Abel for Assembly 2012

Who am I?

The son of a baker and a cook, I was the first my family to graduate from college. My father has been a member of UNITE-HERE Local 2 for over 35 years. My mother is a long-time member of SEIU-UHW. I grew up in San Franciscos Mission District, where few people even considered attending college. Growing up, learned the value of hard work from my parents, and was fortunate to receive a great public education at UC Berkeley, where I earned a bachelors degree in sociology and a masters degree in public policy.
As Vice President of an East Bay school finance firm, I have improved educational opportunities for thousands of students across the state. During the last 10 years, I have helped to raise over $2.5 billion to build and modernize Californias public schools and community colleges.
Since 2006, I have served as a trustee of the Peralta Community Colleges system that includes Laney College, Merritt College, Berkeley City College and the College of Alameda, and educates more than 30,000 students a year in the East Bay. I have stood up for our community by making Peraltas management more accountable and transparent through a series of financial reforms and cost-saving measures. Despite state funding cuts, I have led collaborations with other local agencies to deliver results that matter.
Because our community colleges are on the frontlines of job training, I have pushed for effective educational programs in green businesses, biotech and health care to get our people back to work. I have secured over $20 million for career education and green jobs, expanded access by providing classes for 3,000 more students, and set aside $2 million dollars to construct a health clinic at the Peralta Colleges to improve health care access and outcomes for students. A former rank-and-file member of United Food & Commercial Workers, I have stood with striking nurses on the picket line at Children's Hospital Oakland.
A product of California public schools, I have delivered results that matter for workers and students, including a Project Labor Agreement, in conjunction with the Alameda County Buildings and Trades Council, on Peraltas $390 million bond program. I also stopped payment to unscrupulous contractor found guilty of wage theft and alerted IBEW Local 595 and the Central Labor Council to protect workers.
In recognition of my efforts to improve educational opportunities in the East Bay, I received the 2011 Elected Official of Year award from the East Bay Young Democrats, and am endorsed by the California Nurses Association, the Peralta Federation of Teachers (AFT Local 1603) and the California Federation of Teachers. I am also proud to have earned the support of SEIU California, AFSME DC 57 and Dolores Huerta.

Why am I running?

Working families across the East Bay and California are facing unprecedented challenges. I am committed to better connecting our states resources and budget to increasing job opportunities, improving education success, reducing poverty and crime, and promoting environmental sustainability to foster a healthier California.

California should not be a place where corporations get huge tax breaks, while schools, libraries have to scramble for funds. Investing in our infrastructure now by rebuilding outdated schools, highways and bridges is a sure way to safeguard our future but also to get Californian's working again now! Better education leads to better jobs, which lead to a healthier population, less crime and, ultimately, less pressure on government budgets.

A product of local public schools, I want to make sure all Californians have the same opportunities hes had. As Assemblymember, I will continue his efforts to make a real difference for our young people, working families and the lives of our entire community and make sure our priorities are represented in Sacramento.

My Goals

The first goal is to get Californian's working again. Californias streets, highways, schools and hospitals are falling literally falling apart. We need to invest in our states infrastructure to get East Bay residents working again. As a public finance professional working for California school districts the last 10 years, I am uniquely qualified to champion this issue.

Secondly, as a community college trustee, and the first in my family to graduate from college, I know the transformative power of education. A good education leads to better jobs, better jobs leads to less crime and healthier communities. We need to change our tax policy to make sure we make the investments today to get us ready for a more prosperous future.

My DFA Values

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My Campaign is People Powered!

I am a DFA success story. I attended DFA's training back in 2006 with my campaign manager and we ran the campaign straight out of the book. I know we are running a people-powered campaign because I have a large number of individual small-dollar donors at this early stage of the race. I am committed to having a people-powered campaign that will continue to work with young people, seniors, students and progressives throughout the East Bay, particularly those who have not been involved in electoral politics in the past. They will help us collect signatures in lieu of paying filing fee, and provide the street heat necessary to mobilize our voters by knocking on doors and phone banking.

Voice support


  • Christina Burton, CA
  • Gladys Soto, CA
  • Ces Rosales, CA
  • Matt Lockshin, CA
  • Vincent Casalaina, CA
  • Susan Rowe, CA
  • Abel Guillen, CA
  • Jennifer (jenna) austin Wadsworth, NC
  • Devin Lavelle, CA

About the Endorsement Process

The driving force behind all DFA endorsements is our members. We recognize that all politics is local and that what is considered progressive in Los Angeles may be very different from what's considered progressive in Louisville. For this reason, DFA does not have a litmus test of specific progressive positions for which a candidate must stand. Our endorsement is heavily weighted based on these questions:

• Will the candidate move the progressive movement forward in their community?
• Does the candidate have substantial support from our local members?
• Do the candidate's positions and policies fit into the broader progressive movement?
• Is the campaign people-powered and the candidate working to win?

If you have questions, or want to let us know about a candidate in your neighborhood, please call us at (802) 651-3200 or email us at [email protected] .

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