BREA, Calif. — As congressional races start to heat up closer to November 3, one of the six districts that flipped in 2018, the 39th Congressional District, represented by Congressman Gil Cisneros, is proving to be one of the most competitive. 

What You Need To Know

  • A Southern California Republican voter has plans to vote for one Democrat this year: Rep. Gil Cisneros

  • Brad Thompson heard pleas from political leaders for more PPE, and pivoted his production but he didn't hear back from offices at first

  • Rep. Cisneros responded, and then wrote to several offices to let them know about Thompson’s supply

  • From there, Thompson said he started to receive more interest, and said Cisneros was a genuine “man of his word”

Brad Thompson is a California Republican voter who plans to vote for President Donald Trump, and other members of the GOP. However, Thompson is planning on voting for Congressman Cisneros because of something he discovered about the representative during the pandemic.

Thompson has worked his entire life on his family’s running apparel business, called Built on Athletics. His dedication to his family’s success started out early when he was just 11-years-old.

When COVID-19 hit in March, and Governor Gavin Newsom shut down all non-essential businesses, his family and employees were hit hard.

“No end in sight, with no relief in sight,” Thompson said. “At that time there was nothing. There was no relief from the government from paychecks. There was nothing. It was just ‘go home and wait.’ I had to find a way to get myself out of that non-essential category and back into the essential category.”

Thompson’s inspiration came after he heard desperate pleas from political leaders, like Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and other hospital officials for more personal protective equipment, or PPE.

In just a few days, Thompson quickly switched gears and bought millions of dollars’ worth of material from across the country to start producing medical gowns and other PPE, like masks, to meet the demand.

Things didn’t go as planned, though.

“For the private sector, we were getting calls from smaller doctors and offices, small to mid-size hospitals saying ‘we need this stuff right now,’” Thompson said. “The frustration came from the public sector when I heard multiple politicians around the country on TV complaining that they couldn’t get any of this stuff and we were raising our hands saying, ‘we have it. We can ship today. We can go.’ If we even got someone to pick up the phone it was, ‘thank you for the information, we’ll be in touch.’ And nobody ever was.”

Panic and worry began to rise. Thompson began to wonder if the virus was too politicized and whether he had made the right decision.

Suddenly he heard back from one Congressman.

“Literally the only one,” Thompson said.

It was Representative Gil Cisneros, D-39, who is a former veteran. Rep. Cisneros immediately sent Thompson guidance and then wrote to several offices, including the Veterans Affairs Long Beach Healthcare System, to let them know about Thompson’s local supply. 

“We knew there was a shortage of PPE across the country and we had thankfully several businesses in the 39th [district] that were able to go and transform their production,” Rep. Cisneros said. “And thankfully some like the VA and other departments contacted them and we were also able to connect them with local hospitals as well to let them know that they were making the products, the PPE material and the gear that you need.”

From there, Thompson said he started to receive more interest and secured a contract with the VA, and within the next few months, Thompson would make upwards of 200,000 gowns to answer the call for help. 

Thompson said Rep. Cisneros was a genuine “man of his word.”

“Honesty in someone is of utmost importance,” Thompson said. “‘What he says is what he’s going to do. It is something that honestly I feel is something we are losing in our government today.”

For that reason, Thompson is about to do something he’s never done before, vote for a Democrat. 

Rep. Cisneros said in part because of Thompson’s story, he’s leading a bipartisan push to have the federal government prioritize buying medical supplies from small businesses to replenish the federal stockpile. On top of that, Rep. Cisneros just signed onto H.R.7841 last week, the American PPE Supply Chain Integrity Act, which is led by a Republican.

The bill would guarantee all large federal PPE purchases over $150,000 come from within the United States.

While Thompson said Cisneros is “trustworthy,” Rep. Cisneros’ opponent Young Kim disagrees, and recently released an ad in an effort to prove her point.

In the ad, Kim goes into how Congressman Cisneros didn’t keep his word to be independent of his party, nor did he vote against making Nancy Pelosi the House Speaker like he said he would.

Congressman Cisneros denounced Kim’s ad and said his promise was for “new leadership” and that after collaborating with the Speaker, she agreed with him to get fresh leaders into Committee and Caucus leadership positions and limit her terms.

He said only then did he agree to approve her as Speaker.

An August poll by Public Opinion Strategies shows the two candidates neck and neck with Rep. Cisneros leading Kim by two percentage points, which is within the margin of error.

The Cook Political Report from September 11, shows the 39th district to be “likely Democratic.”