Gil Cisneros Announces Campaign For California’s 31st Congressional District

Sep 17, 2023
For Immediate Release: September 18, 2023
Contact: [email protected]

Gil Cisneros Announces Campaign For California’s 31st Congressional District

Former U.S. Representative For Los Angeles County and Under Secretary of Defense Launches Campaign With Powerful Endorsements

Covina, CA – Today, former Naval Officer, Los Angeles County Congressmember, Under Secretary of Defense and the Military’s Chief Diversity, and Inclusion Officer, Gil Cisneros announced his candidacy for California’s 31st Congressional District, with powerful endorsements from local elected officials, labor unions, California Democratic Party leaders, and members of the California Congressional Delegation.

Cisneros, who previously represented Los Angeles County and parts of the 31st District before being appointed by President Biden to the Department of Defense, founded the Gilbert and Jacki Cisneros Foundation in Pico Rivera, which supports educational initiatives across the San Gabriel Valley and country. 

“As the son of a Vietnam war veteran, the values of serving our country and supporting others were instilled in me at a young age,” said Cisneros. “This ethos inspired me to volunteer for the Navy after college, launch an educational foundation that has empowered thousands of first-generation college students to achieve their dreams, represent Los Angeles County in Congress, and be appointed by President Biden as Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. As I witness the continued attacks by MAGA extremists on the programs, and policies that I implemented at DOD and fought for in Congress, like access to reproductive care, environmental protections, and gun safety legislation, I know that our work is not done, which is why I am announcing my candidacy for Congress.”

Cisneros announced his Congressional campaign with a broad coalition of endorsements:

Bonita Unified School District Board Vice President, Greg Palatto –

“As a school board member, I fight for strong public schools every day. I see that same spirit in Gil Cisneros. Gil has used his good fortune in the service of others: his foundation has helped so many kids from the San Gabriel Valley have a shot at college. Gil has fought for public education, worker rights, and environmental protection in Congress, and I can’t wait to see him represent the San Gabriel Valley in Congress. Let’s get Gil on the Hill!

 Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Representative Nanette Barragán (CA-44) –

“Gil has used his good fortune to improve the fortune of thousands of Latino students in Los Angeles County. In Congress he fought to lower tuition costs for students and our veterans and has led the Administrations efforts to expand educational opportunities at the Department of Defense. We need Gil on the Hill and I am proud to endorse him.”

International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 36 –

“The working men and women of the International Union of Painters & Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 36 are pleased to give Gil Cisneros our enthusiastic support and endorsement. Gil understands the critical work that our members do to keep our economy moving, and he has supported our workers in both Congress and in the Biden Administration. Gil is a seasoned veteran who knows how to move the needle in DC. Let’s get Gil on the Hill!”

  • New Democrat Coalition Action Fund
  • Democrats Serve
  • International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 36
  • International Union of Operating Engineers Local 12 
  • Congressmember John Garamendi (CA-08)
  • Congressmember Josh Harder (CA-09)
  • Congressmember Salud Carbajal (CA-24)
  • Congressmember Raul Ruiz (CA-25)
  • Congressmember Tony Cárdenas (CA-29)
  • Congressmember Linda Sánchez (CA-38)
  • Chair of The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressmember Nanette Barragán (CA-44)
  • Congressmember Mike Levin (CA-49)
  • Greg Palatto (Bonita Unified School District Board Vice President)
  • Joe Magallanes (West Covina Unified School District Board Clerk)
  • Andre Quintero (retired El Monte Mayor)
  • Carlos Alcalá, California Democratic Party Chicano Latino Caucus Chair
  • Rima Nashashibi, California Democratic Party Arab American Caucus Chair

In Congress, Cisneros directly recovered over $550K for constituents, brought back $136M in non-COVID related grants, responded to 119K letters, and held 250 in-district events, including 30 town halls. Cisneros co-sponsored the bipartisan Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 to extend VA care to “Blue Water Navy” veterans exposed to Agent Orange, lowered health insurance premiums through the repeal of the federal health insurance tax, and secured funding for improving military transition assistance and employment programs, making it easier to connect veterans with the benefits they earned. Cisneros also restored and protected $255M in federal funding for Hispanic Serving Institutions. He spearheaded tougher gun safety laws, including universal background checks to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. Cisneros also stood up for women’s health, earning 100% ratings from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

During his tenure as the Pentagon’s Under Secretary for Personnel & Readiness, Cisneros was named the Department of Defense’s first Chief of Diversity and Inclusion. Cisneros ensured LBGTQ rights were protected, and he implemented the Pentagon’s newest polices on access to free contraceptives and on reproductive health care (abortions and assisted reproductive technology) for military personnel, which covers travel costs and time off for troops who travel out of state due to reproductive healthcare restrictions or bans in the state where they are stationed. Cisneros oversaw the implemention of 82 recommendations to reform the military sexual assault and harassment guidelines and practices, including creating an independent counsel’s office for sexual assault cases.  An education advocate, Cisneros increased access to childcare for both military families and DoD civilian employees.  He was the driving factor to ensure DoD would implement Universal Pre-K in their elementary schools around the world.   


Gil Cisneros is the former Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, and the Military’s Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer.  A former U.S. Naval Officer, Gil was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal (2), the National Defense Medal, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for his exemplary service to his country. 

From 2018 to 2021, Cisneros served as U.S. representative for Los Angeles county in California’s 39th Congressional District where he served on the Armed Services and Veterans Affairs committees.

Gil is Advocate and co-founder of The Gilbert & Jacki Cisneros Foundation, an organization committed to improving the level of Hispanic education in the country and the lives of Veterans. Gilbert’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 Hispanic household in the city. Gil’s commitment to education led him to be appointed to former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative’s advisory board.

California’s 31st is an open Congressional District in Los Angeles County covering the San Gabriel Valley. Incumbent Congressmember Grace Napolitano is retiring. The district includes all or part of the Cities of Azusa, Baldwin Park, Bradbury, City of Industry, Covina, Duarte, El Monte, Glendora, Irwindale, La Puente, La Verne, Monrovia, San Dimas, South El Monte, and West Covina. 51.2% of the registered voters in CA-31 identify as Latino, and 15.3% are of Asian or Pacific Islander descent.

*Gil Cisneros is a former Navy officer and the use of his military rank, job titles and photographs in uniform does not* imply endorsement by the Department of the Navy or the Department of Defense.

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