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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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United States

U.S. House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 39

Photo of Gil Cisneros

Gil Cisneros

Education/Veterans Advocate
126,002 votes (51.6%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Invest in our children's future and make higher education affordable
  • Honor our veterans and provide for all those who have sacrificed for our country when they return from service
  • Defend the ACA from Republican attacks and fight for increased access and more affordable care for everyone



Profession:Veterans, Education Advocate
Co-Founder/ Veterans, Education Advocate, The Gilbert & Jacki Cisneros Foundation (2010–current)
Advisory boardmember, Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher/ Better Make Room — Appointed position (2016–current)
Member, President Obama's Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts — Appointed position (2014–2017)
Shipping & Distribution manager, and Manufacturing manager, Frito Lay (2004–2010)
Lieutenant Commander/ Supply Officer, U.S. Navy (1994–2004)


Brown University Master of Arts (M.A.), Urban Education Policy (2015)
Regis University Master of Business Administration (MBA), Business Administration (2002)
The George Washington University Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Political Science (1994)

Community Activities

Diversity Council, Brown University (2015–current)
Board Member, The Wooden Floor (2015–current)
Southern California Advisory Council Member, Hispanic Scholarship Fund (2012–current)
Trustee, US Navy Memorial (2012–current)


Gil Cisneros is an independent leader running for Congress to ensure our children are provided with the same ladder of opportunity that the Navy provided him. Gil is not a career politician, he is a veteran and education advocate, who will stand up to the insurance and pharmaceutical industries to lower healthcare costs, protect education funding, and work to create good-paying local jobs. Gil refuses contributions from PACs because he believes the government should work for the people – not corporate special interests.

The son of a public school cafeteria worker and a Vietnam veteran, Gil attended college on a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) scholarship, and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from The George Washington University. Gil also holds an MBA from Regis University and M.A. in Urban Education Policy from Brown. As the first in his family to graduate from college, Gil will fight Republican attempts to cut education funding and Pell Grants, tools that empower not just students, but entire communities.

Gil knows firsthand the challenges families face when they are unable to afford healthcare. Gil’s own father suffered health problems from exposure to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam, and lost his health insurance. In Congress Gil will stand up to Donald Trump and Republicans to protect healthcare as a right for all Californians.

Through ten years of service to our country as a U.S. Naval Officer, Gil was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, the National Defense Medal, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for his exemplary service to his country.

Gil is the Veterans, Education Advocate and co-founder of The Gilbert & Jacki Cisneros Foundation, an organization committed to strengthening public schools, and creating college opportunities for students and veterans.  He also serves on the advisory board of Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative for college access.

Gil’s dedication toward philanthropy began when he purchased a winning California Mega Millions lottery ticket in 2010. Gil and Jacki partnered with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the city of Pico Rivera, California to create Generation First Degree Pico Rivera, with the goal of putting a college degree in every household in the city. Gil has worked to strengthen schools, and promote access to quality education by supporting Yellow Ribbon programs for Veterans, establishing scholarships, and creating an endowment for the dependents of former Navy Supply Corps personnel, so that tuition costs are never a barrier to educational opportunities.

Gil serves as Secretary of the Latino Donor Collaborative, and a board member of The Wooden Floor, a non-profit dance studio based in Santa Ana, California. He is a member of the Southern California Advisory Council for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, a member of the Advisory Council for the Dean of Columbian College of Arts and Sciences at The George Washington University, a member of the Brown University Diversity Council, and previously served on the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for The Kennedy Center under President Obama.

Now the parents of twin boys, Gil and Jacki remain committed to expanding educational opportunities for Southern California youth.

Who supports this candidate?

Organizations (62)

Elected Officials (75)

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $15,546,808

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

Gil Cisneros
Employees of The Gil & Jackie Cisneros Foundation
Employees of Google
Employees of Wicklow Capital
Employees of Bain Capital

More information about contributions

By State:

California 95.50%
New York 1.14%
Massachusetts 0.73%
District of Columbia 0.48%
Other 2.14%

By Size:

Large contributions (96.30%)
Small contributions (3.70%)

By Type:

From organizations (1.06%)
From individuals (98.94%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission.

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

Women's Rights


In Congress Gil will fight for women’s rights and promote the welfare of all women. Gil will fight to expand opportunity for women, he will confront violence against women, push for pro-family policies, and defend a woman’s right to control her own body.

Women’s Rights 

In America, women make up over 50% of the population. Right here in the 39th District, women contribute so much to our community, yet are constantly battling for equality. It is time that Congress protects a woman's reproductive rights, provides equal access to healthcare by fully funding Planned Parenthood, and addresses gender inequality. Gil supports pro-women policies not only because he appreciates the contribution women in his life have made, but because he understands that a woman’s value expands far beyond her relationships to men. It is time that public policy finally reflects this essential truth. Gil and his wife Jacki will fight alongside women to stand up against any misguided and misleading attacks on the rights that women deserve. Gil supports enshrining the rights of women in the Constitution by passing the Equal Rights Amendment.


Protect a Woman's Right to Choose 

Everywhere we turn, a woman's right to make decisions about her own body is in jeopardy. The Trump Administration appointed a U.S. Attorney General and Supreme Court Justice who neither believe in a women's right to choose nor support the monumental Supreme Court decisions that protect that right. Gil believes that decisions about a woman’s health are between her and her doctor. Gil believes it is imperative that Congress require insurers to cover birth control without a co-pay and protect providers and patients from intimidation or violence. In Congress, he will make sure that every woman in American can make the decision to visit a clinic without fear of any repercussion.  


As a nation, we have worked hard to establish protections for reproductive health centers and the patients who rely on those centers. Thousands of women, men, and families across America benefit from reproductive health services and they should have the right to enter a clinic to receive services without harassment or intimidation. Gil supports the enforcement of long-standing legislation, such as the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which allows the U.S. Attorney General to bring criminal penalties against anyone who interferes with patients entering one of the centers to receive services. The Trump Administration regularly supports rhetoric and policy that shows a blatant disregard for the FACE Act and other protections of the kind. Gil and Jacki care about the women and men who benefit from the services provided by reproductive health centers and will ensure that those protections are enforced. 


Fight for Planned Parenthood Funding 

The last decade has seen some of the greatest advances in health care, but it is an uphill battle for women to gain access to that healthcare. Republicans are attempting to dismantle health laws and programs that have been put in place to protect American women. Funding for Planned Parenthood continues to be threatened and attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may remove key protections. Gil will not only defend the ACA protections, but he will fight to pass legislation that allows for full and continued funding for Planned Parenthood facilities.  


For 100 years, Planned Parenthood facilities have provided access to essential healthcare services including cancer screening, STD testing, family planning, breast exams, and prenatal care. This access has been crucial to both women and men throughout the Nation. Planned Parenthood facilities serve nearly 5 million people in a single year with over 650 facilities. More than 80% of the annual funding is dedicated to medical services, client services, education, and outreach, and only 3% of those services include abortions. Defunding Planned

Parenthood would mean millions of low-income individuals would be denied access to key health care services and hundreds of facilities could close down. Members of communities all around America rely on Planned Parenthood for these services; Gil will work to protect that critical funding to Planned Parenthood and oppose legislation that threatens this funding.  


Beyond healthcare facilities, women need equal access to affordable health insurance. The passage of the ACA marked, for the first time, a ban on gender discrimination in the health insurance market. Under this ban, women could no longer be charged more than men for health coverage in the individual market. This includes prohibiting coverage providers from charging extra for preventative health services, like mammograms, and classifying pregnancy as a "pre-existing condition." Gil and Jacki know the value of these protections and will ensure that Congress never repeals a woman's health care rights.  


Economic Equity

Women face many economic issues, from the glass ceiling to the floor of poverty. Gil is committed to support legislation that promotes welfare reform, livable wages, job discrimination, pay equity, access to housing, pension reform, and much more. Gil will fight to secure equal pay for women, which will benefit all women and their families. While Donald Trump thinks it is dangerous for women to leave the home and believes paid family leave hurts our economy, Gil will stand up to support legislative action on a national family and medical leave act. Equality in pay, job opportunities, political structure, social security and education are all issues that Gil will continue to fight for in Congress.


Gender Wage Gap

Motherhood penalty is a major barrier to closing the gender wage gap. When women become mothers, they tend to suffer financially. Despite the gains women have made in the labor force in recent decades, wages continue to lag behind men’s. This disparity is due to stereotypical gender norms, childcare responsibilities, bias, and limited access to male networks. To close the gender gap we need to reshape how we approach motherhood, and we need to support parents through paid family leave and affordable child care. 


In Congress, Gil would be a co-sponsor of H.R. 947, the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act). This Democratic plan would support working parents with up to 66 percent of their wages, up to a capped amount, for 12 weeks after childbirth, severe personal injury or family medical emergency. The FAMILY Act would be funded through employee and employer payroll contributions. Paid leave would help new parents keep their families on track to meet new expenses. Following a birth, mothers who take paid leave are more likely than those who take no paid leave to stay in the workforce and more likely to report wage increases. Gil believes it is unacceptable for the United States to be the only developed nation that has not designated formal paid leave for new mothers. 


In addition to paid family leave, Gil believes parents should have access to high quality, publicly funded child care. In Congress, Gil will support H.R.3773, the Child Care for Working Families Act. This bill would establish a new federal-state partnership to provide high-quality, affordable child care through age 13, and more than double the number of children eligible for child care assistance in a quality program. This bill would produce more jobs, provide people working in child care a living wage, and allow parents to either work or work more. Reducing child care costs and increasing child care availability increases employment among parents, primarily among mothers and those from low-income families.


Domestic Violence

Women are 16 times more likely to be killed by guns in America than in other developed countries. At least 52 percent of American women killed by guns are victims of an intimate partner or family member.


In Congress, Gil would support H.R. 2670, the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act, which would strengthen federal law protecting victims of domestic violence and stalking by expanding the current definition of intimate partners to include those who are dating. This would prohibit abusers with temporary restraining orders filed against them from purchasing a firearm and adding those convicted of stalking to the list of those prohibited from purchasing firearms.


Sexual Harassment

In Congress, Gil will champion an overhaul of the House of Representatives Office Of Compliance and the process through which they settle sexual harassment claims. He will fight for public disclosure of such claims and the elimination of mandatory cooling-off periods for victims seeking to report sexual misconduct in the House of Representatives. Gil will champion the termination of taxpayer-funded settlements to victims of sexual harassment.


Women of Color

Gil understands that racism inflicts a double burden on women of color and that they can often be left out of the conversation on women’s rights. In Congress, Gil is committed to fighting for equal opportunities for women of color in all areas. including employment, education and reproductive rights. Women of color are disproportionately impacted by discriminatory pay practices, and in Congress Gil will combat the discrimination they face on and off the job.


Women of color have had to constantly fight for the right to have children and the right to choose. They have been policed and marginalized through welfare reform, immigration laws, and racialized myths about their bodies and sexuality. This has often prevented women of color from having children on their own terms, making it difficult for them to access child care, access paid sick leave, and to raise their children as they see fit. The Trump administration has only exacerbated their problem through efforts to cut Medicaid by more than $600 billion, cut welfare programs by $270 billion, cut teen pregnancy prevention programs by $214 million, and repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This has put at risk women of color’s reproductive autonomy and the ability of their families to succeed. Gil will support legislation that increases investments to expand high-quality, affordable child care to every eligible working family with young children. Gil will fight to ensure access to quality healthcare for all, without discrimination, including timely and appropriate care for mothers. Gil will also support the rights of women of color to decide how they give birth as parents. While medical reasons may compel doctors to sometimes intervene, women should always maintain some level of control over their childbirth and delivery.



We need to inspire girls in our country and support women, not discriminate based on sex or gender identity. Promoting a diverse and fair workforce will only contribute to economic growth. In Congress, Gil will fight for women’s rights and promote the welfare of all women. Gil will fight to expand opportunity for women, he will confront violence against women, push for pro-family policies, and defend a woman’s right to control her own body.


Investing in our Children's Future and Making Higher Education Affordable


I will fight to increase per pupil spending in our k-12 education system, fight to ensure that all students have access to affordable higher education, and fight to revamp our student loan system to bring down costs.  I will fight for our kids in Congress.


90% of children in America attend a public school. We need a strong public education system that gives every student the opportunities they deserve.

Unfortunately, many of our schools struggle to get by financially under the current financial plans. Now, Republicans in Congress, President Trump, and Betsy DeVos only want to slash education funding further. President Trump’s dangerously unqualified Education Secretary Betsy DeVos even supports eliminating the Department of Education. Instead of cutting education, we should be investing in education in order to transform and modernize our educational system for the 21st century economy.

Gil and Jacki know how important our educational system is to the development of our students and future leaders. Education is an issue they are very passionate about, so passionate, that Gil even returned to school to earn a Master's Degree in Urban Education Policy from Brown University.

Gil and Jacki have seen first hand how schools in underserved communities are continually challenged to provide their students with top quality education as they continue to be underfunded. Gil and Jacki have tried to fill the gaps in some of these communities by supporting a variety of programs that support student learning and development. Their goal has always been to provide opportunity where opportunity often doesn’t exist, and help kids achieve their full potential.

Gil understands that when you provide students with the tools they need to succeed, anything is possible. He will work to ensure that all students have the educational opportunities they deserve no matter where they are from or what their background is.

Gil will fight to increase per pupil spending in our K­12 education system, fight to ensure that all students have access to affordable higher education, and fight to revamp our student loan system to bring down costs. Gil will fight for our kids in Congress.

Invest in Early Childhood Education

The evidence is clear: investing in early education increases the likelihood that children, will become more successful students and more productive adults. We should be investing more in these programs, not cutting them to provide tax cuts for billionaires. We also need to invest in summer learning programs to help students from underserved communities keep on track with their peers and prevent them from falling behind when school starts in the Fall. Gil will fight for increased investment in programs that support the cognitive development of students throughout the education process.


Fully Fund Title I and IDEA

Ed Royce and politicians in Washington have cut federal funding for education over 25% since 2011. That not only is wrong, it is shortsighted. We need to invest in education, an investment in education is an investment in the future of America.

We must ensure all children have an equal opportunity to a great education. Washington dysfunction leaves vital programs underfunded. Title 1, which serves children of low­income families, has a $37 billion shortfall, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has a shortfall of $18 billion. It is unfair that the federal government continues to cut programs like IDEA, but they mandate states continue to follow the federal regulations This has left our school districts to sacrifice and cut funding to other programs as they try to meet their budgets. Gil will fight for our school districts here at home, making sure they are fully funded, and able to provide all of our children the quality education they deserve.


Give Every Child the Opportunity to Flourish in STEAM

America’s economic future depends on successfully training our students in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM). We need to prepare our kids for the job of tomorrow. We need to transform our educational system for the future to fit the 21st century.

Over the last decade, STEAM jobs have grown at a rate that is nearly twice as fast as non-STEAM jobs. By not properly preparing our kids for these jobs we’ve let them down. In order to reverse that trend, we need to fully fund STEAM programs to make sure we train our children successfully and maintain America’s role as a world leader in innovation.

Investing in STEAM education is particularly important for the 39th District given that we have long served as the center for aerospace manufacturing and development in the United States, and Gil will work to make sure we maintain our leading role as we transition into the new economy.

Attract and Retain Great Teachers

There is no substitute for a great teacher. We want our kids to have careers, not just jobs. We must support the people who are on the front lines in preparing the next generation of innovators.We need to give our teachers more input and more control over the teaching process. We need to better equip teachers with the right tools for a 21st-century classroom and we need to provide them with continuing education and training so that they can better prepare our kids.

Teachers play a critical role in the development of our children and the future of America, but, too many teachers are underpaid and overworked. We need to provide them with better job security, because too many teachers go from year to year wondering if they’ll have a job.

We must improve working conditions so that we are able to attract and retain the highest quality teachers. We must recognize teacher achievement and work to retain our best educators.

Provide Affordable Higher Education Opportunities to Everyone

We know that 99% of job growth since the financial crisis has gone to workers with at least some college education. 72% have gone to workers with at least a Bachelor's degree. These numbers show the importance of providing higher education opportunities to everyone. This is why more than ever, higher education is so important to every student.

­ We need to make college tuition free for motivated students. We need to create more access to higher education for everyone.

­ A great education should not come with great financial liability. Students today are saddled with debt and high-interest rates from loans that hardly cover the cost of tuition. We need to re­work student loan programs so that they are more beneficial to students, and not the banks.

­ Gil will fight predatory lenders, and for college tuition to be tax deductible, so that students can further their education without drowning in debt.

­ We need to increase the American Opportunity Tax Credit and the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit. These tax credits should reflect the actual cost of a college education.

Fund the Every Student Succeeds Act

ESSA was a bipartisan bill signed by President Obama that gives control back to the states and local school districts over educational standards. This bill was enacted to correct the flaws in No Child Left Behind and increase the support to both teachers and students. President Trump and Betsy DeVos are refusing to fund this law, which is causing many of our students to fall further behind.

One component of this bill provided college and career counseling, which we know is greatly needed, but President Trump and Secretary DeVos refuse to fund it. Gil will work to ensure we provide all funding necessary for our students, schools, and teachers to succeed.

A Plan to Protect and Empower the LGBTQ Community


While we had a historic victory at the Supreme Court guaranteeing marriage equality, the LGBTQ community now faces increased attacks from extremists in Congress and the Trump Administration. Gil was proud to stand with VoteVets against Trump’s decision to ban thousands of transgender troops from protecting our country.



This decade has seen more advances in LGBTQ rights than ever before. The Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges gave all Americans the fundamental right to marry, regardless of sexual orientation. We repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, allowing LGBTQ service members to openly serve in our U.S. Military. And we passed the Shepard and Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act which, for the first time, included language that protects sexual orientation and gender identity into the federal hate crimes law. In California, we banned conversion therapy on minors, a state law that has been upheld twice in court. But the LGBTQ community in America still faces many challenges.


In schools all over the nation, LGBTQ youth are still bullied because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, often forced into conversion therapy. Violence and discrimination are aimed at people in the LGBTQ community everyday. And transgender service members are in constant fear of being discharged for openly serving in the U.S. Military. Gil will work to establish programs and pass legislation that promotes safe school environments. Gil supports a federal ban on conversion therapy for minors. Gil believes that it is time to pass comprehensive federal non-discrimination policies that protect every American from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Gil will support the bi-partisan legislation that will protect transgender service members from discharge as a result of their gender identity. In Congress, Gil will fight for full legal protection for the LGBTQ community.



Protect the Rights of LGBTQ Youth


We have seen that LGBTQ youth are more likely to be subjected to bullying and violence in schools which puts them at an increased risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors. A national survey showed that 8 in 10 LGBTQ youth were harassed in school. That number is too high. It is imperative that our schools provide a safe environment for LGBTQ youth to learn and grow. Gil supports programs that provide educators with the tools that they need to protect students from harassment. He knows we need to also provide schools with the resources to succeed in school and in their futures. Gil believes that educators throughout the country must work together to identify best practices for providing a safe school environment. Every student should feel safe when stepping into a classroom to learn.


Archaic practices, such as conversion therapy, should never be forced on minors. Gil supports legislation, such as the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, which puts a federal ban on conversion therapy for minors. Our country needs to follow in the footsteps of states like California, Nevada, New Jersey, and all the others that have banned this controversial practice state-wide. For years, Republicans in Congress have blocked attempts to pass the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act and other conversion therapy restrictions. Gil will work with his fellow members of Congress to show the success of similar legislation in California and promote the need for a federal ban on conversion therapy for minors.



Pass Comprehensive Federal Non-Discrimination Policies


When President Obama signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination against federal contractors who identify as members of the LGBTQ community, our nation took a big step towards social equality. Gil will build on the progress of the Obama Administration by expanding that non-discrimination policy to protect all employees, students, and consumers in America. When Congress introduced legislation to ensure that tax payer dollars are prohibited from being used to discriminate against the LGBTQ community, Ed Royce voted against it, showing yet again that he opposes equality for LGBTQ Americans. Gil supports a comprehensive federal non-discrimination policy that includes protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Every American should be given the opportunity to pursue the American Dream, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. That means that every American needs equal access to the services and benefits in this country.


Currently, dozens of states lack a comprehensive non-discrimination policy, leaving millions of Americans open to discrimination when seeking employment and educational opportunities, purchasing a home, and even securing goods and services. Ed Royce has repeatedly voted against legislation, such as the Sexual Orientation Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which would have extended protections against discrimination nearly a decade sooner. Gil knows that a comprehensive federal non-discrimination policy is the only way to close the gap and give every American equal access to the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.



Support Transgender Americans


Although we have made strides in protecting the rights of the LGBTQ Community, the rights of transgender individuals are constantly being attacked by Republicans across the country. Since 2015, over 100 anti-transgender bills have been proposed all over the United States. Those bills restricted access to public facilities, such as restrooms, by defining gender as the gender listed on a birth certificate. Republicans made attempts to restrict transgender students from fully participating in school and even ban transgender service members from defending our freedom. Courts and legislators have been successful at blocking all but 2 of the many bills that have been proposed. Gil will fight to repeal any law that discriminates against transgender Americans and he will block any future attempts to implement a discriminatory law. Gil supports legislation that aims to provide equality to transgender Americans, not take it away.


While states like North Carolina have passed legislation that restricts restroom access for transgender individuals, the Trump Administration is trying to impose bans on transgender participation in the military. Ed Royce and his fellow Republicans are attempting to dismantle the progress that our nation has made over the last decade with out of touch policies and rhetoric. The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was a long overdue step towards equality for the LGBTQ community, but the Trump Administration continues to threaten those successes and strip transgender individuals of the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. Gil stands behind the federal court’s decision to block Trump’s transgender military ban. Gil will ensure that his fellow veterans are afforded equal access to VA benefits regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. Gil will stand alongside the LGBTQ community and push for the priceless rights and equality that is owed.

Videos (5)

— October 24, 2018 Cisneros for Congress
— April 24, 2018 Cisneros for Congress
— April 24, 2018 Cisneros for Congress
— October 31, 2018 Cisneros for Congress

President Barack Obama endorses Gil Cisneros for Congress. 

— October 31, 2018 Cisneros for Congress

Vice President Joe Biden endorses Gil Cisneros for Congress 

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