Bisexual Woman’s Bid for Congress in Arizona


A long-time member of the LGBT community, Kyrsten Sinema is running for Congress in Arizona’s new Congressional District 9, based in Phoenix, Tempe and the East Valley. She has served in  the Arizona State Legislature. First elected in 2004, she was re-elected in  2006 to continue serving central Phoenix in District 15.

Sinema will run against Vernon Parker, a local councilman, in the general election . The newly redistricted  9th Congressional District is based in Tempe, Arizona. Sinema was born in Tucson, Arizona, and has lived in Phoenix since 1995. She holds a Juris Doctorate and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Arizona State University, and is an adjunct professor in the School of Social Work at Arizona State University. She also practices criminal defense law in the Phoenix community.

Prior to her work at the Legislature, she was a social worker in the Washington School District. She created and directed the Sunnyslope community’s first Family Resource Center. She focused on community development and organization, adult and community education, grant writing and administration, and advocacy for low-income, minority, refugee, and undocumented families.

She is a member of the Governor’s Commission to Prevent Violence Against Women. Recently, she served as the Chair of Arizona Together, the first group in the country to defeat a same-sex marriage ban on the ballot. She also works for the Center for Progressive Leadership, teaching tomorrow’s political leaders about leadership and the political process. She was honored with the 2005 Stonewall Democrats Legislator of the Year Award, and Time Magazine named Kyrsten one of the “rising stars of American politics” and one of its “40 under 40” in 2010.

The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund has endorsed Sinema. EMILY’s List and the Human Rights Campaign have also endorsed her, in addition to other groups.


About Author

Denise Penn

Denise Penn is a Southern California-based journalist who has covered issues for the LGBT and HIV-affected community for nearly two decades. While an investigative reporter for the Blade Newsmagazine, her coverage of hate crimes became part of Congressional records. She served as News Editor for the Lesbian News and has contributed to In Los Angeles Magazine, EDGE, and many others. She is also a clinical social worker and brings that perspective to her articles. She produced and hosted an award-winning community television program in Long Beach, California for 12 years.

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