Joe Vogel is primed to be one of our next great gay political stars. The Maryland state delegate is running for Congress next year, and he just raked up endorsements from two of the most prominent LGBTQ+ legislators in the country.
This week, U.S. Reps Richie Torres (D-NY) and Mark Takano (D-CA) endorsed Vogel’s candidacy, the Washington Blade reports. They join the Equality PAC, which endorsed Vogel earlier this month.
“In Maryland, state Del. Joe Vogel has a strong track record of standing up for our community and will make sure this swing seat elects someone who will fight for equality,” said Torres and Takano in a press release. “As we speak, our community is facing an unprecedented level of attacks, targeting trans people, children, and families. Making sure we have representation in Congress is a critical component to protecting these vulnerable communities.”
Vogel, 26, was born in Uruguay and immigrated to Maryland when he was three years old. One of the youngest members of Maryland’s House of Delegates, he’s introduced more than 75 bills, including a measure to establish a commission on hate crime response and prevention. Gov. Wes Moore signed that bill into law in May.
In addition to being LGBTQ+, Vogel would make history as Maryland’s first Latino congressman. While he recognizes the significance of those potential accomplishments, he says he wants his voting record to ultimately define him.
“When you hear about the issues that I’m focused on on the campaign trail, it’s issues that matter to every person in this district, regardless of your gender identity or sexual orientation,” he told the Blaze.
“It’s mental health, it’s gun violence, it’s the climate crisis, it’s job creation, it’s transportation, it’s housing rights. All of these issues that affect every family in this community, but … I think we need more people who understand what it’s like to be part of [the LGBTQ] community and will make our issues a priority.”
Even though Vogel is only in his mid-20s, he’s already stockpiled years of political experience. He volunteered on Barack Obama‘s 2012 campaign when he was just 15, and worked as an intern for Nancy Pelosi. As a student at George Washington University, he took a year off to work for Hillary Clinton‘s 2016 presidential campaign.
After that, Vogel, who earned his master’s in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School (not too shabby!), interned for Chuck Schumer, and later worked on Cory Booker’s 2020 presidential team.
Politics and public policy runs in Vogel’s family. His father’s job as a diplomat for the International Monetary Fund brought his family to the U.S.
Vogel was sworn into the Maryland House of Delegates early this year.
The incumbent in Vogel’s district, Rep. David Trone, is running for retiring U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin’s seat. Alongside Vogel, Stephen McDow and state Del. Lesley Lopez are running to replace Trone, who carried the 6th Congressional District by nearly 10 percentage points last cycle.
There was a “rainbow wave” last November, with at least 400 out LGBTQ+ candidates winning their elections, according to the Victory Fund. We’re already seeing an array of impressive LGBTQ+ candidates declare for the next cycle, including Will Rollins for Congress in California and Alex Mohajer for State Senate in California. If Mohajer wins, he would become the first out gay Iranian man elected in the world.
Vogel, who’s been talking to LGBTQ+ people around his district this Pride season, knows first-hand about the importance of representation.
“We’ve been all over the district during Pride month and having conversations with people from Cumberland to Frederick to Gaithersburg about the challenges facing our community, the progress we’ve made and what the future holds,” he said. “I think folks are excited about the representation that we’re offering and I want people to know that I take these issues personally. I will be a champion for our community in Congress.”
We need as many fighters like Vogel as possible. Scroll down for more shots of him campaigning around the Free State and advocating for his constituents…