Phoenix, AZ—Today, the Marco Lopez for Governor campaign hosted an open roundtable discussion with local LGBTQ+ activists, including Richard Stevens, who performs in the Phoenix area as drag queen Barbra Seville, and representatives from LGBTQ+ nonprofits Equality Arizona, One Community and One n Ten.
“LGBTQ+ rights are under attack by conservatives across the country, even by our highest court,” said Marco Lopez, Democratic candidate for governor. “That’s why it is more important than ever that Democratic voters make the right choice in the August primary and send a candidate to the general election who can actually beat the Republican in November, and will stand up and fight for all Arizonans, including the LGBTQ+ community and LGBTQ+ youth.”
During the conversation, participants were encouraged to share their visions for a more diverse, inclusive and LGBTQ+ friendly Arizona and provide their feedback for how Marco can help usher in this new era as governor.
“We are in danger of being put out of rotation by the business community because we stick out amongst our neighbors in the Southwest by not treating everyone fairly,” said Angela Hughey, CEO and co-founder of One Community. “If we want to stay in rotation we have to be in the same place that our competing states are.”
“It’s important to talk about that kind of talent loss,” said Equality Arizona Policy and Communications Director Jeanne Woodbury. “How long will LGBTQ+ people want to live in Arizona?”
“I grew up with so much anti-gay messaging sent my way. There wasn’t a movie that showed a successful gay happy man. In politics, the LGBTQ+ community is weaponized to court the craziest people and instill fear,” said Richard Stevens. “Our youth may not understand the work of all the LGBTQ+ nonprofits in Arizona, but will understand that a man running for governor speaks up for them. Marco making an overture to the community sends a message, and that’s what is going to empower LGBTQ+ youth.”
Arizona has been a breeding ground for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, including this year’s passage of SB 1165, which bans trans girls from participating on girls’ school sports teams, and SB 1138, which bans some types of medical care for transgender youth. In May 2022, Marco Lopez announced his support for Equality Arizona’s LGBTQ+ policy platform, which includes non-discrimination in economic opportunity, education, healthcare, housing and the legal system.
This was the fourth roundtable hosted by the Lopez campaign to hear directly from Arizonans about their concerns and visions for the state. So far, Marco has released plans to rebuild Arizona’s education system, lift up workers and working families, protect the LGBTQ+ community, strengthen relationships with the Native American community, create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive state and address housing equity. His campaign will continue to roll out more proposals in the coming months.
Hearing directly from Arizonans about their concerns and hopes has been a priority for Marco Lopez while campaigning for governor. For the past 16 months, Marco has been visiting Arizona’s 15 counties and 22 tribes, speaking directly with voters and sharing his vision to restore the promise of Arizona.
Marco Lopez is running for governor because he believes in the Promise of Arizona – the promise that if you work hard, play by the rules, and treat people with respect then you can make it here in our state. It’s this idea that led Marco’s parents to immigrate to Arizona from Mexico nearly 50 years ago. They didn’t start out with much, but they dreamed that Marco and his sisters could do better than they did. That’s just what happened—Marco and his sisters were the first generation in their family to go to college. Once Marco graduated from the University of Arizona, he knew he had to give back. At just 21-years-old he ran for mayor of his hometown of Nogales and won, becoming one of the youngest mayors in the country. After winning two mayoral elections, Governor Napolitano asked Marco to serve at the state level as Director of the Arizona Department of Commerce where he oversaw critical trade relationships in the state. Next, President Obama asked Marco to serve at the national level, where he oversaw a $13 billion budget and 60,000 people. In 2011, Marco left the administration to start his own small business here in Arizona just like his parents had done 40 years before. Over the past ten years Connect2Compete has brought high speed internet to one million low income families nationally, and in Mesa, AZ, SkyBridge Arizona is on track to create 15,000 quality Arizona jobs. Marco is running for governor because he believes the Promise of Arizona is still possible, but for too many people in our state today it’s out of reach. Marco has the leadership experience in the private and public sector to make that promise of opportunity that brought his parents to Arizona a reality for everyone. For more information, please visit www.marcolopez.com.