A 16-year drought of LGBTQ representation on the council of the Bay Area's largest city could come to an end this year. It is up to the voters in San Jose's 3rd council district to decide if the South Bay city will have its second out councilmember in its history.In 2000, Ken Yeager was elected as the first gay councilmember of California's third largest city.
He departed in 2006 when he became the first, and so far only, out member of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.This year, gay Democratic Party regional director Omar Torres is running for the open 3rd council district seat to represent downtown San Jose, including his alma mater San Jose State University, and the Japantown, Washington-Guadalupe, and Spartan Keys neighborhoods.
The incumbent, City Councilmember Raul Peralez, is termed out and running to be mayor; he has endorsed Torres to succeed him on the council.Torres graduated from San Jose State in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in political science and a minor in public administration.
Like recently appointed gay San Francisco District 6 Supervisor Matt Dorsey, Torres is open about his struggles with alcohol and drug addictions and has been clean and sober for more than five years."I have stayed in San Jose because this is the city that has made me who I am today.