Gil Cisneros is a former Naval Officer, Under Secretary of Defense, Los Angeles County Congressmember, and an education leader running for Congress to fight for the people of the San Gabriel Valley.
As an officer in the U.S. Navy, education nonprofit leader, Congressman, and Under Secretary of Defense, Gil Cisneros has dedicated his life to service, taking action, and getting results for people. From helping open doors of opportunity to San Gabriel Valley students through providing college scholarships, to standing up to the Gun Lobby in Congress, to protecting the right to comprehensive reproductive care for stationed service members while at the Pentagon, Gil has always stood up for his community and California values.
The son of a public school cafeteria worker and a Vietnam veteran, and the grandson of WWII veterans, Gil understood the importance of public service. After graduating high school, Gil enlisted in the U.S. Navy, driven by a desire to serve his nation and a determination to carve out a brighter future. He earned an ROTC Scholarship and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from George Washington University. Gil also holds an MBA from Regis University and M.A. in Urban Education Policy from Brown University.
After his Navy service, Gil worked as a logistics manager for Frito-Lay, with facilities in the City of Industry and Rancho Cucamonga, building a middle-class life for himself and his family.
Gil dedicated himself to philanthropy 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 to create Generation First Degree Pico Rivera, with the goal of putting a college degree in every household in the city, and communities across the San Gabriel Valley. 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 also served on the advisory board of Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative for college access, and was appointed to the Advisory Committee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts by President Barack Obama in 2014.
After the election of Donald Trump, Gil could not sit on the sidelines, knowing the transformative impact public service and leadership could have on communities and the nation. He ran for California’s 39th Congressional District and won with the support of middle-class families and labor unions.
Once in Congress, Gil took an uncompromising stance against Donald Trump and his divisive policies. Together with seven colleagues, he co-authored an opinion piece calling for the President’s impeachment. He advocated for women, girls, and families, championing abortion care and reproductive health as a right, not a privilege. Gil also championed gun safety reform, striving to create safer communities through measures like universal background checks and the banning of assault weapons. He collaborated with fellow Congressmember Grace Napolitano to protect water resources and address climate change, air quality improvement, and health concerns related to pollution and fossil fuels. In keeping his promise to put the community he represented first– Gil’s office directly recovered over $550K for constituents, brought home $136M in non-COVID related grants for infrastructure and services, responded to 119K letters, and held 250 in-district events, including 30 town halls.
In 2021, Gil was appointed by President Biden to be Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness and the Military’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. During his tenure in leadership at the Department of Defense, he played a pivotal role in enacting policies that protected military personnel and supported their families, which included lowering costs, expanding healthcare, increasing educational opportunities, and safeguarding individual rights. He spearheaded the Pentagon’s new reproductive healthcare policy for military personnel, ensuring they had access to essential reproductive healthcare services, even if unavailable in the state where they were stationed. He led 80 recommendations to reform military sexual assault and harassment guidelines, resulting in the creation of an independent counsel’s office for sexual assault cases. While overseeing the Department of Defense education system of 160 schools in 11 foreign countries, and 7 states, Gil was the driving factor in ensuring the Department implemented Universal Pre-K in their elementary schools around the world.
Now with MAGA extremists running the House of Representatives, Gil is running for California’s 31st Congressional District to stand up for the San Gabriel Valley and continue his mission of service, advocating for veterans, gun safety reform, economic opportunity for working families, climate action, and defending women’s rights.