by the Stein Club with its awards recognizing their work on behalf of the LGBT community.
Among those who stopped by the event were former D.C. mayor and current D.C. Council member Vincent Gray (D-Ward 7); lesbian restaurant owner Dionne Bussey-Reeder, who is running for an at-large D.C. Council seat; and Ward 1 ANC commissioner and gay rights advocate Kent Boese, who’s running for the Ward 1 Council seat.
Stein Club President Earl Fowlkes, who serves as chair of the Democratic National Committee’s LGBT Caucus, joined Takano in expressing optimism that Democrats could win control of the House and possibly the Senate next year.
Takano, who won election in 2012 as the first openly LGBT person of color to Congress, said he was recently named as chair of the LGBT Equality Council, an arm of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that raises money for Democratic House candidates.
He said an unprecedented number of out LGBT people have surfaced as candidates for the U.S. House in the early stages of the 2018 election. Joined by Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), the nation’s first bisexual U.S. House member who’s running for the U.S. Senate, Takano said the LGBT contenders are among a large number of strong and viable Democratic candidates who could help Democrats regain control of Congress.
He said he was also hopeful that Sinema would become the second out LGBT person to serve in the U.S. Senate. Incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), the first out lesbian to win a seat in Congress, is running for re-election next year.
“And I have not mentioned the “T” in LGBT,” he said, noting that Democratic transgender candidates have won seats in local elections in 2017, calling that development “a huge sign of hope for all of us.”
Added Takano, “And so I hope to be coming back to you next year hopefully and potentially as the chairman of a committee.”