Assembly District 56

District

BallotName

EBoard(*)

SelfIdentifiedFemale (SIF) OtherthanSIF (OSIF)

56 Erin Teran * SIF
56 Christopher Cardona No OSIF
56 Paulina Angel No SIF
56 Edward Holzhauer No OSIF
56 Tomas Oliva No OSIF
56 Frank Salazar No OSIF
56 Ramon Castro No OSIF
56 Ruben Perez No OSIF
56 Kevin M Turman * OSIF
56 Ruth Duarte * SIF
56 Kimberly Miranda No SIF
56 Katia Lopez No SIF
56 Christian Billson No OSIF
56 Natalia Gonzalez * SIF
56 Alexis Galarza No OSIF
56 Yurii A. Camacho No SIF
56 Kimberly Barraza No SIF
56 Haydee Rodriguez No SIF
56 Adonis Galarza-Toledo No OSIF
56 Jacqueline Marie López  * SIF
56 Megan Beaman Jacinto * SIF
56 Claudia Lua Alvarado No SIF
56 Yurema J. Arvizu  No SIF
56 Isauro Meza-Rendon No OSIF
56 Frank Figueroa No OSIF
56 Lesly Figueroa No SIF
56 Yosmin Gomez Nunez No SIF
56 Paula J. Marvin  No SIF

Candidate Statements

My name is Erin Teran, and I have worked as a Registered Nurse caring for Covid-19 patients throughout the pandemic in both Riverside and Imperial Counties. I was born and raised in the Coachella Valley, and most recently ran for office in the City of Indio. I am a lifelong Democrat, however, in 2016, after the presidential elections, I made it my mission to participate more actively in the decision making process, and to find ways to have a strong voice in our community.

From 2017-2019, I served as Programs Chair then President for Democratic Women of the Desert, raising money for democratic candidates and scholarship fund. In the last several years, I have worked on several local democratic campaigns, including my own and also worked hard on Get Out the Vote efforts. I volunteered for several years as a Union Nurse Representative for California Nurses Association, and fought on the strike lines for safe working conditions, fair wages, and PPE for nurses in Southern California. In 2020, I formed an alliance called, We Are Indio, in order to focus on important issues in our city and to bring our community together. In June of this past year, we held a vigil in honor of Black Lives lost to police brutality. My plan for the upcoming year, is to continue working on the front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic in both El Centro and Indio. I also plan to serve on the board of Democrats of the Desert, continue serving as Commissioner of the Citizens Finance Commission for the City of Indio, and hope to be reelected as a Delegate and to be newly elected as E-Board Representative for the 56th District of the California Democratic Party.

If elected, I plan to serve our District with compassion and integrity. I plan on forming alliances across our District to strengthen the relationships within our Party.

Erin Teran

It has been my honor to establish the Human Rights Committee in Desert Hot Springs and join the ranks of prestigious faculty members of the Imperial Valley College. Being an active participant in politics and a source of influence in the Coachella Valley and the Imperial Valley makes me uniquely qualified to represent my fellow Democrats of this District.

As an instructor, I see the importance of quality education and will work to represent the CTA, IVC, all students, faculty, staff, and administration throughout our District.

As a member of the LGBT Community, I believe in representing and promoting diversity for our District.

My family is a blend of immigrants from all over the globe, including Mexico and Europe. This gives me a distinct perspective and respect for those who come to the USA seeking a better life, refuge, and/or asylum.

In the recent past, I have had the privilege to work with Indio City Council candidates to raise hundreds of dollars for local nurses. I have been honored to meet with our esteemed Assemblymember to discuss topics related to Deaf Culture and Awareness. After having met with various Council members, cities across Imperial and Coachella Valley have adopted Proclamations recognizing Deaf Awareness Month and LGBT History Month. I led a team of volunteers to raise thousands of dollars for the local School for the Deaf, just this past Fall. I believe in a progressive platform, while remaining loyal to the roots of our beloved Democratic Party.

In short, I am honored to be a candidate and should you choose to elect me, I will represent each area of our District with honor, respect, and loyalty; working with and for everyone across our District and within our Party.

Christopher Cardona

Hi, My name is Paulina Angel, I’m 4th generation Coachella Valley native born and raised in the City of Indio, attending both Indio Middle & High School. I’ve been involved in advocacy and politics since high school as a member of the Youth Advisory Council for the City of Indio, as well as the Youth Task Force for the Indio Police Department.

In 2008, I’ve became involved with the advocacy/governance student-run organization Student Senate for California Community Colleges of which I’ve served two terms as Senator, representing 2.9+ Million Students in higher education in Sacramento. I’ve worked on creating change for LGBTQ+ Students, and worked with the office of then Gov. Brown on the passage of SB48: FAIR Education Act, and composed a student resolution that would be a precursor for AB1266: School Success and Opportunity Act, I’ve also lobbied for support for AB540: Dream Act in Sacramento, as well as making sure higher education continues to be well funded.

Today, I’m director of Trans Community Project, serving the Trans & Queer Community both here in the Coachella Valley and Nationwide, Serve as the first Female, Trans, and Millennial board member for Palm Springs Pride, serve on the advisory board for the East Coachella Valley Pride, and Soteria Safe Space organization in Los Angeles.

My work has led me to work alongside Goldenvoice as part of the Every One Initiative, providing safe space for concert goers at Coachella & Stage Coach, as well as representing the Riverside County to the California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network for the #Out4MentalHealth initiative. My story was documented in the first ever transgender textbook for colleges/universities, Introduction to Transgender Studies.

As your delegate, I will do my best to represent our humble district, to vote with the concerns and feelings of my constituents at heart. I believe that we need to continue moving our country forward into the future, to continue fighting and establishing rights for all and to live in a world of equality. I would be honored to represent my district and hope I can count on your vote and support, and looking forward to working for the people.

Paulina Angel

My name is Ruben Perez and I serve as the first millennial ever elected to the College of the Desert Board of Trustees, representing the Eastern Coachella Valley, as well as the youngest person to ever to serve on the board. I also serve as the youngest person at my position nationwide. With the trust you have placed upon us, we have spearheaded some of the most innovative programs and policies in the nation such as expanding access to free education, bridging the digital divide, producing and providing PPE during the pandemic and providing relief to those that were not awarded CARES dollars.

2 years ago with your support we were successfully elected as delegate and we pushed for the most progressive policies the 56th Assembly District has ever seen and pushed the most progressive California Democratic Party platform ever. It is my honor and passion to serve, and there is a lot of work to do, families are losing loved ones, small businesses are struggling to make ends meet and our healthcare system is impacted, but with your support we can build our community in the 56th District back up and keep building on the progress we have made.

I ask for your vote of confidence once again.

Ruben Perez

A transplanted retiree from the Midwest, I am enjoying my California life. I am a seasoned Democrat who was proud to vote for George McGovern for President just after my 18th birthday. I obtained my Bachelors in American Government from Harvard College in 1977 and upon graduating from seminary in 1980, began working with Dr W A. Jones, President of the Progressive Baptists, the community to which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. belonged. Working there opened my eyes to the role the church can and must play in building a just and equitable society.
From 1988 to 2018, as pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Detroit, I led our involvement in efforts such as civil rights for immigrants; civilian oversight and supervision of our police department; securing affordable quality health care; increased funding for social supports in neglected neighborhoods and support for adequate funding for public education. We partnered with others to multiply our combined voice and impact.
My community activism led me to the Gamaliel Foundation, the community organizing effort which gave Barak Obama his start. I was later elected the president of the Gamaliel community in metropolitan Detroit, and was subsequently elected the president of the Gamaliel Council of Presidents.
During my years with Gamaliel, I learned to build and to wield the power of community, which is organized money and/or organized people, to influence change in leaders or leadership. These are still the tools which Democrats can utilize to effect change in California. This is why I joined the Democrats of the Desert.
As a retired officer of the US Navy, I know how to lead and how to follow the leadership of others. I am willing to do either. I believe in majority rule and minority rights, and that responsibilities attach to both of those communities. I believe in the value of vigorous debate; the marketplace of ideas; the ability to disagree without becoming disagreeable, and the confidence that “we” is smarter, stronger and more capable than “I”.
I am concerned by the undemocratic direction our nation is taking and want to help chart a better path. Ours is a time when tweets, posts and memes often replace personal connection, conversation, and community. California Democrats can create a new standard for community-building that can inform and inspire others. I want to be a part of that effort.

Kevin M Turman

My name is Ruth V. Duarte. I was born and raise in the Imperial Valley. I lived most of my childhood life in Calexico. I currently live in Brawley. I want to be your Democratic representative because I believe that we are currently lacking good & strong representation.

I currently work as a Business Agent for Teamsters Union Local 542. I represent over 1200 members in the Imperial Valley and Blythe. Mostly workers in the Public Sector. I have always been involved in politics. I ran for the Calexico School Board and succeeded in winning the seat for a 4-year term. I did not run another term since I moved out of the city of Calexico. I was a ADEM member in 2017.

Having been born and raised in the Imperial Valley and representing workers, I am well versed on many of the events/issues that happen here locally. I would also like to be involved in the Coachella Valley since we share the same issues. Low wages, unhealthy living conditions and the political views if the IID, County of Imperial and the Salton Sea.

If you elect me to be your representative, I will do all I can to listen to all sides and make my decision based on the good of the people. I am not one to shy away from making the tough decisions if it will make a difference for the good. I don’t owe anything to politicians, farmers or businesses so I do not side with anyone but my own conscience and integrity.

I humbly ask for your support and vote for Ruth V. Duarte. You can count on Ruth for the Truth.

Thank you!

Ruth V. Duarte

I have been a lifelong resident of the Coachella Valley and have become familiar with the Imperial Valley. I know the issues our community faces, which is why I am running for AD56 Delegate to be a voice for all in this district.

As a District Representative for Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia since 2017, I have had the opportunity to connect and engage with constituents of this district. The most important thing I’ve learned is that change comes about with active engagement. That is why for the past two years, I have been serving as the Chair of the Riverside County Young Democrats and as the Pacific Regional Director for Young Democrats of America – Hispanic Latinx Caucus. I am currently attending the University of California – Riverside and am seeking a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. After which, I plan to continue focusing on a future in politics and economics in the public sector.

I have the experience, passion, and commitment to continue being an advocate for the constituents of the AD56. I would be honored to receive your vote.

Kimberly Miranda

My name is Katia Lopez and I am running for re-election for the California State Assembly delegate position for the 56th Assembly District. Upon graduating from the University of California, Irvine where I earned a Bachelor of Art’s in Anthropology and Political Science, I returned to the great Coachella Valley where I began working as a Health Navigator for Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo, a local federally qualified health center helping folks enroll in affordable and accessible healthcare plans. In addition to helping our Eastern Coachella Valley residents navigate the complex health system, I would also connect folks to other social services available to them.

Today, I am working as a Health Services Assistant better known as a Contact Tracer/Interviewer for Riverside County Public Health. Everyday, I listen to the experiences of people being directly affected by Coronavirus. I hear the stories of these individuals struggling to pay rent and buy food to feed their families. It pleases me to inform them on the resources they desperately need.

I am a proud public servant and grateful to be in a position where I can help people and act as a guiding hand. I want to continue to take into account the stories I have heard throughout the years in my line of work and continue to further make the voices of our 56th Assembly District heard. It would be an honor to represent our beautiful district for two more years.

Katia Lopez

In the spring of 2019, I was studying the oceans and climate on the G.I. Bill, with the intention pursuing an academic and scientific career. But the 2020 election was looming, and in good conscience I could not sit the election out. The occupant of the White House absolutely had to go, and with my previous experience in working for campaigns, I felt that I could be of service to our party.

For the past year-and-a-half, as an organizer for two presidential campaigns, I have recruited and trained over 3,000 campaign volunteers. I have given countless presentations and hosted hundreds of phonebanks and textbanks. In the process, not only were we able to make almost 5 million voter contacts, but I personally learned so much more about the area that we live in and its residents. We have a tremendous capacity for service when inspired to achieve a noble goal.

Since November 4th, I was recruited by the Democratic Party of Georgia to work as a regional coordinator for their voter protection team. In this work, I have really come to know how many ways the vote can be suppressed through administrative means. We are working diligently, person by person, to make sure that every vote is counted.

Now that I’m approaching two years on the campaign trail, I am searching for my next challenge. Since leaving school, I have learned that I have a tremendous ability when it comes to grassroots organizing. I also feel that I am called to service at a time that is so pivotal in the history of mankind.

I am running for delegate because I believe I can provide a perspective that helps guide our party into the future, with the idea that all policies should be viewed through the lenses of climate change and justice for all people. I believe there are immediate solutions to problems of inequality that will have lasting, long-term positive effects on the climate. We need a driving force like myself to see a platform and future legislation that reflects our urgent need for these solutions.

As for my employment history, I have worked in corporate America, run two small businesses, one tour in the U.S. Coast Guard, and have volunteered many thousands of hours to a variety of projects. I have now worked on five campaigns, and I frankly live and breathe politics.

I hope you will come visit and message me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christian.billson

Christian Billson

Hello, my name is Natalia Gonzalez. I was born and raised in the Eastern Coachella Valley, and I currently live in Thermal. I am 22 years old and recently graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles. I graduated with a degree in Political Science and Chicano and Chicana Studies. Growing up, I knew that I wanted to go to college and come back to my community to help and be a voice for those who do not have one—seeing the daily struggles in my community have inspired me to want to make a difference. I realize that many people in my community live in substandard living conditions, have a hard time putting food on their table, and do not have access to health care while providing food for the nation’s tables. These everyday obstacles that people in my community face remind me of the social responsibility that we have to better the lives of those around us and make the world a better place.

I kindly ask that you allow me to serve as one of your delegates for the 56th Assembly District. If I am allowed to serve you, I promise to communicate and work with other delegates to ensure that our duties are fulfilled.

I humbly ask for your support and please vote for Natalia Gonzalez this election.

Natalia Gonzalez

The past 2 years, I have had the great honor of being part of your collective voice as a delegate for Assembly District 56. As a dedicated public-school educator and passionate union leader, I promise to continue to advocate for our students, our schools, and our communities. These are unprecedented times for all of us, and I have first-hand experienced the trauma that this pandemic has caused in not only my students’ homes and families, but also in my very own home with my own family when I lost my mother to Covid-19 in June 2020. Since that day, I have taken an even greater charge to secure the safety of all our students, the staff and faculty in our public schools, and their families as we begin to reopen our schools. I also understand the importance to continue to provide our students with a quality education whether it be in a distance learning, in-person, or hybrid setting; however, as a classroom teacher, I also understand the importance in making sure that we have actual input from our classroom teachers, school counselors and nurses as well as providing them with the necessary resources to continue to meet our students’ academic needs while also keeping them safe from any harm or illness.

I have 15 years of teaching experience in grades K-12 and a proud member of the California Teachers Association (CTA). If re-elected as your representative, I will continue to be your voice in advocating for the overall well-being of all of our students as well as their communities, and for our public schools to engage in a safe reopening.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Yurii A. Camacho

My name is Kimberly Barraza and I’d be honored to receive your vote to continue serving as a delegate for the 56th Assembly District at the CA Democratic Party level. I am a lifelong resident of this district. I grew up in Imperial County, where my family still resides. Soon after graduating high school, I moved to the Coachella Valley. As a young professional, working mother, and an active member of our community, I understand the needs of our constituents and am well prepared to advocate for our region, which stretches from parts of the Coachella Valley, Blythe area, and down to the Mexican border in Imperial County.

I have worked for Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia as a District Representative since 2014. In this capacity, I have been able to work primarily as the liaison between constituents and the Assemblymember, identifying problems that can be solved through the legislative process. I am proud to have worked in securing $1 million from the State Budget for Palo Verde College’s Early Childhood Development Center and led Census outreach and education work within the 56 Assembly District. Additionally, I serve the City of Indio as a Community Services Commissioner, whose role includes oversight of park, recreational facilities, and city-ran programs.

I am well versed on the issues that our region faces and understand that change comes about with active engagement and by having a seat at the table. Thus, I continuously seek opportunities to serve. I uphold and understand our democratic values and processes. I have the experience and passion to continue being an advocate for the constituents of the 56 AD. Thank you for your support to have me join other Democratic leaders in working hard to make California a better place to live –from fighting for good-paying jobs, combating climate change, to expanding healthcare access so all Californians can lead safe, healthy, prosperous lives.

Kimberly Barraza

It will be my privilege and honor to serve as your delegate for the California Democratic Party. I am a lifelong Democratic, homegrown resident of Indio, and I have remained constant in my commitment to turning our state blue. I currently serve on the Desert Stonewall Democratic Club’s steering committee and a member of Democrats of the Desert.

I have dedicated my life to public service working for the 56th Assembly District and most recently for Congressman Raul Ruiz, 36th Congressional District. I have devoted my time and have over a decade of campaign experience in helping deliver many victories for democrats at the local, state and federal elected offices.

We need strong and dedicated delegates that will be unafraid to make the necessary changes which will strengthen and unite our party. It’s time for our Democratic Party to work with new, fearless, smart leaders that are ready to roll up their sleeves, rebuild, and work together for a stronger democracy.

Jacqueline Marie Lopez

I am a civil rights attorney, small business-owner, and mother of two small children. I come from a humble rural upbringing where I learned the value of hard work and education from my family of agricultural and factory workers. My journey to becoming a civil rights lawyer started from a recognition of injustices facing my family and others and our relative powerlessness to address them.

As an advocate and attorney, I have always committed myself to the community, focusing the bulk of my work on representation of low-wage and immigrant workers, especially farmworkers. I advocate tirelessly against big opponents like government entities, employers, and water providers. In all those efforts, my upbringing and experiences foster results such as improved water and housing; workplace fairness and dignity; voter equity; immigrant rights; and more. As a Coachella Councilmember since 2018, I use that same approach to stand up for our residents’ critical needs, even in the face of political opposition, and I have worked hard to reach consensus on improved policies that will create and preserve affordable housing, protect the undocumented, and provide relief for residents and businesses hit hard by the pandemic.

The past four years of national politics combined with my two years in elected office have highlighted to me the importance of independent leadership everywhere, including within the Democratic Party. We can no longer afford to be passive in our choices. We need to count on party leaders that have the skills and values to remain focused and committed to the wellbeing of our District, unafraid to make difficult decisions, and uninfluenced by other forces. This is the approach I will bring as a delegate. I will strongly and independently advocate to ensure that we are properly heard, and that party leadership is ethical and transparent. I will remain unattached from outside influences and committed to standing up for what is best for our communities and electorate, even when political forces insist otherwise. And, I will strengthen existing relationships and create new ones inside the district, as well as around the state, to facilitate consensus on the issues and policies that matter to our communities.

You can count on me to do what is right and what is needed for you and for our communities. I hope to count on your vote.

Megan Beaman Jacinto

My name is Claudia Lua Alvarado and I am a mother, community advocate, and small business owner in the Coachella Valley, California. My involvement in local advocacy efforts, such as a successful movement to improve park lighting in Coachella, has shown me the importance of political representation for our communities. More now than ever, we need party representatives who are willing to actively engage in building our party leadership in the upcoming elections and beyond. My abilities to connect, drive, empathize, and communicate have always been strong, and have allowed me to grow as a leader able to achieve results for our community. I also recognize the struggles facing families like mine and others who have for too long felt left out of local politics and party politics, pushed aside by outside influences. We have to take a greater role in our communities and our party to ensure the independent leadership that we need, and that is what I aim to do as delegate. I am grateful for this opportunity and hope to have your support so that we can work on our party’s future together.

Claudia Lua Alvarado

The concept of injustice was embedded in me at a young age. No words needed to be spoken, but the actions of the people in the world around me spoke for themselves. I have witnessed the disparities of the treatment of folks due to their appearance, sexual orientation, cultural background and it sparked a sense of responsibility in me. I was shown that not everyone was treated equally, no matter how good you were, or how hard you worked. I am the oldest and only daughter of parents of Mexican descent. I have had the privilege to be the first of many things in my family – from graduating high school to becoming a college graduate. I understand the hardships of being raised in a single-parent home, being a first-generation student, a woman of color; however, I also accept the privileges that come from the sacrifices made by those before me. My life experience has provided me with a distinct perspective, one that allows me to understand the complexities in the society we live in from all angles. Now, as a political science and public policy scholar, I want to accurately represent the democratic party and our district to give the people of AD56 the voice they deserve.

I have lived in the Coachella Valley for the entirety of my life. I understand the issues that affect our beautiful community and have the experience to bring forward worthy solutions. I’ve been a community advocate since the age of 16. My work with Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest as a Youth Promotorx, and now Adult Promotorx inspired a career in policy work. I have had the honor to participate in lobby work at the Capitol in Sacramento, and represent the organization in support of AB329, the CA Healthy Youth Act. I have been actively participating in local, state, and federal campaign work to ensure we always have the best representation possible. Misrepresentation leads to voices being left unheard; and more often than not, it affects marginalized communities the most.

I am throwing my hat in the ring as a candidate because our district deserves a candidate who understands and listens to the concerns of the community. I offer you my honesty, commitment, and passion for public service. As an advocate for change, I commit to listen and advocate for every member of AB56 if given the opportunity. In unity, we will thrive

Pronouns: She/her

Yurema J. Arvizu

Dear District Constituent,

My name is Isauro Meza and I am honored to submit my statement of candidacy to continue serving as your district delegate. As a public servant, I have been able to learn, deliver, and continue fighting for our community. We have been through countless hardships during the past presidency and with the Covid-19 crisis- tough days remain ahead. That’s why it is vital to elect delegates that grew up in our own community and know what is currently working and failing our people. We need leaders that will work as a team to strengthen our local relationships, efforts, and put the people first. We need a team that has the best interest at heart for our most vulnerable neighbors and families.

My years of experience as a government relations organizer, delegate, and as a local community member along with my UCLA Sociology Degree, will help me find solutions to the social conflicts we face. As your delegate, I will continue to stand up to expand our human rights for health care, education, housing, immigration, equality, a greener future, and so much more. Now more than ever, we need representation that will lift those that need our help the most.

Thank you for your continued support and for allowing me to serve at this greater capacity. I hope to earn your vote of confidence to continue working together and ensure a brighter future for all.

Sincerely,

Isauro Meza

56th Assembly District Delegate

Isauro Meza

My name is Lesly Figueroa and I am an East Valley community and policy advocate. I fight for policies in the Eastern Coachella Valley that advance affordable housing, equitable planning practices, government accountability, and access to safe, clean drinking water.

Inspired by my family’s values and hard work, I attended UC San Diego as a first-generation Latina where I received an Urban Studies and Planning degree and served various leadership roles before returning to my hometown in Coachella.

I have committed to civic engagement since a young age, and I continue that work in the Eastern Coachella Valley through community organizing and equitable community planning. My upbringing and dedication to my community work has prepared me to be bold and always be open to change. I believe it’s critical we continue to build power across generations that work on repairing the issues of the past and uplifts new ideas. In these times, we need people who are willing to work collaboratively and creatively — for all of us.

As a broader community, we have come a long way and every day we must fight to ensure our communities regardless of geography, income, race, sexual orientation or gender identity can have a brighter and stronger future. I would be honored to win your vote this year to ensure we do right by our neighbors and begin building a future that preserves our democracy, fights for the working class, and advances progressive values in our society.

I strongly believe that democracy means power to people and we must continue organizing to ensure progressive voices and stances are heard, valued, and carried forward. Thank you and I humbly ask for your support and vote for Lesly Figueroa.

Lesly Figueroa

Hi, fellow citizens! Please vote for me-mother, teacher, local Union site representative, and advocate. To fight for social, labor, and economic justice movements. To fight for you, our students, our nurses, our teachers, our families, our community, our Assembly District, and our state.

For a healthcare system that works for all. To promote and advance the Party’s platform and agenda with you in mind. To make a difference for the working class and those unheard voices that are marginalized.

Paula J. Marvin