Who am I?

I first got my feet wet in politics with the Howard Dean for President campaign, which in many ways became the model for grassroots candidates utilizing social networks and low-dollar donations to bring their message to voters. The idea that a campaign need not be top heavy and could effectively promote common sense values like social, economic and environmental justice through grassroots organizing are what inspired me to transition from the film and television industry into a career as a community organizer and government staffer.
I am a lifelong Democrat who has worked closely with local Democratic organizations and elected officials to advocate for progressive legislation and policy. As a member of the Legislation Committee of the California Democratic Party, and Political Action Chair of the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley, I have championed public financing of state political campaigns, improved funding transparency for state initiative campaign committees, passage of humane immigration policies, and preserving Social Security and Medicare benefits.
I have dedicated my professional career to public service in the San Fernando Valley, finding solutions for constituents in the Offices of Councilmember Paul Krekorian, Assemblymember Mike Feuer, and State Senator Jack Scott. For the past three years I have served as Councilmember Krekorian's District Director, managing a diverse array of issues including oversight of public works projects, small business assistance, school safety, and neighborhood beautification. As a member of the Councilmember’s senior staff I have contributed to the development of public policy on issues including bike infrastructure, small business assistance, homelessness, open space protection, and water quality.
As a Senior Field Representative to Assemblymember Feuer, I served as the lead staffer on the Assembly Select Committee on Improving State Government, a bi-partisan effort to reform California's budget process, oversight regimen, initiative system, state/local government interaction, and legislative organization. I researched and drafted legislation on topics including limiting gifts to physicians from pharmaceutical companies, regulating products containing nanomaterials to protect environmental health and safety, and promoting affordable housing while protecting neighborhood specific plans.
On Senator Scott’s staff I assisted with legislation allowing Cal State Northridge to introduce the first ever Doctorate in Education in the Cal State system, and allowing school principals greater discretion in hiring teachers to open positions. I also created a traveling California Initiatives Presentation for high school government classes throughout San Fernando Valley. This project engaged and educated students about to vote for the first time regarding subjects like the California budget deficit, the Prop 98 education funding guarantee, marriage equality and bond financing.
I am a longtime resident of the West San Fernando Valley, and live with Blair, my wife of 10 years and a Taft High School alumni who is now a middle school teacher-librarian. We have two daughters, who attend an LAUSD elementary school and a Valley preschool.

Why am I running?

I'm running to represent the 45th Assembly District because, having been an activist and worked for elected officials at both the state and local levels, I believe strongly in the ability of skilled public servants to improve the lives of their constituents. The legislature should be a place for forward-thinking leadership that anticipates the current needs of our state and finds ways to build the infrastructure and policy solutions of tomorrow. I want to take my experience and progressive values to the legislature to enact policies that will grow our economy, increase voter participation, embrace diversity, renew faith in our government as well as ensure equality and justice for all.

Having been the President of the San Fernando Valley Young Democrats and served on a number of boards and committees at the local and state level of Democratic politics I realize how important it is that we foster the talents of future progressives. Effectively communicating our core Democratic values of compassion, opportunity, responsibility, equality, and stewardship will not only better define our party’s “brand”, but will inspire the next generation of progressive leaders to make the struggle their own. In that vein, I want to leverage my position in the Assembly to continue educating and empowering young people to build a farm team of progressive organizers who will be tomorrow’s candidates, opinion leaders, staff and policy makers.

I grew up as the eldest of four kids in a middle-class family, with parents who valued getting a good education, doing your best, and giving back. I went to public schools and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in theater from UC San Diego. Everything I have today I owe to my family and the opportunities afforded to me growing up in California. I want to make sure those same opportunities are available to my kids and everyone coming of age in our state today.

Today our community and state face new challenges: rebuilding an economy that supports middle-class jobs, educating a 21st century workforce, preserving our natural resources and upgrading our state’s decades-old infrastructure. I believe the Valley can lead the way on all these fronts and guide our state to a more prosperous future. Representing the 45th District, I’ll continue my work as a proven consensus builder with the passion to move us toward a brighter, better California.

My Goals

1) Make sure the Valley gets its fair share of funding for education, infrastructure, transportation, job training, public safety, clean energy, etc.
2) Create pathways to success for the unemployed, graduating students, and working class citizens eager to get ahead.
3) Improve the ability of government to respond to the concerns of everyday citizens by coordinating state/county/local responses, bringing transparency to legislative decision- making, and stepping up oversight of state agencies.

My DFA Values

My top three priorities for the Democratic Party are:
1) To engage, educate and empower young voters to secure Democratic majorities for the next generation.
2) Build a farm team of capable progressive organizers to be tomorrow’s candidates,
staff, and policy makers.
3) Effectively communicating our core Democratic values of compassion, opportunity, responsibility, equality, and stewardship. This will not only better define our party’s “brand”, but will inspire the next generation of progressive leaders to make the struggle their own.
In that vein, I want to leverage my position in the Assembly to continue educating and empowering young people to build a farm team of progressive organizers who will be tomorrow’s candidates, opinion leaders, staff and policy makers.

My Campaign is People Powered!

My kitchen cabinet of advisors is made up entirely of either Young Dems, alumni of San Fernando Valley Young Democrats or active board members. My campaign manager is former SDFYD President and current New Media Director, Jesse M. Switzer, and he is currently in the process of finding young interns for the campaign.
Additionally, I met one of our main volunteers, Emily Weisberg, during the first week I began volunteering for Howard Dean's campaign for President. For the next two years, we worked side by side and her commitment, and belief in, a strong grassroots campaign remains as strong as it was then.
We are constantly looking for like-minded young progressives who can join and help us continue to embody this idea of a people-powered campaign.

Voice support

Supporters:

  • Erick Byarushengo
  • Stephano Medina
  • Michelle Elmer
  • Alissa Ko, CA
  • Heather O'Connor
  • Susan Rowe, CA
  • Dante Atkins, CA
  • Felicia Gomez Verdin
  • Rebecca Saltzman, CA
  • Mike Young


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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