Assembly District 71




SelfIdentifiedFemale (SIF) OtherthanSIF (OSIF)

71 J. Scott Shaffer No OSIF
71 Kyra R. Greene * SIF
71 Josan Feathers No SIF
71 Peggy Weaver * SIF
71 Tom Lemmon No OSIF
71 Diane S. Gonzalez No SIF
71 Ryan Darsey * OSIF
71 Juan Carlos Mercado * OSIF
71 Michelle Marie Marcotte No SIF
71 Wadad B Dubbelday No SIF
71 Chris Pearson No OSIF
71 Andrea L McNew No SIF
71 Richard Young No OSIF
71 Enrique T. Diaz No OSIF
71 Braulio Sanabria * OSIF
71 Tiffany Maple * SIF
71 Mark A Jones * OSIF
71 J. Eric Hereford No OSIF
71 Malik Thornton No OSIF
71 Suzanne Till No SIF
71 Justin Tyre No OSIF
71 Gerald Green No OSIF
71 Zachary Bunshaft No OSIF
71 Kenya L. Taylor * SIF
71 Edison Gomez-Krauss No OSIF
71 Sanders Fabares No OSIF
71 Linda Mount Nickerson No SIF
71 Yasmeen Obeid No SIF
71 Adiam Haile Rufael No SIF
71 Loralee Rios No SIF
71 William Dudley No OSIF
71 Oday Yousif, Jr. No OSIF
71 Nikolas Slater No OSIF
71 Ilka Weston * SIF
71 Robert Grand No OSIF
71 Estela De Los Rios No SIF
71 Monica Hinton No SIF
71 Pete Beauregard No OSIF

Candidate Statements

*John Scott Shaffer is a member of the U.S. Navy Reserves. Reference to his service does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Navy or D.O.D. *

Hello Assembly District 71 Democrats!

My name is John Scott Shaffer and I am running to be an ADEM this year. I am a reserve naval officer, educator, scientist, and active member of the East County community. I serve as President of the Veterans Democratic Club of San Diego, an elected member of the Spring Valley Community Planning Group, and an appointed commissioner to the San Diego Fish and Wildlife Commission.

I am running for ADEMS because I believe we need to have a progressive and veteran voice at the state level of the Democratic Party. There are three primary areas that I want to advocate as your representative to the state party. First, promoting environmental protections. I have been fighting on our county commission to preserve our natural wildlife and land. We need aggressive action in combating climate change and re-shaping our economy into a green economy. Next, as a graduate of the Naval Academy, I was fortunate to avoid the financial burdens of higher education. As a part-time college teacher, I believe everyone should have tuition-free higher education opportunities and create loan forgiveness programs. Lastly, I believe healthcare is a human right. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the limitations of our current health care system. We need changes to provide care to more people.

In the deep red of East County, the issues I have just described are not unpopular. This pandemic has shown, regardless of political beliefs, there are two California’s: one where people can live unaffected by our challenges and one where people are left behind. We need leaders that are not disconnected from these struggles and can communicate with their communities. I ask for your vote this January for ADEM AD 71 to address these challenges. Only then will we be able to Imagine East County Blue!

John Scott Shaffer

Growing up in Tennessee and Kentucky, I learned first-hand that the government could support working people by building public housing, investing in infrastructure and by respecting the rights of workers to organize and earn a decent wage. I also learned that the government could oppress working people by subsidizing housing segregation, underfunding public schools and restricting meaningful access to democracy. And in the face of it all, I learned that organized people can bend the arc of history and make the world a better place.
That is why I’ve dedicated my life to fighting for social justice. In my life as an educator and now as a nonprofit executive, I have a track record as a fighter for justice, a liberator of information and a bridge builder across issues and communities. For many years, I’ve avoided getting deeply involved with the party because I did not think it was where I could do my best work. But, over the past few years, I’ve become inspired by the grassroots leadership of this party to believe that this is a place where important decisions about the future of this region, this state and therefore this country are made. And I’ve also become convinced that it is a place where my voice can make a difference.
Having lived in East County since 2007, I know that Democrats in East County want dignity, equity and the ability to thrive for themselves, their neighbors, this State and the country. I am committed to making sure our voices are heard in the California Democratic Party.
As a delegate/e-board member I will:
Be an advocate for working families and workers’ rights
Ensure that our party addresses climate change with a focus on environmental justice
Fight to increase access to public and active transit
Work to increase housing affordability and security to combat homelessness
Advocate for fully and equitably funding public education from early childhood to career
Help shape our party platform to be one that speaks to Democrats of today and to young and new Californians
Ensure that the party continues to be a beacon of democracy not only in what it pushes forward but also how it operates itself.
Recruit and support candidates that share our commitment to social, racial and economic justice
To see my video statement go to
Imagine East County Blue!

Kyra R. Greene, PhD

As a Registered Civil Engineer, Josan retired from the State of California with over 30 years of service. She started as a Seasonal Firefighter with California Department of Forestry in 1977 and 1978. Caltrans hired her in 1980 and she attended college at night, receiving her BS in Civil Engineering 11 years later. In 1996 she transferred to CA State Parks and retired in 2009. Josan is still an active member of Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG). She serves on their statewide Political Liaison and FedPAC Committees. Due to her influence, PECG contributes over $3,000 annually to the SD County Democratic Party fundraisers as well as to local candidates.

2002: Became a delegate to the CA State Democratic Convention, and continues to serve.

2002: Became an executive board member for the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club, retiring in 2018.

2006: Elected to San Diego County Democratic Central Committee, and continues to serve.

2008: Served as an elected member of the Valle de Oro Community Planning Group until retiring in 2020.

2006: Began walking an average of 5 precincts each election.

2010: Began participating in the monthly Democratic Party Voter Registration events at the downtown San Diego Naturalization Ceremonies until the pandemic shut them down.

2012: Became the Natural Resource Director for San Diego County League of Women Voters, serving for 4 years.

In addition, she is an active member of the East County Caucus, attending fundraisers and donating to numerous candidates.

Currently, she is a member of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club, East County Democratic Club, Spring Valley-Lemon Grove Democratic Club, and the San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action.

I would appreciate your support to continue to be a delegate to the State Democratic convention.

Josan Feathers

My name is Peggy “Liz” Weaver. My family moved to California when I was 5 years old after my mother was offered a better teaching opportunity here. California embodied the values of the Democratic Party; a commitment to the public good by providing healthcare coverage for children, a robust public education system, and better worker protections. California allowed my single mother to provide a safe home, food, and a quality education for my sister and me.

My experience working in public schools for the last 20 years has shown me that the California I grew up in was one that offered my family better opportunity, but one that still had much work to accomplish. The Democratic Party has helped to move our beautiful state in a better direction and I am honored to have the opportunity to join this work to ensure that all Californians have the resources they need to live safe and healthy lives regardless of their zip code, religion, race, gender, or identity.

I have been a San Diego resident for most of my adult life. In college I heard about East County’s reputation for being racist and close-minded. However, when I began looking for teaching jobs, I substituted in East County schools and fell in love with the students and neighborhoods. I did not see the stereotypes I had heard so much about. When I became a parent myself, I knew that East County was where we would raise our family. We can afford to live here, the schools are great, and there is so much to explore nearby. As a 12 year East County resident, I am proud to be running as a delegate to represent the real East County; one that is diverse, inclusive, and safe.

As a delegate/E-Board Member I will:

Be an advocate for working families and workers’ rights

Ensure that our party addresses climate change with a focus on environmental justice

Fight to increase access to public and active transit

Work to increase housing affordability and security to combat homelessness

Advocate for fully and equitably funding public education from early childhood to career

Help shape our party platform to be one that speaks to Democrats of today and make this a party that continues to speak to young and new Californians

Ensure that the party continues to be a beacon of democracy

Recruit and support candidates that share our commitment to social, racial and economic justice.

Imagine East County Blue!

Peggy "Liz" Weaver

Imagine East County Blue! As a blue-collar worker living in a blue state, I can think of nothing better. For way too long, Republicans have stymied progressive policies in East County—policies that can support our communities, protect our natural resources, and ensure that future generations of working families can thrive in our communities.

That’s why I’m running to be an ADEM delegate in the 71st. East County Democrats have been underrepresented for far too long. Things that are important to us need to be shared broadly, such as our love for outdoor open spaces, our homes, and our communities. Democrats need to lead the way in protecting the environment while providing recreational opportunities. We need to be on the leading edge of promoting sustainable, environmentally-friendly, middle class blue-collar jobs that put East County residents to work. We need to make sure that our public agencies have the resources they need to keep our communities safe from wildfires and that we limit sprawl development while balancing the needs for housing that’s affordable and accessible to our working families.

I would be honored to have your vote and be able to serve as one of your representatives to the Democratic State Central Committee. I understand the responsibilities of the position. I have served or am currently serving on the boards of the SD & IV Labor Council, State Building Trades Council, the SD Workforce Partnership, the Center for Policy Initiatives, the United Way, the Kim Center for Social Balance, and the Progressive Labor Alliance, as well as being a charter member of the Middle Class Taxpayers Association. I am a sitting State Commissioner on California’s Off-Highway Commission. I am a USMC Veteran, and a union construction worker.

But most importantly to this role, I am a dedicated Democrat that knows deep down in his bones that the world we leave behind to my daughter, your children, and their children after them, will largely be livable or not, based on whether we are able to put into action the principles and values espoused by Democrats and our policy. I have knocked on thousands of doors over the past 30 years in SD County, helping elect Democratic candidates. I have worked and watched the rest of this county slowly turn blue. And now I can #ImagineEastCountyBlue too. I humbly ask for your vote and your support.

Tom Lemmon

My name is Ryan Darsey, and I am running to represent you.

We as a party, saw some great victories in 2020 and we should be proud. We also saw some great defeats, that remind us of the work we still have to do.

I am a proud Democrat that was born and raised right here in East County. I got my start at 11 years old, making hand-made signs for Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign and putting them up all over our neighborhood, it was then my passion for politics and our Democratic Party was born.

Since that mature age of 11, I have worked hard getting Democrat’s elected all over San Diego. I currently serve as the Vice President of the San Diego Democrats for Equality and the Director of Community Service for the San Diego County Young Democrats.

I am asking for your vote because I believe we must continue electing people with the energy, passion, and drive to do the important work of strengthening and changing our party for the better.

Imagine East County BLUE.

Ryan Darsey

“Imagine East County Blue”
At the age of four, Juan Carlos Mercado (Charlie) and his Mother were abandoned by his Father. Within a year, his Mother passed away.
Charlie had no choice but to find work throughout his childhood as a piñata maker, and a field worker.
After high school, Charlie attended San Diego State University and enrolled in the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. He graduated as Cadet Commander, first in his class, and as a Commissioned Officer. He also served in Iraq as an infantry soldier.
To help veterans deal with the cruelty of deportation and inform everyone, Charlie founded “Deported Veterans of America” and authored the books “Fate of a Deported Veteran” and “Fe Americana.”
Charlie seeks an immediate end to the deportations of American soldiers, veterans, and their families.
He supports an increase of the minimum wage, an increase of social security benefits, health care for all and better pensions.
Charlie is 100% against donations from corporations, lobbyists and special interests.
He endorses a plan for student loan debt forgiveness, less incarceration and more education.
Now, he is humbly asking for your vote, and for the opportunity to serve you.
Thank you.

Juan Carlos Mercado(Charlie)

“Nobody cares about the Hatch Act”, the Trump administration claimed, trying to justify their behavior. As a former Federal Employee, I did care, and upheld the moral directive to keep the military and civil service non-partisan. I could not stand to see what this administration was making of our health, our environment, our racial equality, and our democracy itself. I took an early retirement last year, in part to free myself to become an active participant and contributor to the Democratic party and support the vote for progressive values.

I am PhD electrical engineer who has dedicated her life and career to scientific principles and public service. I am dedicated to data driven decisions, environmental justice for a sustainable future, and ample opportunities and good health and education for all people living in America, not just a select few. I was an executive manager of a diverse division before I retired, with the task of drafting Science and Technology policy goals and leading our Government activity in planning, executing, and transitioning new technology. I developed a flair for listening to all viewpoints and reputation for fairness that I bring to the new challenges I am now seeking.

Since I am a resident in the back country, I joined the East County Democratic Club and environmental groups as soon as I retired. I continue to learn about how the Democratic Party works, and how we can promote and elevate it to a better future for all Americans. If I am selected to become an Assembly District delegate, I will serve with dedication and energy. I will take my 40+ years of experience in scientific, technical, and managerial world and apply my skills and talents to craft a unifying message and represent the diverse needs, interests, and concerns of all the 71st Assembly District Democratic stakeholders. I have lived in San Diego County for almost 40 years, and East County for 20+ years. I understand the sometimes-conflicting push between development and jobs, immigration and asylum with border protection, and the environmental imperatives we are now facing as a potentially existential threat. I passionately believe that there is always a solution that can resolve conflicts and protect individuals’ and stakeholders’ concerns. I look forward to serving the public good in new roles within the Democratic Party.

Wadad B Dubbelday

Please Vote for Chris Pearson 71st ADEM.

We need to improve our candidate recruitment and campaign professionalism for the down ballot municipal and educational districts in the 71st. We can win competitive races against Republicans. I have been working to elect Democrats in competitive races in the past and continue to do so today as the Political Director for the La Mesa Dem Club. That’s my focus.

Please Vote for Chris Pearson 71st ADEM. /Users/Chris/Desktop/profile-pic-2.jpeg/Volumes/MAC/ChrisPicsForRoosevelt2019/

Chris Pearson

I am an Air Force veteran who graduated with a degree in engineering from the US Air Force Academy. I have been a project manager, a food server, a poker dealer and a quality assurance associate. Recently, I have discovered my true passion, one that has developed out of the chaos of the past four years: political organizing.

In 2019, I founded and led San Diego County for Pete, a grassroots group in support of Pete Buttigieg for the Democratic nomination for president. After organizing and growing the group to over 500 volunteers, we were asked by the campaign to be their official representatives in San Diego County. When the primary was over, I began volunteering for Ammar Campa-Najjar in CD-50, and was subsequently hired by his campaign as a field organizer.

In both roles I spoke to thousands of residents of this district, from Santee to Borrego Springs, and while the issues we discussed were myriad, the theme was the same: everyone wants to feel included in a Democratic Party that supports them and represents their interests.

I believe that our diverse district needs strong representation in the California Democratic Party. As a life-long Democrat and a long-time resident of Ramona, I have seen how Democrats in my town and in other rural areas of the district are often forgotten or left out of the conversation. We have unique concerns that deserve to be heard, such as our constant threat of wildfires and how to balance our dire need for action on climate change with the practical necessities of infrastructure and transportation access to the backcountry areas of the district.

I will fight to strengthen and reform our democracy so it better represents all Californians, including getting big money out of politics and protecting our voting rights. I will push for a platform that emphasizes the goals of equity, criminal justice and police reform, social justice, and health care for all. Additionally, I want Democrats in the 71st Assembly District to feel welcome and safe to express their views.

I’m running for delegate because I believe it’s time for new voices in the party, with diverse backgrounds and experiences. I hope I can count on your vote.

Andrea L McNew

My name is Richard Young. I don’t know most of you because we moved from Chico to Jamul two years ago. My wife was ill so we moved closer to family. She recovered, but between her illness, moving, and the Covid pandemic we have had few opportunities to meet people.

In Chico I was active in Democratic politics. I briefly served as chair of the Butte County Central Committee. In my career I worked as an academic, a small business owner, and CEO of a special district. As part of my jobs I worked with local, state, and national agencies and politicians. I know firsthand that government done right can improve people’s lives. I also know that government done wrong can shatter people’s lives. Every day we read about how the botched Coronavirus response has cost tens of thousands of lives, hundreds of thousands of jobs, and put our economy into a deep recession. This crisis didn’t have to happen, it’s the result of a national government that made poor choices because they didn’t care about people’s lives.

Our state and country face unprecedented challenges. The Republican party threatens democracy. Healthcare is so exorbitant many cannot afford a doctor. Racism plagues our society while income inequality and monopolized industries threaten our economy. Looming over everything is global warming –a challenge to the very existence of humans on this planet. These problems are NOT natural disasters, they are the result of deliberate choices by political leaders.

I am a pragmatic progressive. I have worked with people from both political parties, but never compromised my fundamental conviction that government’s most important task is improving people’s lives. Ensuring a government that chooses to improve lives means we must elect Democrats at every level. We can do this by communicating our shared values and governing successes to voters, so we dispel the lies and misinformation that have damaged the Democratic brand .

This statement may sound alarmist, but it’s accurate. I am running to be a delegate because I want to contribute to solving critical problems. If elected I will listen to voters in AD 71 and do my best to communicate your needs and aspirations to the CDP. Thank you for reading this far. I hope you vote for me, but even if you don’t, please support our party and our candidates.

Richard Young

Hello everyone,

My name is Enrique T. Diaz. I am twenty-four years old, and I recently graduated from UC Berkeley, where I majored in Political Science. I live in Jamul and have been a member of the east county community since my family moved here from Bonita when I was in the third grade.

I am running to be an Assembly District Delegate representing AD 71 because I want to ensure that the state party remains diverse, inclusive, and welcoming to all.

I am the son of Mexican immigrants, and I understand how the opportunities this state and country offered my family allowed us to reach our potential. I want to ensure that this party continues to support the immigrant communities, working-class families, and the youth of the party.

During these unprecedented times, I believe the state party must listen to the most marginalized communities. Looking at the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic we need to work harder than ever before to make Medicare For All a reality for all Californians. No one should be denied healthcare when they need it the most. I will work with others to bring equitable policies to the state level and support elected officials who will do the same.

I first got involved in politics back in 2016 when I ran and was elected to be a delegate to the DNC to represent Senator Bernie Sanders. I got involved with local politics when I joined the San Diego Progressive Democratic Club in 2017. Members of the club elected me to be the club’s membership chair. This is where I learned how local politics works. I learned a lot while I’ve been away at school, and now that I’m back home, I want to do my best to represent my community and fellow Democrats in the California Democratic party. Thank you, and I humbly ask for your vote in this election.

Imagine East County Blue!

Enrique T. Diaz

My name is Braulio Sanabria, a hard name to read but an easy name to remember. A small business owner, community organizer, a lifelong Democrat, and a Girl-Dad of two. I am running to be your California Democratic Delegate of the 71st Assembly District. A district that is diverse by nearly every metric.

I am running to be a part of the political evolution in east county. For years, our district was known for its backcountry ideology that often overshadowed voices in other communities. Working families, multigenerational homes, people from all over the world and residents from every background make up District 71 and deserve to be heard.

We can unite to become a community of hopes, dreams, and action. With the help of our community, we will build a better east county. A blue east county. A district that cares for all people. The people that make our district strong. To young residents just starting adulthood to the residents entering retirement and to the families that have made east county home for generations, you can all count on me to hear you and support this evolving district.

As a proud resident of Spring Valley, I have brought change to our little part of Assembly District 71 by creating a community organization that helps empower Spring Valley residents to navigate the bureaucratic systems in our county. Spring Valley Community Alliance is a new and developing group of residents hungry for change and ready to do the hard work to make their community thrive. Together we are changing the culture of division and hopelessness by bringing neighbors together and helping one another. Not because of me but because of us.

It would be a privilege to represent the 71st District and I understand that it is up to our communities to create change. That is why I am asking for your vote because together we can make meaningful change. Imagine east county blue.

Braulio Sanabria

My name is Tiffany Maple and I’m running to be an Assembly delegate to build on the progress we’ve made in the California Democratic Party over the last few years. I believe that California should lead the nation with a bold, transformative agenda. My community in East County San Diego has dealt with wildfires, loss of jobs, loss of healthcare tied to their jobs, homelessness, small business closures, and the ravages of the pandemic this year. It couldn’t be clearer to me that working people in our communities need help. They are struggling. They need to be heard and the center of our policies in California.

I stand committed to taking on the biggest issues impacting working people and the planet: universal healthcare, affordable housing, public banking, livable wages, a green new deal, criminal justice reform, rent control, comprehensive, compassionate solutions to homelessness, and a path to citizenship for our immigrant communities. All of which have broad support among Californians. Let me be honest and direct: these things won’t happen without tackling special interest money in politics. I expect our party to take a hard look at how we interact with the wealthy few who buy favors and pay armies of lobbyists to secure the adoption of policies and legislation that serve their narrow interests; who leverage campaign contributions to gain access to lawmakers and exclude the taxpayers and working people who elected them and who pay their salaries. I’m tired. I’m tired of seeing suffering and greed. I’m tired of seeing the inaction and the indifference to the struggling millions who are placated and exploited.

Not all is lost! It will take sustained, grassroots effort, but I believe we can change our world. This is why we are here today. I hope you share in this vision and stand with us. As delegates, we will have a voice in moving the CDP forward with a purpose. The most powerful purpose is people. I believe in people-centered policies. I believe in planet-centered policies. I believe in science-based policies. I promise to have the moral and political courage to do what is right, not what is easy.

Thank you for your support and Imagine East County Blue!

Please see my video:

Tiffany Maple

Mark Jones is running to be a delegate for the 71st assembly district. He is the middle child of a career marine veteran, Purple Heart recipient father and a hard working energetic civil servant mother. He was raised on the values of equality and standing up for his rights as well as the rights of others who feel they have no voice. Those values helped endear him to the Democratic Party and its mission to look out for the little girls and guys. Mark has supported the democratic platform since 1984 and he vows to help continue the vision of the only pro democracy party left in the United States. Our first team players and our bench needs to be filled with the strongest and most diverse candidates available and Mark will work to develop, promote and retain those that want to be a part of this grassroots movement.

His wife Tara is a criminal defense attorney and they are raising three beautiful children who are already making an impact on San Diego and the world. He is a graduate of San Diego City College and the University of San Diego for both his undergrad and graduate degrees. He is a deacon at Bayview Baptist Church and serves with a heart for God throughout San Diego. He is, or has served at Big Brothers and Big Sisters of San Diego, Say San Diego, Make-A-Wish San Diego as well as many homeless outreach programs and, of course, his church. At City College Mark Jones ran for and won his election as the student representative for the Board of Trustees in the San Diego Community College District. Mark was the first Student Trustee in the history of the SDCCD to have the ability to cast a vote. Mark believes that no matter what position you are elected to, it was a people that put you there and you should maintain a connection with them to make the best decisions on behalf of the people.

Mark​ ​is​ ​highly​ ​recognized​ ​for​ ​his​ ​work​ ​in​ ​business​ ​and​ ​in​ ​the​ ​community​ ​for​ ​his unique​ ​ability​ ​to​ ​advocate​ ​and​ ​connect​ ​organizations​ ​to​ ​advance​ ​business growth.​

Mark’s commitment to serving others and his determination to finish what he starts and his compassion to make the world a better place are qualities that make him the right candidate and he ask that you select him for the important role of delegate.


Mark Jones


Mark Jones

J. ERIC HEREFORD is a lifer DEMOCRAT and has been active with the San Diego Democratic Party for over 30 years. Representation is more than participation, it is about execution. Getting Democrats elected is his commitment. He has served as the San Diego County Democratic Party Political Director and served as Vice-Chair for over the past 7 years. He has also served as California Democratic Party African American Caucus Vice Chair and Secretary. In addition, he chaired CDP Assembly District Committees (77th and 79th), and has been in leadership roles with the La Mesa-Foothills and Martin Luther King Democratic Clubs. He retired as a Senior Consultant to the California State Assembly Speaker’s office with 30 years of service: having served ten Assembly Democratic Speakers from Speaker Willie Brown to Speaker Anthony Rendon. A Vietnam era veteran, he served as an Officer in the U.S. Coast Guard.

PLEASE VOTE for J. ERIC HEREFORD as a 71st Assembly District Delegate Elected Member to the California Democratic Democratic Party on 11 January 2020.



J Eric Hereford

Hello voters! My name is Melissa Carpenter and I’m a San Diego native. I am excited to be running as an Assembly District Delegate in District 71. I’m running because I feel that my particular take on democracy is needed in today’s climate.
I believe that California must invest in the future of our children and our youth. We must do a better job of providing evidence based policing policies. And, most importantly, we must provide robust fundamental human rights.
I promise to keep your best interests in mind while making decisions; each impacts my family, as well. I am passionate in the belief that our country is in peril and I must fight to change that. I believe we all have an obligation to ensure that our piece of the country is the safe and civil state that we have come to love, without imposing on our individual liberties! When you vote for me, you can be sure that I will vote with that same passion and virtue.
I care about our community and I have been recognized by the Romana Chamber of Commerce for my participation in various fundraising events, was active in the PTA at Cadman Elementary and was a board member for Friends of SDSCPA and sat as a member on the School Site Counsel at San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts.
I believe that, together, Californians can make an impact. Not just on our corner of the country…but on the world. And, it all starts with us.

To learn more about me, visit:

Imagine East County Blue!

Melissa Carpenter

Hi, My name is Malik Thornton. I’ve lived in East County for most of my life, and it’s home. Growing up, I faced many challenges such as my mother’s cancer diagnosis and surviving the aftermath. When I was in middle school, my mother was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer that quickly progressed to stage 4. My mother was fortunate enough to have quality health insurance and received the care she needed to live as long as she did. Watching my mother go through cancer opened my eyes to the reality that many folks in my community struggled to receive affordable healthcare. At a young age, I realized we lived in a system where luck is oftentimes the difference between life and death in a country as wealthy as ours. When my mother passed, it was just my father and me. He never said it, but I knew the road ahead of us wasn’t going to be easy. My father was a single parent working a full-time job struggling to make ends meet. I experienced housing insecurity and watched my father struggle to make sure we had a place to live.

I interned on Ammar Campa-Najjar’s campaign for Congress where I spoke to voters about challenges they were facing, and I was able to draw parallels to my experiences. I will never forget the conversations I had with fellow community members. It further reinforced the notion we needed a voice that understood our struggle in Congress and other institutions such as our party. We also conducted wellness checks and compiled local resources for the pandemic and the Valley Fires. I organized voter outreach events to get out the vote for both the primary and general elections. Through the campaign, I was able to connect with my community further and reinforced my commitment to fighting for them.

Our healthcare system, failing housing policies, and economic system are some of the many reasons I am running to represent Democrats of AD71. We need to ensure these issues are addressed within the party and work to elect individuals who hold the same values we fight for. We deserve a party that not only believes in our values to strengthen CA for all of us, but we need people who will work to make sure our party is at the forefront of translating our values to responsible public policy. When elected, I will work with a broad coalition of people across the state and ensure that this happens. I hope to earn your vote, and I can serve as your delegate.

Malik Thornton

Suzanne Till grew up on the football field in East San Diego County helping her dad. She excelled in athletics and mathematics at El Capitan High School in Lakeside, CA. She attended UCLA, and upon graduation, like her father, was commissioned a Marine Corps officer. She completed her master’s at San Diego State University (SDSU) in geography and urban planning, and her Ph.D. in water resources geography at the University of Colorado, Boulder. In 2000, Suzanne helped her father, Joe Till win his election as Director on the Lakeside (formerly Riverview) Water District. Currently Suzanne is a college instructor and coordinator of the Academy of Science at Mater Dei Catholic High School in Chula Vista California.

Since 1991, Suzanne has lived in Santee, California, and advocated for Santee residents at the Santee City Council and Padre Dam Municipal Water District. Due to the requests of numerous students and her son, Suzanne decided to do something about the problem of climate change and water in California. In November 2020, Suzanne was elected as Director for the Padre Dam Municipal Water District for Santee, CA. Upon election Suzanne made the following statement: “I thank Santee voters for the honor to serve. I dedicate my efforts to East County youth, since California will continue in a climate cycle of drought and aridity. I will utilize my pragmatic research skills and water resources experience to augment the current Directors’ impressive achievements. Santee residents, especially our youth, our future, deserve clean safe and affordable water.” Currently Suzanne is the only female Democrat and scientist elected official in Santee, CA, a primarily Republican community. Suzanne is a member of the East County Democratic Club, San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action Club, and Veteran’s Democratic Club of San Diego. Suzanne is proud of her California native plant garden, her backyard rainwater harvesting system, her son who attends SDSU, and loves long board surfing.

Suzanne Till

Hello, I’m Justin Tyre and I’m excited for the opportunity to represent the Democratic Party of the 71st Assembly District.

I grew up in East County with a single mother from a family of lifelong Democrats. After graduating from Grossmont High School, I graduated from Grossmont College before transferring to San Diego State University where I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. After college I entered the workforce becoming the manager of a small business emphasizing on events. Through my job I have been able to visit and interact with various different groups and neighborhoods within our district. I’ve been able to see firsthand the type of symbiotic relationship that can exist between the government, the private sector, and the community. Currently during COVID, I’ve also seen firsthand how government plays an important and vital role in helping keep businesses and families afloat during these difficult and unprecedented times.

I believe it is essential to make sure that the Democratic Party continues to support policies and candidates that will improve the quality of life for the members of our community. I’m a member of YIMBY Democrats, a group that is focused on overcoming housing inequalities and ensuring that all San Diegans have the right to an affordable home. My mother was a renter my entire life and I have been as well, so I fully understand the struggle of trying to make ends meet. Several years ago, I had to undergo an emergency appendectomy, so the issue of healthcare is something that I’m also very dedicated to. I believe that no one should have to worry about not having health insurance or that getting sick or hurt will ruin them financially.

The Democratic Party has proven it’s the best party to represent the everyday citizens that make California great and I want to make sure that it continues to build on that progress. By promoting ideas that can provide workers with the social infrastructure to have confidence in their situation, while providing small businesses the economic freedom and support to create more and better opportunities, we can make a society where everyone has the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. I can promise you that as your delegate, I will fight passionately to make sure that the Democratic Party is working towards goals that will make the 71st Assembly District an even better place to live.

Justin Tyre

Hello my name is Rev. Gerald Green and it gives me pleasure to be running as a candidate in the 2021 ADEM elections. I have been involved in Social Justice Ministry and community activism for more than 30 years. My community engagement started as an Associate Minister at the historic First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray. I learned early in my ministry how to be a change agent beyond the walls of the church. The most significant memories of my timer at F.M.E. was being a Health Educator for our Tobacco/ HIV/AIDS programs, working with the Men’s Ministry to reclaim drug houses, working hard to help our community rebuild once the Rodney King verdict cause so much pain, and fighting for Criminal Justice reform. In the late 80’s as HIV/AIDS began to claim the lives of many of my friends, associates in the arts, and communities of color I stepped up to the challenge once again by joining the fight under the leadership of Rev. Carl Bean founder of the Minority AIDS Project also located in my home town. As an active board member for several years I have had the opportunity to see lives change for the better. I have had the opportunity to be in the field of education in Los Angeles, New York, and Washington State. The importance of a great education sets an equal playing field for many who are often left behind. I know personally that you can achieve anything your mind is set on. Since moving to San Diego in 2009 I have achieved obtaining my Associates Degree in Language Arts & Humanities from San Diego City College and my Bachelors in Religion/Philosophy from the University of La Vern, C.A. Today I work on the frontlines as an essential worker daily for a hospital and seeing how Covid 19 impacts our community. Thus, healthcare for all, Criminal Justice Reform, and access to jobs are things I would like to focus on to better my community.

Rev. Gerald Green

Born and raised in the 71st Assembly District, I am dedicated to working with my community to create a more inclusive, equitable, and Democratic region and State. Together, our people powered movement is capable of accomplishing extraordinary feats, but we must lead strongly with a message of hope, opportunity, and a brighter future for all.

In order to grow we must be bold, we must be honest and transparent, and we must listen to the needs of our communities. Communities that ultimately share our progressive values, but may need to be met where they are at, informed and educated through tough conversations, and welcomed in despite differences so that together we can grow the Party stronger.

I bring valuable experience in various aspects of Democratic life in San Diego County, having served as President of the SDSU College Democrats, having worked in campaign organizing and fundraising, having served as an Alternate on the Central Committee and Secretary of the East Area Caucus, and having worked for elected officials at the State and Federal levels.

I have also served as the Co-Chair of the San Diego LGBTQ+ Young Professionals Council and as Secretary of the Uptown Community Planning Group.

I am a San Diego Leadership Alliance fellow and an alumnus of the Young Professionals Council Academy. I am also member of the Democrats for Equality, the San Diego Young Democrats, and the YIMBY Democrats.

I am the son of kindergarten teacher and small business owner/salesman. I went to schools in the La Mesa Spring Valley School District and paid my way through Grossmont Community College working at my local 99 Cent Store.

As a young, Jewish, LGBTQ+ man, I bring a unique lived experience to the table. I belong to groups that have been persecuted, marginalized, and ignored, but I have also had the privilege of not personally experiencing a great deal of adversity because of who I am. I seek to use my privileges however and whenever I can to lift up my communities and all communities with historic injustices who do not have a seat at the table.

I appreciate your thoughtful consideration and activeness in this Democratic process. Whether as an ADEM delegate or not, I look forward to working with you and continuing to bend the moral arch toward justice. I am fired up and ready to go! I hope you are too!

Zach Bunshaft

My name is Kenya Taylor and I’m running for the 71st Assembly District Elections Meeting (ADEM).

I must first start off by thanking you for our 45,037 votes when I ran for County Board of Supervisors in District 2. We were only 4% behind in the 2020 Primary Election. With the great foundation we started, it’s time to turn East County Blue.

We deserve a California Democratic Party that is focused on the health, safety and economic survival of every city, community, and neighborhood.

We must elect leaders who show compassion and transparency. A vote for Kenya Taylor will champion leaders who believe in:

Economic Solutions

•Develop innovative programs for women veterans and young adults

•Design apprenticeship programs in schools to stop a pipeline to prison and create a pipeline

to careers

•Maximize environmental justice to increase clean air, water and energy

•Promote farming, organic foods, and green jobs to reduce our carbon footprint

•Support small business owners in the midst of COVID-19 and beyond

Health & Wellness

•Implement results to address self-sufficiency, child care and domestic violence

•Improve quality health care, access and effective drug addiction and mental health


•Maximize resources to increase successful aging for seniors

•Promote prevention and early Intervention funding

•Stop sand mines in our communities

Safety & Security

•Champion diversity while celebrating differences in our rural, suburban, and urban


•Create affordable housing opportunities

•Implement solutions to address our unsheltered community members

•Invest in resources to promote fire prevention and other emergency response needs

•Reimagine criminal justice reform to create safe neighborhoods

I’m a San Diego native and an East County resident of 30 years. I graduated from Valhalla High School and earned my Master of Science in Counseling from SDSU (Go Aztecs!). I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a Certification in Primary Care Behavioral Health and Geriatric Mental Health.

My 30 year career has required me to bring people together while navigating our complex government bureaucracy. It’s time to take dysfunction out of politics.

Vote Kenya Taylor for the 71st ADEM.

Imagine East County Blue.

Kenya L. Taylor

My name is Sanders Fabares and I’m proud to be running as a delegate for the California Democratic Party’s 71st assembly district.

Born and raised in Lakeside, there’s nowhere else that I’d rather live than right here in east county. It has warmed my heart to see how much more inclusive and diverse we have become over the past 30 years. Now, I want to help my community by being a voice for progressive change when we need it most, supporting a platform that looks for solutions to the issues that impact all of us.

In 2015, I joined a non-profit called The Debt Collective, an organization that fights against all forms of predatory debt. Since that time, I’ve been able to travel around the country, speaking out about our broken student loan system, and meeting people from all walks of life who have been negatively impacted by their student debt. Currently, I am the head of the San Diego chapter of the organization.

Becoming involved in the fight against student debt was a wake up call. A realization that major change needs to happen from the ground up. Student debt itself is a modern problem that was created by both parties continually divesting from public higher education and supporting deregulation in order to make a profit. But student debt is just one of the predatory systems that are a result of failed neoliberal policy. Medical debt, astronomical pharmaceutical prices, payday lending, lack of affordable child care… the list goes on and on. Modern debt is control.

So often, I see both parties failing to address important issues such as widening inequality, healthcare access, homelessness, stagnant wages, climate change, and student debt. As a progressive, I see these all as real issues that need drastic action and require dynamic thinking. They are issues that we can solve if we are able to think boldly enough.

Republicans often describe the Democratic party as promising so much and delivering so little, and we must do all that we can to undo this perception. We must fight harder and listen better. We must defend the middle class and work towards change that benefits it.

If elected, I promise to maintain a thorough understanding of the issues and promote only realistic and meaningful solutions to them. With your vote, I will proudly be an advocate for positive change in this place we all love.

Imagine East County Blue.

Sanders Fabares

I am a Muslim-Palestinian, daughter of immigrants, community organizer, advocate, and a recent Ethnic Studies UCSD graduate. I am running as a Delegate in the 71st Assembly District to ensure our resources and local politics are accessible to the diverse communities of the district. I began my community organizing and advocacy as a Student Government Senator at Southwestern College, where I initiated and led a 3 year-long successful campaign to establish the Meditation Space on campus. Since then, I’ve continued to directly serve and engage with the community, and advocate on their behalf on a city, state, and federal level. Most-recently, I played an integral role in the Proposition 15 Campaign as a Student Organizer with the AFT Union, through petition gathering of over 500 signatures and grassroots mobilization. Since March, I’ve been focused on ensuring our most vulnerable communities are supported and have access to resources; I’ve translated documents into Arabic for We All We Got Mutual Aid as well as the Majdal Center, an Arab resource center in El Cajon, where I work as the Advocacy & Campaigns Coordinator. I’ve also reached out to families across City Heights with Mid-City CAN to ensure they are civically engaged in electoral politics and the census. I look forward to your support and to serving you!

Yasmeen Obeid

My name is Adiam Haile-Rufael, a graduate in Political Science from the University of California Riverside; and a longtime resident in the 71st Assembly District. I am an active member in our local African communities, specifically the Eritrean American community. I believe it is important to engage and ensure equity and equality for our diverse communities in our district, especially in the areas of education and housing. It takes a village to build a prospering district; and in 2021 with a renewed spirit, we can all make this happen together. Which is why I am running to be an Assembly District Delegate for the 71st.

Adiam Haile Rufael

I was born at the Balboa Naval Hospital, raised in Minnesota, and received my degree in English from Beloit College in Wisconsin. I moved back to San Diego County in 1988. Since 1995 my family (wife, three kids, two adopted) have resided in Santee.

I am a longtime registered Democrat. My political heroes include Abraham, Franklin, Hubert, and Barack.

Professionally I have been a writer and editor of nonfiction educational books on American history and social issues (my most recent book examined police brutality). I have also been a substitute teacher for the San Diego Unified School District.

Most recently I worked as an intern for Ammar Campa-Najjar’s 2020 congressional race. I wish to build on the progress that campaign made both in turning out the Democratic base and in reaching out to independents and disaffected Republicans. We must work together to help Democratic officials and candidates implement and build public support for policies that address climate change, reduce economic inequality, ensure civil liberties including the right to vote, and deliver on America’s promise of liberty and equality for all. An important goal of the Democratic Party should be to avoid a repeat of the electoral setbacks of 1994 and 2010.

William Dudley

Hello. Greetings from needing change East County. My name is Ilka. I am happy to announce as well as honored to be considered as a delegate in AD71 here in California.

My background has always been involved with small businesses as a provider of goods as well as having been a small business owner.

I am born and raised in San Diego as well as a single mother to my son Nickie and a Tante to my nieces Madison and Mylie. I am proud that my 18 year old niece Madison made my video and understands the concerns. Generation Z has been through a lot. So let’s make changes for everybody.

I have always been involved in one way or another. My concerns range from changing the educational dynamic to include vital teaching about the real history of our land as well as educating on systematic racial injustices.

In addition the environment needs care from developers , human choices as well as climate issues.

We definitely need Medicare for all. This is something I personally believe and learned when I too needed to go to the hospital for something simple like potassium deficiency which can stop your heart.

Homelessness and poverty is not a crime. It is also not a way of life. Thus we need to focus on evolving and re-introducing previous existing practices like the PERT team which assisted in mental health as well as drug rehabilitation needs. We do not need to criminalize homelessness, poverty or addiction.

When we look at Law Enforcement we need to hold whatever branch accountable. We also need to provide the resources in order to have transparency. We need a citizens review board. We need to reallocate funds for mandatory counseling As well as training in counseling to better serve our multicultural community and the needs.

Being a progressive I truly understand what it means because it’s in the root of the word. It is about making changes and being committed to those changes for the people and California as a whole.

Thanks again and I hope you join me in imagine East County blue.

Ilka Weston

I am a passionate, active, lifelong Democrat raised in a Democratic family. A New York native, I moved to Los Angeles in 1976 to work in the movie business, eventually serving as a vice-president of Warner Bros. Since 1967, I have been a member of the Director’s Guild of America, a labor union that protects members’ legal and artistic rights.

After retiring to San Diego, I began volunteering for progressive candidates and causes. Since 2011, I have been a member of the San Diego County Democratic Party (SDCDP) Central Committee and a delegate to the California Democratic Party (CDP) State Central Committee. I am also an active member of five Democratic clubs serving AD 71.

I have been a member of the SDCDP Grassroots Organizing Team since 2012 and, with the exception of the General Election during this COVID-19 year, I have walked precincts throughout AD 71 in every election cycle. I am now participating in CDP’s phone-banking program for the Georgia run-off Senatorial candidates, and I have volunteered on and donated to numerous other Democratic campaigns.

If elected, I will strive to convince the party that our district is worthy of more attention, and I will lobby tirelessly to convince party leaders that our candidates need and deserve more financial and staffing support. To achieve a Democratic majority in AD 71, the CDP must recognize and respect the fact that our voters tend to be more conservative and more rural. AD 71 voters require a cautious approach to progressive goals. I want to recruit legislative candidates that are a good match for the district.

My goals are:

•freedom and equality for all,

•equal justice, equal treatment, and equal opportunity,

•affordable, accessible healthcare, including the spectrum of reproductive services,

•the dignity and worth of workers and their right to earn a living wage in a safe and clean workplace,

•decent, affordable housing,

•the sanctity of our natural environment.

I also believe in and support the principles that are set forth in the CDP platform.

Continuing to devote my time and energy to Democratic candidates and causes is the greatest contribution I can make to ensure our county, state, and country become a better place for all.

I would be honored to have your support for my candidacy.

Please send any questions you might have to

Robert Grand

Estela De Los Rios

Assembly District 71


Candidate Statement

Tell me about yourself and what you bring to the Delegation, experience, skills and abilities? That will contribute to Assembly District 71?

My name is Estela DeLosRios. I am an immigrant from Mexico, mother and grandmother of 5. I am a passionate lifelong democrat since the age of 18. At this age, I became a community activist, attended San Diego State University and graduating with a B.S. in Sociology. As a leader, I became involved in many progressive issues ranging from immigrant rights, voter rights and worker’s rights. I am a fierce Latina woman who has dedicated my life as a civil rights activist.

I take pride to give a voice to those whose voices are silenced or who those who feel they don’t have a right to speak up. Today, I am an East County resident serving as Executive Director at CSA San Diego County, a nonprofit organization that fights for social justice causes such as opposing human trafficking and discrimination in housing.

I believe in respect, dignity and human rights for all people regardless of their racial background, language, national origin, religious practice, sexual orientation, gender, age or disability .

This past election, I took a huge step in running for city council for the City of El Cajon. Being here in East County for over 40 years, it was time to take a progressive role as a life time Democrat. My vision is to fight for a better, fairer and brighter future to empower our community. I have rolled up my sleeve and have organized as a grassroots leader. I have donated, contributed to the Democratic Party for 47 years.

As a Democrat, I believe health care and housing is a right and diversity is our strength. The economy should work for everyone and I am prepared as the Assembly District Delegate to fight for equality and justice for all.

If given the opportunity, I will work tirelessly and pursue the Democratic goals of the Democratic Party .

It would be an honor to have your support. Please feel free to contact if you have any questions at or visit my website:

Thank you!

Estela DelosRios

As your ADEM I will stay focused on keeping our District “focusing” on the Big Prize for the next two years. The last two years we screwed the pooch by being divided with personal egos playing an unqualified part of getting our Dems successfully elected. I will request that our ADEMS aggressively get into the vetting process of candidates early so we are definite in our choices and stick with them until the end so there is no emotional floundering at the last minute before Election Day . Vote for me and I will help to get it done, remember, “The Dude Abides”.

Pete Beauregard