Cisneros attended college on a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship.
He served in the Navy for 10 years and was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal, the National Defense Medal, and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal during his service.
Military Transition to Civilian Career
After the Navy, he started working at Frito-Lay, and was a shipping and manufacturing manager, but was laid off in 2010. A few weeks after he was laid off, he and his wife won a Mega Millions jackpot worth $266 million. This changed things for him, and the couple became philanthropists. One of the biggest things they did was give money for education. They established endowments for scholarships to be given to Latino students at George Washington University and the University of Southern California. They founded the Generation First Degree Pico Rivera, with the goal of putting a college degree in every household in the city, and the Gilbert and Jacki Cisneros Foundation to help provide mentorship in education. After he set up that foundation, he earned his Master of Arts in Urban Education Policy.
Military and Veteran Support Issues
He has worked to strengthen schools, promote access to quality education by supporting Yellow Ribbon programs for veterans, established scholarships and created an endowment for the dependents of former Navy Supply Corps personnel. He currently serves as the Secretary of the Latino Donor Collaborative, he is a board member of the Wooden Floor, a non-profit dance studio, he is a member of the Southern California Advisory Council for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, he is a member of the Advisory Council for the Dean of Columbian College of Arts and Sciences at George Washington University, and he is a member of the Brown University Diversity Council. He has previously served on the President’s Advisory Committee in the Arts for the Kennedy Center under President Obama.
Gil Cisneros will bring his experience as a philanthropist, and a Navy veteran to Congress. According to his website, his areas of focus are:
Americans with disabilities
an economy that works for the middle class
comprehensive immigration reform
defending our environment
ending gun violence
getting corporate money out of politics
healthcare for all
honoring our veterans
investing in our children’s future
making higher education affordable
national security and terrorism
He believes that there is no greater duty than to provide for the men and women who have sacrificed for our country as well as when they return from service.
As a former Navy officer, he knows about the sacrifices first hand. As a son of a Vietnam veteran, he knows how important VA services are. He wants to talk about how increasing benefits to veterans to ensure that they are provided for with top medical care and any services that they deserve is so important. He has formed a Veterans’ Steering Committee with a number of local veterans. He believes that all veterans need to be treated equally, regardless of sexual orientation or immigration status. Since he has been a recipient of the Post-9/11 GI Bill he knows how important that benefit can be. He pledges to defend the Post-9/11 GI Bill to help provide those benefits to veterans.
Gil Cisneros won against Republican Young Kim in California’s 39th Congressional District.