LGBTQ Victory Institute Open Letter Urging the Senate to Confirm Exceptional LGBTQ Nominees

A PDF version of the letter is available here.

Dear Senator Schumer:

Let me first offer my congratulations on passage of the Respect for Marriage Act. LGBTQ people across the country are deeply grateful for your leadership to pass one of the most important pro-equality pieces of federal legislation in U.S. history.

Given this historic pro-LGBTQ mandate, as President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute, I write today with renewed urgency to call on the Senate to bring for a full vote and consideration before the 118th Congress the nominations of highly qualified leaders ready to serve in the Biden administration, the most LGBTQ-inclusive administration ever. These candidates, many of whom have been under Senate consideration for over 100 days, represent nominees sent forth by President Biden who are critical to the effective operations of the Executive Branch. In addition to their exceptional qualifications, they also proudly represent our nation’s LGBTQ community.

  • Daniel J. Calabretta, nominated August 1, 2022 for United States District Judge for the Eastern District of California. Judge Calabretta would be the first out LGBTQ judge to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. He has served as a judge on the Superior Court of Sacramento County, California since 2019.
  • Joseph Lee Falk, nominated September 19, 2022 for Member of the Board of Directors of the United States Institute of Peace. He is currently a consultant with the law firm of Akerman LLP and is the past President and Legislative Chairman of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers. In 2014, he was appointed by President Obama as a member of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.
  • Solomon Jeffrey Greene, nominated April 27, 2021 for Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He currently leads HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research, which informs policy development and implementation to improve life in American communities through conducting, supporting and sharing research, surveys, demonstrations, program evaluations and best practices.
  • Jeffrey Matthew Marootian, nominated July 21, 2022 for Assistant Secretary of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. He currently serves as a Special Assistant to the President in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. Mr. Marootian previously served in the Obama-Biden Administration as the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Chief Sustainability Officer at the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • Gina R. Mendez-Miro, nominated June 15, 2022 for United States District Judge for the District of Puerto Rico. She would be the first out LGBTQ federal district court judge in Puerto Rico and has served as a judge on the Puerto Rico Court of Appeals since 2016. From 2013 to 2016, Judge Méndez-Miró served as the Chief of Staff for the President of the Senate of Puerto Rico.
  • Roger Nyhus, nominated November 15, 2022 for Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Barbados, and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. He is an engaged community leader, LGBTQ and BIPOC civil rights advocate and champion of wildlife conservation and the arts. He is the founder and former CEO of Nyhus Communications, one of Seattle’s leading communications and public affairs firms, and the eighth largest Native American-owned company in Washington state.
  • Casey Pitts, nominated September 6, 2022 for United States District Judge for the Northern District of California. Judge Pitts would be the only out LGBTQ Article III judge actively serving on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. He is a partner at Altshuler Berzon LLP in San Francisco, California, where he has worked since 2009.
  • William S. Pocan, nominated December 15, 2022 for United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Judge Pocan would be the first out LGBTQ Article III judge in Wisconsin and the first out LGBTQ man to serve as an Article III federal judge anywhere in the Seventh Circuit. He is the Deputy Chief Judge of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he has served since 2006.
  • Ana C. Reyes, nominated May 19, 2022 for United States District Judge for the District of Columbia. If confirmed, she would be the first Hispanic woman and the first out LGBTQ person to ever serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Ana has been a partner at Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington, D.C. since 2009.
  • Gigi B. Sohn, nominated October 28, 2021 for Member of the Federal Communications Commission. If confirmed, she would be the first out LGBTQ Commissioner in the history of the FCC. For over thirty years, Gigi has worked to defend and preserve the fundamental competition and innovation policies that have made broadband Internet access more ubiquitous, competitive, affordable, open and protective of user privacy. From 2013-2016, she served as Counselor to Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.
  • Jamar K. Walker, nominated July 13, 2022 for United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia. Judge Walker would be the first out LGBTQ Article III judge to serve in the state of Virginia and has served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia since 2015.

Senator Schumer, we need you to call for the full vote of these candidates before the end of the 117th Congress. These candidates have waited long enough and are essential to ensuring our government and judiciary are inclusive of highly qualified LGBTQ people.

Thank you for your continued leadership and partnership. I would be happy to further discuss with you any of these candidates’ impressive credentials.

Sincerely,

Mayor Annise Parker

President & CEO

LGBTQ Victory Institute