State Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Canada) has named Rose Queen Louise Deser Siskel the 25th Senate District’s 2019 Woman of the Year.

“I am grateful to Sen. Anthony Portantino for nominating me for the California Legislative Women’s Caucus Woman of the Year Award,” Siskel said. “I feel lucky to be honored among a group of truly dedicated women who make the world a more kind and welcoming place. This year, as the 101st Rose Queen, I had the opportunity to promote scientific research, education, and inclusion. This recognition encourages me, and I hope will encourage others, to advocate for these values.”

Siskel came out as bisexual in a column in the Los Angeles Times on New Year’s Eve.

“[I]n this new, very public position, I feel it’s important to present myself authentically, especially to those who look to the Royal Court as a representation of our community,” wrote Siskel. “While I am almost certainly not the first member of the LGBTQ community on the court, I hope that by saying so publicly, I might encourage others to be proud of who they are.”

In February, Siskel appeared at the Pasadena City Council and spoke in favor of the city remaining on track to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

Later that month, members of the controversial anti-gay, anti-Semitic Westboro Baptist Church protested against Siskel at Sequoyah High School in West Pasadena.

“I am very honored and excited that Louise has to come to Sacramento to represent our district. She has distinguished herself as an amazing leader, not just displaying poise while the entire world watched her in the Rose Parade but through her trailblazing leadership. She embraced the responsibility of being selected Rose Queen with a bold civic agenda, impressed everyone who has encountered her during this past year and exemplified intelligence, confidence and maturity,” Portantino said in a prepared statement.

Each year, members of the Legislature recognize the exceptional women in their district with a celebration commemorating their accomplishments and positive impact on our communities, said Yvonne Vasquez, a spokesperson for Portantino. 

“This year, Sen. Portantino is honored that Ms. Siskel has agreed to proudly represent the 25th Senate District.” Vasquez said.