Gil Cisneros: Veteran, Congressman from California
Gil Cisneros is a Democrat who has won a seat in the US House of Representatives in California’s 39th Congressional District. This is his first political office.
About Gil Cisneros
Cisneros was born in 1971 in Los Angeles, California. He now lives in Yorba Linda, California with his wife, Jacki and two children.
He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from George Washington University in 1994, and then his Master of Business Administration from Regis University in 2002, and then received his MA in Urban Education Policy from Brown University in 2015.
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
- animals rights
- comprehensive immigration reform
- protecting “dreamers”
- 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
- LGBTQ rights
- national security and terrorism
- retirement security
- women’s rights
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.
- Veterans Elected to Congress for 2019
- Military Benefits Update for 2019
- California BAH Rates
- California Veterans’ Benefits
- VA Disability Benefits
About the author
Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.