John Laird

California State Senate, District 17

John will continue a strong legacy of fighting for the LGBTQ community in California

Biography

John Laird has over forty years of public service at the federal, state, local, and community level. In 1983, he was one of the first openly gay Mayors elected in the United States – and in 2002, he and Mark Leno became the first two openly gay men elected to the California State Legislature. He was an original member of the LGBT Legislative Caucus, and was chair for two years.

He has been an LGBTQ activist for decades – writing a regular column in the local GLBT Lavender Reader, having a regular guest spot on one of the longest running LGBTQ radio shows in the county, “Closet Free Radio”, being a founding board member of the local LGBTQ political PAC BAYMEC, and speaking from the stage at Santa Cruz Pride almost every year for the past forty years.

John Laird served as California Secretary for Natural Resources by Governor Jerry Brown from January 5, 2011 until January 7, 2019, having over twenty-five state agencies in his portfolio with nineteen thousand employees and a $10 billion budget.

In 2002, he was elected to the State Assembly for the 27th District, and reelected in 2004 and 2006. Laird authored 82 bills signed into law, and was the Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee.

Laird served on the Cabrillo College Board of Trustees, as executive director of the Santa Cruz AIDS Project, and on the Santa Cruz City Council, including two terms as Mayor.

Laird graduated from UC Santa Cruz with honors in Politics, and lives in Santa Cruz with his spouse, John Flores.

Importance of Candidacy:

  • John will continue a strong legacy of fighting for the LGBTQ community in California.
  • John was one of the first openly gay men elected to the California legislature in 2002.

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