Assembly District 23




SelfIdentifiedFemale (SIF) OtherthanSIF (OSIF)

23 Ricardo Franco * OSIF
23 Armando David Aragon III No OSIF
23 Chris Berzac No OSIF
23 Dillon Savory No OSIF
23 Alexandros Acedo No OSIF
23 Emily S Brandt No SIF
23 James Kratzer * OSIF
23 Norma A Fausone No SIF
23 Destiny Rodriguez No SIF
23 Alexandria Benn No SIF
23 Andrew Shannon No OSIF
23 Paulina Miranda * SIF
23 Doyle Brian Bobbitt No OSIF
23 Noha Elbaz No SIF
23 Dorothy “Dottie” Smith * SIF
23 Michael McKneely No OSIF
23 Patty Cappelluti No SIF
23 Pablo Villagrana No OSIF
23 Norma Villagrana No SIF
23 Vania Adina Gonzalez No SIF
23 Karen Castanon No SIF
23 Krista De La Torre No SIF
23 Isaac Gudino No OSIF
23 Janet Miller No SIF
23 Margaret A Grant No SIF
23 Cesilia Acevedo No SIF
23 Porfirio J Saenz III No OSIF
23 Bobby Bliatout * OSIF
23 Mickey Chacon * OSIF
23 Camile Williams No SIF
23 Steven M Williams No OSIF

Candidate Statements

I have been honored to serve as your Assembly District Delegate in the last cycle and am running for re-election to continue serving as a voice for working-class people in the district. The last election cycle made it clear that the voters of Fresno County, City of Fresno and California as a whole want to see a Democratic party that returns to its roots in supporting a progressive agenda. The Covid crisis has made it clear that economic inequality along with climate change is an existential threat to our country. If you did not support Medicare for All before the pandemic, the time is now. If you didn’t realize how important a guaranteed income was to certain populations before the pandemic, the time is now. As an Executive Board memeber to the California Democratic Party Progressive Caucus I have been honored to hold our own party accountable to its values and champion and promote candidates and party leaders that will help us get there. We need to continue to push forward with bold ideas, fresh faces and have the strength to say, “Yes, we can get it done” rather than settle for the status quo. It has truly been rewarding work serving our district and I would be honored to have your vote for reelection to continue on the progress we have made!

Ricardo J Franco

HelIo my name is Armando David Aragon III and I am running to become a delegate for AD 22. My journey has taken me from the farm fields to the packing house. From my past experiences while working in Agriculture I became a USDA Statistics Enumerator working with local growers throughout our Central Valley. My journey now has brought me to become a local small business owner in our essential trucking industry for over 7 years, assisting with the demands to feed and cloth our beloved country. Through my entrepreneurship my company has not just employed a diverse and stellar group of individuals but has blessed me with the capabilities to pay it forward to contribute to organizations such as Wreaths Across America, Veterans Day Parade, Wounded Warriors, Hole In The Wall Gang, and local non profit organizations to assist with awareness in racial injustices and community outreach events. Through the challenges along my journey I’ve learned to adapt to the circumstances dealt and become actively engaged in order to be successful not just for myself but for the individuals which work along side me. With these skills gained, I know if selected to become a delegate my representation will be definitely inclusive for all. With the abilities to connect, be team oriented, empathize, and communicate with people on all levels, I’ve become experienced in negotiations and the closing of them. Finally, your support will be greatly valued and honored. Thank you once again for your time and blessings to you and your family.

Armando David Aragon III

I am running for office to enact change in the system. I hope to make things better for everyone.

Chris Berzac

My name is Alexandros Acedo, and I am running as a Democratic candidate in Assembly District 23 because I have an inclusive and humane vision of what I would like the Democratic Party to embrace. I am a publicly educated millennial with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UC Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Education from San Francisco State University, but more importantly, I am a hard working member of society, husband, and father of two young children. Over the years, I have had myriad job titles, including babysitter, security monitor, mental health counselor, retail salesman, industrial painter, and finally, educator; I currently teach social studies at a Fresno area public charter school that serves primarily at-risk youth. It is a humbling and humanizing job that has opened my eyes to the gamut of challenges facing so many families in the greater Fresno community. The strength, resilience, and hope of the youth that I work with, and their families, along with the pressing needs of so many others in Fresno, and across our nation, have inspired me to step up my commitment to them, and represent those interests on a higher political field. My immigrant mother (from Greece) and Mexican American father raised me and my older brother with the values of hard honest work, universal human dignity, educational excellence, human equity, and stewardship of the earth. The wisdom and integrity of the aforementioned experiences and values will be summoned in my decision making as candidate in California’s 23rd Assembly District. Thank you, and God bless us all.

Alexandros Acedo

Fresno became my new home in 1979; I was 28 years old, a new wife and mother. I grew up in Hartford, CT where I attended public schools. In 1968, my father took a position in Pittsburgh, PA.

Upon graduation in 1969, I went on to Ohio University, in Athens, OH, 200 miles south of Kent, OH where in the Spring of 1970, the Kent State University Shootings took place. We were active in similar anti-war protests that led to the closing of the university and an early end to the trimester. It was an intense period. By the Fall of 1970, I was attending the University of Pittsburgh where I continued until the Winter of 1971.

Having lived abroad as a child due to my father’s work, I spent a couple of years working abroad on the economy that give me insight into how a more socialized world works and what it’s like to be an immigrant abroad. It helped me form different perspectives on unions, healthcare and education than I might otherwise have. I also understand what it’s like to need a green card and to fully master another language.

Teaching high school students for 27 years has given me a deeper insight into the lives of people in Fresno. My high school in Hartford, CT was a very large urban, within a very strong African American, Cuban and Puerto Rican community, of 4,000 students. School can be a very unforgiving setting for young minds and hearts and the present conditions are even far less forgiving and supportive than usual increasing the level of hardship beyond what most of us could have imagined. We cannot ignore these impacts.

I retired on June 9th, 2018 from 27 years of teaching English; since then, I’ve been advocating for removing RoundUp and other dangerous pesticides from school use by FUSD; engaged with other air quality experts to get air sensors on every school campus and to educate families on the importance to their health and that of their children; and finally, researching the Restorative Practices Program to determine how the program can become more effective. Since my retirement, I’ve been actively engaged in the Democratic Primaries supporting true progressive candidates and in advocating for progressive propositions and have taken part in various City Planning meetings and being involved with other important community issues.

Some of you may remember me from the previous ADEM Elections.

Emily Brandt

Hello fellow Democrats, I am excited to submit my application for delegate to Assembly District 31. I am a longtime Fresno resident and I have been a strong advocate for the communities of the Central Valley for the last fifteen years within the non-profit sector. Over the last fifteen years I have advocated for cleaner air quality, healthcare, and environmental justice in the Central Valley. I fight for climate equity and climate justice. I am a graduate of the 2020 Emerge California class and currently serve on the Measure C Citizen’s Oversight Committee. As a member of the Citizen’s Oversight Committee my responsibility is to ensure Measure C funds are spent as promised to the public for Fresno County’s transportation needs. In my current role as Regional Community Relations for The Climate Center, I am responsible for building support for strategic policy objectives from volunteers, policymakers and allied organizations while designing and implementing local strategies to further community choice energy and renewable energy programs for the Fresno area. In my spare time I serve as a planning member for Earth Day Fresno, the Sanger Community Task Force, and Young Fresnans for the Environment. I understand the problems that impact our economy, our environment, and our health in AD31. I believe I can be a great asset to AD31 as a delegate and can carry out the duties in a responsible and professional manner. If selected, your concerns will not be ignored. I will do what I have done for the last 15 years. I will fight for my community and continue to offer solutions. I appreciate your time and consideration. Thank you.

Destiny Rodriguez

As a native of the Central Valley I am running to make sure our voices are heard. Often viewed as the “flyover” portion of California we have diverse views and opinions that need to be heard. I am running to make sure that those views are heard.

Andrew Shannon

My name is Noha Elbaz and I’m running for Assembly District 23 because I believe that as a Party, and as a Country, we can be doing so much more to improve the lives of our people, and our planet.

I have been fortunate in my life to live in and travel to many countries, meeting incredible people along the way. I was born in Egypt to two incredibly hard-working parents. My father, an engineer, and my other, a doctor. My parents instilled in my sister, brother, and me the importance of hard work and caring for each other and for those in our community.

After completing my Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at Columbia University in NYC, I moved to Phoenix, AZ as part of the Teach for America Program where I taught 6th grade in an under-served community. I attained my Masters in Education at Arizona State while spending countless hours serving the school community as a coach and as a mentor to my students.

While I worked hard to give my students the best possible education, what I learned from them and their families was humbling and eye-opening. I saw how hard they worked, struggling to learn the language and to put food on the table. I saw how poverty impacted every part of their lives from the food they could eat to the support they could get.

After my experience in the classroom, I went on to work in Higher Education, continuing to serve traditionally underserved students while completing my MBA. I moved to Clovis in 2013 to lead a local College as its Campus President, working with students to help them graduate and begin their careers. I believe deeply in the power of education to open doors for our students and believe it’s essential that we appropriately fund public education to decrease the achievement gap in our Nation.

I believe government can play a positive role in the well-being of its citizens as is the case in many parts of the world. A government that funds education appropriately; guarantees healthcare for all of its people; and acts responsibly to address our climate crisis, is essential. It’s high time we have candidates in the Party who are consistently working toward these principles.

I hope to earn your vote for Assembly District 23 so that we can work to get the best possible candidates supporting these essential causes.

Noha Elbaz

As a senior at Bullard High School in 1992 I became the first democrat in my family. After 28 years I’m still committed to our party, but I remain the only democrat in the family.

Our party stands for the economic interests of the other 99%, the social and and criminal justice issues of the oppressed, and dignity and integrity in our civic space. There is no reason our party should not continue to grow because our issues are the issues dear to most Californians.

I am a criminal defense attorney by trade, practicing in the state and federal court systems. I represent a mixture of private and indigent clients.

I was raised in Fresno, I have a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University and a law degree from the University of the Pacific-McGeorge School of Law.

I have been a longtime attorney poll monitor volunteer during the presidential elections. I believe criminal justice issues are important to our party’s growth and believe my 20 years of legal experience in the system has enabled me to see how legislative choices impact the littlest among us.

I am married to Karen and together we live with four dogs, a cat, and are loosely associated with several neighborhood squirrels.

Michael McKneely

Hi, my name is Krista De La Torre and I am running as an ADEM delegate to fight for progressive policies and local representatives. As a Fresno native and local organizer, I have an intimate understanding of the economic issues impacting our region — from joblessness to housing costs to poor air quality and health outcomes. People should not have to work 2-3 jobs to sustain themselves and their families, nor go into debt trying to do so. Through my work as an organizer, I want to fight to strengthen our state’s social safety net so everyone can lead a life of dignity.

I am an advocate for a living wage, jobs and housing guarantees, a COVID-relief stimulus, universal childcare and healthcare, student debt forgiveness, robust environmental protections, free public college, and reducing corporate power by allocating money towards public goods. Ultimately, I want to use my position as an AD Delegate to fight for the integrity of working and middle-class people in the Central Valley and across the state.

After graduating from Claremont McKenna College in 2018, I dedicated my time to organizing the field efforts of several Democratic campaigns. As such, I have been able to connect with diverse groups of people in the Central Valley and understand their needs. In my most recent position as a Field Coordinator through CADEM’s Coordinated Campaign, I worked to help elect Democrats up-and-down the ticket and expand the Democratic electorate here in the Fresno area.

Through my work, I am passionate about empowering and mobilizing young people to take on a more active role in our community via organizing. As an AD Delegate, I hope to continue my efforts in youth outreach and engagement. The recent presidential election has politically mobilized scores of young people in Fresno. Upon voting for the first time, many of our youth are eager to become more involved in our community to help make a change but have no idea where to start. It is our duty as Democratic activists to identify, train, and empower this next generation of leaders so they can make a difference. With my commitment and literacy in organizing, I feel confident that I can bring more diverse people into the Democratic Party — and more importantly — represent and promote the true interests of Central Valley residents as an Assembly Delegate to the California Democratic Party.

Krista De La Torre

My name is Isaac Gudino, a proud student, product of the Central Valley, a proud Democrat, and I’m damn proud of what my party accomplished this past November when we united our front and defeated the largest threat to our democracy when we defeated the con-artist that occupied our White House the past 4 years. Though at the same time, I’m disappointed in our losses nationwide and here at home with losing our CA-21 Congressman TJ Cox. With our newfound success from the Presidential election, we as Democrats need to find that same success up and down the ballot, from our school boards all the way to the Senate. I’m a 20-year-old student finishing up at Fresno City College and I’ve committed my young life to the fight of our lifetimes’ starting as an intern for Andrew Janz’s 2018 Congressional Race, working as an organizing fellow for Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 run for the Democratic Nomination, having the privlege to serve as a DNC Delegate to the Democratic National Convention for Sen. Bernie Sanders, and working on the Wisconsin Democratic Party in their joint effort with the Biden for President Team in flipping the state back to blue recently in November. I know what it takes to see our lost causes flip back to blue, it takes hard work on the ground, listening to organizers and activists and what the needs are on the ground and following the lead of the people, not the politicians. We have a heavy task ahead of us, with a slim majority in the House and the Senate remaining in the balance, let’s not dream of a better future, let’s make it a reality. Let’s no longer shy away from the big, bold ideas in which our leaders fear, let’s embrace the change our future generations are demanding of us. Together, we can and WILL defeat Devin Nunes, David Valadao, Tom McClintock, and so many more of these awful representatives who don’t want our interests looked out for. So today I ask for your vote and trust in my judgement, and I promise I will not let you down. AD-23, let’s win this thing.

Isaac R Gudino

I moved to Fresno from the Bay Area in 2013 for a 1-year AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer job, found the Democrats, got involved at the Fresno Central Committee and never left. Growing up in Detroit, birthplace of the UAW, I learned the values and struggles of unions; later, as a union member and shop steward at Unite Here, I understood the chasms between the haves and have nots, require organizing. The Central Valley has sharpened my political involvement and determined work to help shrink those chasms.

As a big-city single-mother of 2 children of color, I learned the pains of working to make ends meet when they didn’t, and the weight of enormous student loan debt to try to improve our lives. Many blue-collar jobs saw us through and taught me empathy. I have served as an elected member of the Fresno County Democratic Central Committee, a board member of several chartered Democratic Clubs, a volunteer and organizer on many national, state and local elections, including co-founding a Fresno presidential campaign office. I hold a BA in English, MAs in Organizational Development and in Special Education, and have built award winning high school-to-college/career transition programs for at-risk and learning challenged youth. I have a year of law school under my belt and am an Emerge CA alumna who has run for office and organized many political events for candidates. My experience and energies for chiseling away at the disparities in resources of jobs and pay, the digital divide, racism, misogyny, the lack of good (or any) healthcare with cruel leaders, the crumbling and melting climate with fires, floods and the death of species at an alarming rate, all inform and point my work toward millennials, Gen Z and my own grandchildren to share our gifts. We must redouble the struggle for a better path for us all.

The pandemic and recent election have magnified the need to grow our Democrat Big Tent values and live them, even remotely. The rural and small towns of our county need our tireless direct advocacy to push, grow and share resources more equitably. The basics of food, shelter, healthcare and human dignity have gotten lost and never were enough. As an ADEM member, I will continue to connect and serve and push.

Janet Miller

My name is Cesilia Acevedo. I am a first-generation college graduate and a proud daughter of Mexican immigrants. As a grassroots organizer in Fresno County, I strive to empower youth and community members to be civically engaged in their communities. As a native of the Central Valley I recognize the how critical it is to mobilize and elevate diverse perspectives and voices at the table when making decisions that impact our lives and community. That is why I will do my best to represent the wide spectrum of people represented throughout our community, from young people to working class families who have been historically ignored. I hope I can count on your vote in the upcoming election. Thank you.

Cesilia Acevedo

As a 15 year member of IBEW 1245, I have worked diligently to represent my local within our community on the Central Labor Council E-Board, volunteering during elections, and working with members of other unions and community organizations. I believe firmly in affordable education, employers paying a living wage, everyone paying their fair share, and public health being strong enough to handle the next COVID. We face many challenges, but can achieve our goals together. Thank you all for your votes in advance.

P.J. Saenz

As a young Chicanx with a long family history in the Chicana/o/x Movement and farmworker organizing, I hope to provide the Democratic Party with more social awareness and accountability. I hope to do this by being a delegate that reaches out to our critical youth vote and help engage them in our party’s efforts. The youth have become leaders in our very own communities and they are critical in helping our party progress. As a youth activist myself (organizing since 2016), I hope to aid our mission to help those in need by channeling the strong front of youth activism and engagement.

Mickey Chacon

My name is Camile Williams. I am a US Army veteran and wife to a retired Marine. We were blessed with seven children. Protecting my children and our communities has always been important to me. This is a reason why I went into the military and nursing. I care for everyone in our community. I am a family nurse practitioner, who works with children and families for the treatment and prevention of child abuse. I believe it is important to advocate for those that do not know how to do it for themselves. I believe we have a duty to advocate with legislators to ensure our community and nation prevails with policies that support the health and lives of future generations. I believe that it is important to lead by example. This is the reason I am running for AD 23 delegate.

Camile Williams

What has happened to our country these past four years isn’t something that can be taken lightly. I have always considered myself a motivated and loyal American who believes in the intricate parts of our democracy. But, what I am witnessing is a breaking down and failing of our most basic and fundamental understanding of why these issues are so important. This is why I am choosing to run as California’s 23rd State Assembly district delegate. As a retired Marine I have seen the over saturation of our troops and the “Rights” continuous use of military power to feed the military industrial complex that has lead to the death of not only countless American troops, but the tens of thousand’s of deaths in countries we occupy all throughout the world. This must stop. Our bloated military budget forgoes the importance of even our must simplistic needs here in America. I believe that we need to keep our focus local that way we can ensure the prosperity of those we know personally. We have to elect official’s that have a more direct responsibility for the needs of our neighbors. From higher minimum wage, to the implementation of universal healthcare to the idea’s like the “Green New Deal” the restructuring of our damaged school systems to the fixing of a police system that no longer connects to the citizens in which they serve. We as citizens have an obligation to our fellow man. Government has a direct liability to its citizens in providing safety nets to the most needy. Government has these obligations because that is what government is for. It is for the betterment of our society as a whole. The preamble of the Constitution states that…

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

I believe that we as Americans must focus on what is important and establish what the preamble is trying to say.

As a progressives and a delegate (if selected) having the chance to at minimum ensure that the individuals we select as Democrats are “actually” representing us as a constituency I believe is a good start in the right direction.

Thank you

Steven M Williams