Pérez made history in 2010 when he became Speaker of the California State Assembly, the first openly gay person to hold such a position in the nation. Raised in working-class communities, he learned the value of hard work and community service and spent more than 15 years advocating for more jobs, expanded healthcare, and the protection of workers’ rights. A longtime champion for LGBT issues, he was appointed by Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to serve on the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. In March 2012, Pérez told a massive rally in Sacramento protesting education cuts that, “California is watching, and the people support you.” Backing their call, he wrote the Middle Class Scholarship Act to lower tuition for students who don’t qualify for financial aid at the University of California and California State University campuses. It was signed into law on July 1, 2013, the same day Congress failed to keep student loan rates from doubling. Find him on Facebook and Twitter @SpeakerPerez.