Assembly District 78




SelfIdentifiedFemale (SIF) OtherthanSIF (OSIF)

78 Loxie Gant No SIF
78 Wedad S Schlotte No SIF
78 Anna Webb No SIF
78 Kevin Lourens No OSIF
78 Gretchen Newsom * SIF
78 Carol Kim * SIF
78 Rick Bates * OSIF
78 Marcelo Marco Ramirez  No OSIF
78 Tracey Magnuson No SIF
78 Jean-Huy Tran No OSIF
78 Katie Meyer * SIF
78 Josie Caballero * SIF
78 Morgan Thornberry No SIF
78 Janessa Goldbeck No SIF
78 Maya Rosas No SIF
78 Jordan Beane No OSIF
78 Oren Robinson * OSIF
78 Jess Durfee * OSIF
78 LaTanya Cline No SIF
78 Matt Yagyagan No OSIF
78 Matthew Vasilakis No OSIF
78 Ramon Espinal No OSIF
78 Kylie Taitano * SIF
78 Dawniel Carlock Stewart No SIF
78 Czeska  Cabuhat No SIF
78 Vianni Ledesma No SIF
78 Matthew Howland No OSIF
78 Aurea Bolanos Perea No SIF
78 Micah Perlin No OSIF
78 Melissa Marie Elder No SIF

Candidate Statements

My name is Loxie Gant and I am a third generation San Diego native, a children’s rights advocate, and progressive social justice activist. I am running for ADEM this cycle because of my desire to be an internal member of the Children’s Caucus to push for progressive reform.

I believe deeply that by creating a world that protects our most vulnerable citizens we can change the outcomes for the next generation.

As is a leader in the world of children’s rights reform, I bring a unique outlook as being child victim turned survivor, activist and expert in the field. The injustices I saw seeking justice for my own case led to the revelation that there was still so much work to be done and her springboard into political and reform spheres specifically the prevention of Adverse Childhood Experiences.

Aside from my field work with Institutions, I work closely with Child Advocacy Centers, Law Enforcement, Child Welfare Services, County Health and Human Services and other governmental agencies nationwide as an advocate and trusted advisor for policy reform. I also work closely with elected officials to pass state and local legislation that has had a huge positive impact on our child and victims of crime and abuse.

Loxie Gant

My name is Wedad S Schlotte. I’m an American, born in Baghdad, Iraq. I live in Mission Hills, a life long Democrat. Retired electronics engineer. I believe in voting to effect policy and legislation. From my parents, I learned to speak up in the face of injustice. They were forced to leave Iraq’s fascist regime because of my father’s political convictions. They armed us with education, the audacity to speak up, be our own, and never be silent.

I studied electronics engineering, worked for private industries as a design engineer. In 1989 I became American citizen, registered as a Democrat, joined Department of Navy as a civilian.

These are my affiliations:

– As a member of the Industry Advisory Board, I partner with MESA (Math Engineering Science Achievement) to inspire and mentor underprivileged students to succeed by providing summer internships, shadow days, leadership summits and multitude of scientific competitions. I’m the recipient of the Emerald National award for Women of Color for Research Sciences and Technology in engineering for community service 2003.

– Member of the Women’s Democratic Club of San Diego country, Point Loma and Poway clubs.

– Past Coordinator of the Iraqi American Democratic current.

– Collaboration with PANA (Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans) on Measure S in the City of El Cajon to require election of City Council members by geographic districts in which they reside. It passed on November 2016 by 69.16%. , held multiple community town halls meetings after the executive presidential order to ban 7 predominately Moslem countries from entering and traveling to the USA.

– People Power, an ACLU grass root groups to defend civil liberties, civil rights, and hold our elected officials accountable for their responsibilities.

– ACLU board member.

– On the selecting committee for the San Diego Arab Film Festival providing a positive narrative to Arab culture.

– VP of American Arab Anti Discrimination Committee; a civil rights organization defending the rights of people of Arab descent. We partner with Jewish Voice for Peace, Racial Justice Coalitions and Japanese American Citizens League to promote peace, humanity and understanding.

I look forward to your approval as a delegate at the California Democratic Party, district 78.

Wedad Schlotte


3523 State street

San Diego, CA 92103

Wedad S Schlotte

Greetings, I am Anna Webb, President and Co-founder of the Imperial Beach Democratic Club, chartered in January of 2018. I have been instrumental in growing our club with a strong Eboard team by engaging our community. I also served as Vice President on the Board of the Imperial Beach Neighborhood Center and currently serve on the Community Advisory Board for the San Diego Community Power CCA start up, representing Imperial Beach as part of the 2021 rollout. We’re the 26th CCA to establish in CA and the 2nd largest.

As you may know, Imperial Beach has its’ unique issues, cross-border pollution, and being known as one of the most underserved communities in San Diego County’s South Bay Area, currently with a high rate of coronavirus infections.

My community leadership led me to serve on the IB Mayor’s Coronavirus Task Force as an Executive Member of the Business subcommittee and have been instrumental in helping keep our small businesses afloat this year. I created a Constant Contact account and uploaded the Imperial Beach business contact list in order to reach out. We strived to provide our small business community with funding from the SBA, PPP loans as well as local funding. And, we continue to support our business community.

In addition, I’m a small business owner myself. I own a digital marketing agency with clients all over the U.S. I also researched and shared the process for my clients to apply for loans and grants to stay afloat during this precarious time in their States.

I flew to Nevada at the end of February with Region 20 Director Michelle Krug to volunteer and assist with their caucus. It was an experience in democracy I’ll never forget.

My goal in applying for this position is to continue to support, educate the community and vote for what is needed and right for our IB and Assembly District 78. We have many issues to resolve; climate change/sea level rise, cross-border pollution, an underserved population struggling in a pandemic, mental health/homeless residents, caged children at the border and more.

I swear my duty to serve and vote appropriately to help Assembly District 78 and Imperial Beach to thrive and grow.

As a voting member of the ADEM, and, as President of the Imperial Beach Democratic Club, I will uphold my duties, as sworn, to the best of my ability.

Thank you for your consideration and for this opportunity.

Anna Webb

My name is Kevin Lourens and I am seeking re-election as a 78th Assembly District Delegate.

Since 2015 I have been involved in a multitude of progressive efforts across several campaigns and issues. I co-founded Tritons for Bernie at UC San Diego in 2015 which would phonebank into multiple states, and canvass in two. For San Diego City Council, I was a UCSD Field Organizer for Barbara Bry in 2016, and this past Primary a Volunteer Coordinator for Joe LaCava in my home district. It was an honor to be Field Director this year for Sarah Davis for Assembly in my district. I’ve knocked on thousands of doors in and around my community, becoming more connected to my neighbors. It is through these conversations that I know there are seniors in my community living on fixed incomes with abusive landlords. It is through these conversations I know UCSD students (65% of whom are on financial aid) in the area cram themselves into “luxury” apartments to afford to live and go to school here. It is this experience that has led me to support rent control, prioritize affordable housing over luxury, and support single payer healthcare.

However, as every progressive knows, not every Democrat works to alleviate class struggle, much less support these issues. This is what prompted me to first run and win election for my position as a Delegate in 2017 and again in 2019. Since then I have worked to hold elected officials and candidates accountable with my position. I supported a progressive Black woman in Kimberly Ellis for both of her campaigns for Chair who would strive for a reformed, fairer and more democratic Party. And I continue to expect our local electeds to strive for progressive change, be it the Costa-Hawkins Act’s repeal, Prop 13 reform, and a Green New Deal.

I am running once again to represent the 78th as an Assembly District Delegate. With this responsibility, I plan to continue holding our electeds accountable, and when they cannot be, support progressive challengers who will do right by working people. I will endorse the most progressive & viable candidates who will reflect the values I have spent these years fighting to advance.

My name is Kevin Lourens, and I would be honored to have your vote so we may fight for a Progressive future together. Thank you.

Kevin Lourens

My name is Gretchen Newsom – I am a community organizer, labor advocate, and proud member of the Progressive Unity Slate for Assembly District 78.

I would be honored to have your vote for re-election as one of your delegates to upcoming California Democratic Conventions.

As a CDP delegate, I will continue to work tirelessly to strengthen civic engagement and promote progressive platforms of bold climate action, social equity, and good union jobs.

For the past 6 years, I have served as Political Director of IBEW 569 – a significant and progressive local labor union – where I have organized movements to invest in local good-paying, green-collar jobs, workforce development, and renewable energy. I have also co-led efforts and campaigns to elect many progressive Democrats – successfully implementing strategies to flip City Councils and move San Diego County from red to Blue.

Additionally, I serve on the California Employment Training Panel and advocate for apprenticeship and training opportunities that lead to middle-class careers. This work involves advocacy for better worker wages and standing up against corporate greed.

My experience and skills are diverse and emphasize the importance of getting involved and striving to make a difference in one’s community. As a community leader and former four term President of the Ocean Beach Town Council, I worked toward preserving and improving community resources, advocating for a sustainable local economy (shop small folks!), enhancing community dialogue and civic engagement, and maintaining our unique “vibe.” This included advocating for the passage of the OB Community Plan and standing up against the proliferation of Short Term Vacation Rentals.

We won many priority campaigns in 2020 – but we have much work to do to maintain momentum and implement progressive policies that will protect the environment and lift-up and support families. I remain committed to this work and I would be honored to have your vote.

In Solidarity,

Gretchen Newsom

My name is Carol Kim, and I would be honored to serve as one of your representatives to the CA Democratic State Central Committee.

I am the daughter of Korean immigrants and after graduating UCLA, began my career as a classroom teacher in inner-city Los Angeles. There, beyond teaching my own students, I was the coordinator of a Fine Arts program and led an after-school program for at-risk boys. I later worked in HIV prevention, serving high-risk groups including active and recovering substance users, adolescents in the foster care and correctional systems, LGBTQ communities, and communities of color. I also provided training on HIV and related topics for public health nurses, community service providers, and teacher candidates.

After moving to San Diego in 2006, I worked to develop effective educational programs that support health, safety, and well-being for students in public schools and colleges across the state, and to develop career and technical education opportunities for young people in partnership with community colleges. In 2013, I took a leap into politics as a candidate, and have been advocating for working families, underserved communities, and a just transition to a green economy ever since by working on electoral campaigns, advocating for policy, building the labor movement, and organizing community coalitions to promote safe and healthy communities with an inclusive, worker-centered economy.

As part of this work, I serve as Political Director of the San Diego Building & Construction Trades Council, and on the boards of the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council, the San Diego Convention Center, the CA State Building & Construction Trades Council, the Climate Action Campaign, Run Women Run, and United Way San Diego, and as Congressman Scott Peters’ alternate to the San Diego County Democratic Party Central Committee.

I am deeply committed to the work of building resilient, healthy communities by implementing progressive policies that address the problems caused by the social and economic inequities in our region and state. I believe we are all connected, and have spent most of my adult life working to bridge spaces and priorities that are intertwined in ways that are not always easily seen, but will be deeply felt in the well-being of our communities. I hope to have your support to continue this work as one of your AD 78 delegates.

Carol Kim

My name is Rick Bates, and I have been a resident of California’s 78th district for nearly 20 years. Currently living in Imperial Beach, my lived experience in San Diego began at the turn of the century as a bartender struggling to make ends meet in Downtown San Diego. In the years that followed, I found it harder to keep up with rent on the wages I was making and knew something had to change. That change came when in 2009, I took my first union job at the then-newly opened Hilton San Diego Bayfront next to the San Diego Convention Center. It was at this union hotel that I was able to have full-time work making sustainable wages and have affordable, quality healthcare for the first time in my life.
It was through my new union that I learned how democracy works and the power that working people have when they speak together with one voice. In 2011, I left the Hilton Bayfront and came on staff with UNITE HERE Local 30 as a full-time organizer where I represented workers at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, the W Hotel San Diego, and the San Diego Convention Center.
Then in 2015, I transitioned into my current role with UNITE HERE Local 30 as a Research Analyst. It’s in this role that I learned how local and regional governments work, why housing is a commodity that working class people get priced out of, and why climate change and pollution are disproportionately impacting low-income communities and communities of color.
In addition to my lived experience in the 78th district for nearly 20 years, I am presently the Lead Research Analyst at UNITE HERE Local 30, Vice President of the Imperial Beach Democratic Club, Board Member of the Cleveland National Forest Foundation, and Vice President of the Steering Committee of the San Diego Green New Deal Alliance.
Every year, climate change presents itself in San Diego with more ferocity than the previous year. It is affecting our neighborhoods, backcountry, and beaches in the form of record highs, intense wildfires, and bluff collapses. This year, we have the added crisis of an economy ravaged by the impacts of the pandemic with thousands of workers permanently displaced. We will need to meet these challenges head on by building economic recovery policy into climate policy. To that end, our party has the responsibility to respond. Please allow me to represent you as a DSCC delegate for the 78th. Thank you.

Rick Bates

Thank you for your participation in the California Democratic Party’s Assembly District Elections Meeting for 2021. I am humbled to run on behalf of all the Democrats in the 78th and attempt to provide realistic, respectful, and open-minded service with the Progressive Unity slate.

“Love where you live.” It’s the quintessential mantra I’ve felt and seen on power boxes here in the district ever since arriving as a transplant a little over two years ago. What I’ve learned in these two years is that it takes earnest efforts from every Democrat across all shades of blue to keep this place…lovely. A small part of that upkeep, I believe, begins by selecting working class people committed to upholding the duties of Assembly District Delegate. The party as a whole isn’t always going to be perfect, but we should never for a moment shy away from striving to mold it into the best version for every Democrat. I especially think we have somewhat of an onus as a community to demonstrably prove to the rest of the state and nation that all Democrats must and can unite to begin to undo the madness.

Although I’ve been involved with party politics since organizing on both Obama campaigns (Florida), OFA Florida, serving as a Legislative District delegate for Bernie 2016 in Washington State, and most recently as national DNC delegate for Bernie in 2020, my focus is on expansion. We tend to think we offer a big-tent approach to everyone into the democratic process, but how can we exceed and exude this and other timeless values of ours year over year? I accept this is the biggest, self-reflective task we must all embark on as fellow Democrats to sustain accountability at all times when we entrust people to make those nascent decisions whose ripple effects affect everyone.

Currently, as a labor organizer, my mindset is honed in on making sure us as a party have buy-in from anyone who is contemplating registering as a voter and member of ours in 2021 & 2022. We cannot afford to frivolously throw away votes and endorsements if they will only perpetuate divisions and further inaccessibility for every Democrat. Progressive Unity is ship for that journey.

I sincerely look forward to connecting in the coming weeks and exchanging chats as we campaign to earn your support. Stay safe, wear a mask, and continue to love where you live.

Marcelo Marco Ramirez

I am a Democrat and active participant in local politics. I first moved to California in 2006 from the East coast, and fell in love with the San Diego area. About three years ago, my husband and I settled in the bustling North Park area. I have worked in insurance, both life and property, and in the Real Estate and foreclosure industries – including working directly with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and many others, during the 2008/2011 collapses – and saw first hand the impact of these issues on the lives of my local area. I also watched up close how efforts to recover the economy and expand medical coverage and property protections fought to combat these problems.

By the election of 2016 I knew I had to do more. I reached out to my local parties and political action groups to ask how I can help. In short time, I became the Board Secretary for the La Mesa Foothills Democratic club and a community organizer for the Democratic Party (GO Team.) Now I was really getting somewhere and learning the ins and outs of how local government has a ripple effect to the national stage. I was even more motivated to jump in and get my hands dirty.

In my tenure as Board Secretary, I had the opportunity to meet many elected officials in offices both small and large and was impressed by what I saw. I met many accomplished people and it taught me that my skill set is valuable. With the right application, it can make a real impact on my District. As a community organizer for GO Team (SD Dem Party,) I am responsible for the neighborhoods of North Park and University heights. Each election, I have helped to rally voters and volunteers, providing voter guides and answering questions to ensure the party gets the best possible turn out and that voters feel truly empowered as I did.

As a dedicated community member and long-time San Diegan, the betterment of my neighborhood and city means everything to me. Your support is greatly appreciated, as is your vote. Please join me with your vote so we can make a better San Diego District 78 together!

Tracey Magnuson

My name is jean-huy and I am running to be a delegate for Assembly District 78. I am a queer Vietnamese immigrant who migrated to United States in 1990. When I graduated from UCLA, I was the first person in my family to earn a college degree. Currently, I am an organizer of the Center for Policy Initiatives, focusing on the City of San Diego’s local budget as a member of the Community Budget Alliance. The Alliance is a coalition of local organizations and community members who believe the City budget should be a people’s budget.

As a local San Diego activist and organizer, I mobilize in various partisan and nonpartisan spaces. When I first started to organize, I joined the Indivisible network of San Diego to be a part of a movement of thousands of grassroots leaders and more than a million members taking regular, and increasingly complex actions to elect local champions, and fight for progressive policies.

Over the past few years, I have expanded my organizing work through other organizations and coalitions including We The People San Diego, San Diego Progressive Democratic Club, TRUST SD coalition and #TeamJustice of San Diego. My advocacy works are criminal justice reform; social, racial and economic justice and equity; rent stabilization; mass surveillance technology; police accountability; voter education and voter turnout. I have worked to successfully make changes at the local government level as well as in state legislation.

However, in a lot political spaces, I do not see a lot of familiar Asian faces, and I realize the lack of my people’s representation in everywhere. Even more so is the lack of Progressive AAPI that it has become an important issue for me. In the past year, I have organized in the San Diego Asian Pacific Islander Coalition, the AAPI Democratic Club of San Diego as their previous president, and Viet Vote, an organization that seeks to build community voice, leaders, and meaningful relationships through civic engagement, partnerships, training, and events. Running for the position to be a delegate will allow me to ensure AAPI representation as well as providing a platform to continue to push for progressive advocacy within the Democratic Party.

Jean-Huy Tran

Hi, I’m Katie Meyer, and I am running to be an E-board member and Delegate for the California Democratic Party. I have been active in Democratic Politics since age 17, and I hope to bring my strong progressive values into the party as an E-board member.

This past primary, I worked as the Area Field Director for San Diego and Imperial Counties for the Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign. Our grassroots movement knocked on nearly 250,000 doors in the area and won every single Congressional District in the area. We were able to mobilize thousands of newly active volunteers to organize in their communities for progressive values.

I also have been active in the California Democratic Party since 2014. I was formerly the chair of the California Young Democrats Progressive Caucus and the President of the Mills College Feminist Democrats. I also led the effort to get Kimberly Ellis elected to the state party chair for Southern California in 2019. I know how to organize for progressive change in the California Democratic Party, and I am ready to fight for my values as the E-board rep for AD 78.

Too often, while in politics, I have been the only young person in the room, the only woman in the room, or the only LGBT person in the room. It is easy to get discouraged and to become disengaged. As a Delegate to the party, I want to use my experience and enthusiasm as an organizer to engage more people in the political process and work on issue-based activism. Long term investments in training leaders to run for office and know how to organize will produce wins up and down the ballot.

I want to see California lead unapologetically on our progressive values and to support single-payer healthcare, tuition-free college and student loan debt forgiveness, anti-sexual harassment protections for all workers, criminal justice reform, Green New Deal, strengthening unions, living wages, and getting money out of politics. We also must fight for racial, economic, and social justice, for women’s rights, LGBTQIA+ rights, comprehensive immigration reform, and the protection of undocumented immigrants.

Vote Katie Meyer and Vote Progressive Unity in AD 78! Feel free to contact me at

Katie Meyer

I’m Josie Caballero, and I am running for delegate and executive board because I have been a strong voice for change in my community for the past 8 years in San Diego. I will use my experience and know-how of our system to ensure that the California Democratic Party is inclusive and focused on the issues that matter to people like housing, Medicare for All, aggressive environmental action, education, and social & racial justice. There is much to be done in our Party and country after the ravages of the Trump Administration; however, I believe that with ADEMs focused on the issues, nothing is stopping us. We must do everything possible to help steer our Party into a better a progressive future.

I recently ran for Congress in CA53, fighting for Medicare for All, Green New Deal, student loan debt forgiveness, veteran’s rights, and education for all, to name some of the policies our campaign was driven to achieve. I am excited to bring my experience as a candidate to ensure that real policy is the focus of the state Party.

I am honored to be a Navy veteran, Progressive, community activist, co-chair of Activist San Diego, Bernie Sanders Delegate 2016 & 2020, ADEM 2015-2020, and a proud trans woman. I will not quit and will use my experience to drive change to the system in a way that lets everyone feel included. I am someone that will stay engaged, stay active, and stay fearless even in the face of hate and bigotry.

I look forward to the opportunity to continue my Progressive service to district 78. Together we can continue to push the Democratic Party to make the right choices regarding inclusion, intersectionality, and issues.

Josie Caballero

PROGRESSIVE UNITY SLATE. I would be honored to serve as one of your 14 delegates from Assembly District 78.

In these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever that we elect leaders of conviction who are unafraid to stand up to special interests, tackle the climate crisis, center the fight for racial equity, champion affordable health care, take on the gun lobby, support our troops and veterans, and ensure equal rights for women and the LGBTQ+ community.

I grew up in San Diego, and I’ve never been afraid to fight for what’s right.

My values led me to become a policy advocate, working with the Obama administration to protect civilians in conflict zones. Our efforts resulted in federal legislation, the inclusion of policy positions in the 2008 and 2012 national Democratic party platform, and authorization of millions of dollars for humanitarian efforts.

After Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed, I joined the Marines. I led troops overseas, became a Uniformed Victim Advocate to defend victims of sexual assault, and stood up against policies that barred women from certain jobs in the military. I was fortunate to be stationed in San Diego twice, but that experience made clear how expensive it is to live here. It is imperative that we build more affordable housing for all San Diegans.

In 2019, I left the Marines to take care of my mom, a retired public school teacher living with Multiple Sclerosis. I know how high healthcare costs can be – even with insurance. No family should have to worry about how they will pay for long-term care, childcare, or family care for a loved one.

Back in San Diego, I have turned my policy expertise into a small business that helps organizations pass progressive policy. Recently, I was part of a team that successfully passed federal legislation protecting 1.3 million acres of wilderness and creating six new National Park Service units. Even in dark times, progress is possible.

And these are dark times. As your representative, I will fight every day for a progressive agenda that lives up to America’s promise of opportunity for ALL of us. Working together, I know that we can achieve this vision. California will lead the way.

I’m proud to be endorsed by Mayor Todd Gloria, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, Assemblymember Chris Ward, and City Councilmember Sean Elo-Rivera. I would be honored to earn your vote for AD-78.

Janessa Goldbeck

My name is Maya Rosas and I’m part of the Progressive Unity Slate for the 78th Assembly District. I’m a city planner, policy wonk, and passionate advocate for affordable housing and world class transit. I have volunteered or worked on campaigns for several cycles and hope to continue to give my all towards advancing a just and equitable San Diego.

It would be my honor to serve as one of your 14 delegates from Assembly District 78 to the California Democratic Party Conventions for 2021 & 2022.


Maya Rosas

Maya Rosas

My name is Jordan Beane and I would be honored to have your vote for Assembly Delegate, just as I was lucky enough to earn it in 2019.

I currently work as the Communications Director and Environmental Policy Advisor for San Diego’s 2nd city council district. I’m proud of the environmental work that we’ve done, including passing a Climate Emergency declaration and joining the National Wildlife Foundation’s Mayor’s Monarch Pledge.

Additionally, I do my best to support other democrats year-round with phone banking, walking, and creating video content for candidates throughout San Diego.

I fully believe that our state has a long way to go before we’re the progressive bastion we want to be. I hope to move our party’s reality closer to our ideals. The time of performative politics must end.

It would be an honor to earn your vote as we become the party that leads the nation on progressive policy and ideas, making the lives of every Californian better.

Jordan Beane

It would be my honor to serve as one of the 14 delegates from Assembly District 78 to the 2021 and 2022 California Democratic Party Conventions.

As a past delegate I understand the responsibilities and commitments of this position. I hope my longtime involvement in the party and in the San Diego community will give you confidence in my ability to represent you.

During my 26 years of living in San Diego I have served as chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party, a precinct leader in my University Heights neighborhood, a past member of the city’s Stadium Advisory Board and Community Forest Advisory Board, and as a past president of San Diego Democrats for Equality.

Additionally, I have been a state and national party leader by serving as Lead Chair of the California Democratic Party (CDP) Voter Services Committee, as past chair of the CDP LGBTQ Caucus and spent 12 years as one of California’s elected members of the Democratic National Committee where I also served as chair of the 13 state Western Region Caucus of the DNC.

More important to me than the positions I’ve held is my passion for grassroots volunteerism to help our Democratic candidates succeed. I have spent hundreds of hours walking precincts and knocking on doors in order to talk to voters here in San Diego. I’ve also taken that passion on the road traveling to Nevada and Arizona joining with their local parties to successfully move those states into the blue column.

As your representative I will promote and support a progressive agenda that takes our party in a responsible and strategically successful direction.

I’m proud to have the endorsements of Mayor Todd Gloria, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, Assembly member Chris Ward, and City Council member Stephen Whitburn for my candidacy for this seat.

I hope I can also count on your support.

Democratically yours,

Jess Durfee

The Progressive Unity Slate

My name is Matt Yagyagan and I would be honored to earn your vote for 78th Assembly District delegate to the California Democratic Party State Central Committee. I am a lifelong Democrat and a native San Diegan committed to advancing racial justice and equity in our region.

I am currently the Southern California Outreach Chair for the California Democratic Party’s Asian Pacific Islander (API) caucus. In this role, I’ve been working to elect API Democrats across California, ensuring that the Party is responsive to the needs of the API community and communities of color, and developing a leadership pipeline for young leaders of color.

Locally, I am the President Emeritus of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Democratic Club. I was previously the President of AAPI Dems from 2014-2018. Under my leadership, our club was selected as the San Diego County Democratic Party’s Club of the Year in 2016 because of our advocacy for the AAPI community and our commitment to supporting Democrats running for office.

Additionally, I am a past delegate to the California Democratic Party and the San Diego County Democratic Party Central Committee. I take my role and responsibilities seriously and understand the commitment needed to faithfully and adequately represent our region.

If elected, I commit to advancing our shared values and centering an agenda around underrepresented peoples, including BIPOC communities, the LGBT community, working families, and other communities historically forced to the margins. I’ve dedicated my professional career to advancing racial justice and equity and hope to continue that work as one of your 78th Assembly District delegates.

Thank you for the opportunity to offer my statement of qualifications. I would be honored to earn your vote and represent you on the California Democratic Party State Central Committee. Thank you.

*Matt is a member of the Progressive Unity Slate

Matt Yagyagan

It would be my honor to serve as one of your 14 delegates from Assembly District 78 to the California Democratic Party Conventions for 2021 & 2022 as part of the Progressive Unity Slate.

As a climate, environmental and affordable housing advocate, I understand the responsibilities and commitments of this position in advancing a strong progressive agenda for our party.

As a native San Diego County resident, I know what work needs to be done to keep our neighborhoods safe, affordable and resilient to the climate crisis, while also elevating the voices and leadership of Black, Indigenous and People of Color to advance greater social equity and justice.

As a co-founder of a local Democratic club, and board member of many local environmental justice, LGBTQ and clean energy nonprofits, I have the unique perspective of a generation locked in a race against time to save the people and places we love from climate change, income inequality, and racial injustice.

As a Democratic volunteer, I have walked hundreds of doors in precincts across Assembly District 78, supporting progressive candidates calling for bold leadership on criminal justice reform, affordable housing, and climate change.

I am proud to join the Progressive Unity Slate in advancing a progressive agenda that uplifts the people and gets things done, and as your representative I will commit to working with all Democrats to build a strong party centered on community, equity, and justice.

Sincerely in power and unity,

Matthew Vasilakis

Matthew Vasilakis

AD78 Progressive Unity Slate

Community Activist and Lifelong Progressive Democrat

My name is Ramon Espinal. I am a recently retired classroom teacher in the San Diego Unified School District and a Union and Community Organizer. I have been active in different local San Diego Democratic Clubs.

As a progressive Democrat, I understand how crucial it is for an Democrat to be actively involved in our Party’s decision-making process, and work tirelessly to make sure that our CDP includes in its platform and advocate for issues which are paramount to our members and to save our environment, as well as to fight for social justice and to invest-in and defend public education.

I am committed to work with like minded progressive Democrats to advance the cause of our program and Party.

I will not let you down! I hope, I can count with your support. Please support our Progressive Unity Slate!

Ramon Espinal

Link to video:

My name is Kylie Taitano. I live in UTC, & currently work as a Software Engineer at Intuit. On the side, I run a local non-profit, Code with Her. We organize coding & technology workshops for young women & underserved communities across the nation. I’ve experienced firsthand how working directly for the people can help lift communities onto an even playing field. I believe the Democratic party can & should do the same.

Growing up as a native Chamorro on the US territory of Guam, all I heard about politics & government is how “they” treated us as 2nd-class. When you have less rights as a territory resident with expectations to fully submit to federal authority, you feel oppressed, disenfranchised, & have zero motive to care about politics. It’s a shame that if I were to move back home, my rights would change overnight.

Sick of being apathetic, I decided this year was the time for me to start caring. I served as the lead volunteer organizer for Bernie Sanders in the neighborhoods of UTC, University City & Clairemont. With my team of 6 dedicated volunteers, we recruited dozens more to knock on over 4000 doors & make 1000+ phone calls & text messages. I was also selected by the campaign to serve as a mentor for UCSD’s Tritons for Bernie student organization, which resulted in the group canvassing over 80% of the undergraduate dorms & making hundreds of phone calls. During the general election, I volunteered on Supervisor Lawson-Remer’s campaign, co-hosting weekly phonebanks for dozens of volunteers & helping with door to door lit-drops.

I am tired of watching career politicians ignore our needs, in favor of monied special interests. The Democratic Party needs to be centered around Progressive, People-Oriented values. I’m an everyday person & my only loyalty is to this community. I cannot be bought or sold.

Being an AD means more than just attending a few meetings a year. What I’ve learned in my short time in politics is the importance of building community. I’m excited to put in the work to do just that with the rest of the assembly delegation. I’m doing this for other reasons too: to learn, for climate change, economic inequality, education, racial injustice. At the core, however, I’m doing it for all of us. For those, like me at one point, who believe they are voiceless.

I sincerely hope to earn your vote.

Kylie Taitano

As a nation, we currently face a crux in American politics not seen for generations. Regressing to the same old status quo of political hacks and corporate shills is the last thing our country needs; it’s what gave us Trump in the first place, after all.

There’s no comfort in continued complacency.

Together we can be proactive enough to help usher in this new era of transformative change to fundamentally shift raw political power back into the hands of communities and taxpayers by:

•Addressing the climate crisis through the demands of frontline communities,

•Eliminating the privatization of corporate profits and the socialization of their financial losses to ensure housing, healthcare, and a job guarantee for all,

•Tackling the oppressive systems that perpetuate institutional racism and maintain a steadfast demand for transparency and accountability from all levels of government to us, the people.

As an honored elector for district 78, I would be fully committed to being YOUR VOICE for our state party in Sacramento.

Czeska "SES-kah" Cabuhat

My name is Vianni Ledesma and I am at least the sixth generation of my family to call San Diego home. I am a product of this city and it would be an honor to represent and serve you.

As a Latina, the unequal treatment of people only grows more apparent to me over time. Wildfires in our state and other climate disasters around the world are becoming more frequent and severe, and as a young person, illustrate that a livable future is no longer guaranteed. Unfortunately, we have allowed corporate interests to take precedence over the needs of the community and its people — us.

Insider politics maintains the status quo. As an active member of our community, I am tired of watching politics promise to do what is best for us, only to stand down to monied special interests when the time comes for our elected officials to stand up.

My only loyalty is to this community because this is my community and I am committed to being our voice for the state Democratic Party in Sacramento. I am committed to using my endorsements to promote progressive policies and candidates. I will fight for candidates who will be trusted champions of the people, who won’t fold to the influence of corporate money.

I take pride in always trying to do what is right, even if it means doing things outside my comfort zone. For the past year, that has meant dedicating myself to organizing with the Sunrise Movement fighting to restore the promise of a livable future for all generations to come and make it one that is dignified, just, and equitable. I have raised thousands of dollars for community organizations, spoken at council meetings, and phone banked and canvassed for candidates at the local through national levels. Now I am the candidate asking for your help.

Politics was not a place I ever thought I would find myself. But I’m here because I looked around, and the voices of the elite few have dominated the voices of the many. It is time for a change and the most effective change starts with ourselves. I want to see a world where climate justice, economic equality, universal education, and racial justice are both normal and expected. Progressive, people-oriented values need to be centered in the Democratic Party.

I humbly ask for your vote to help me push for the progress AD78 deserves.

Vianni Ledesma

Our future as the Democratic party depends entirely on what each of us is willing to do to protect the lives and liberties of those leading the progressive movement – a movement powered by the people.

For many of us, our stories begin with our first encounter of injustice. My first memory of it was when I moved to the United States at the age of 13 and was encountered with the reality that in this country, my existence as an immigrant was a hindrance upon my new community. The fact that my name didn’t roll off their tongue well; the fact that my accent did not match my speech; the fact that my story was one of several others’ “American Dream.” It was at that moment, and many years later, that I realized that I was not going to beg to be accepted, instead I was going to demand it.

I am a community activist, organizer, and scholar. And in this moment, I acknowledge my power.

Since 2014, I have fought for justice when I first began organizing at my alma mater, UC Merced, on issues such as women’s rights, tuition increases, Black Lives Matter, and mental health access on campus. I have fought for justice within my Latinx community as I spearheaded conversations during my time at the National Organization for Women (NOW) bringing up immigration at the core of our feminist agenda in 2015. As we have faced unprecedented times due to the Trump administration, I didn’t back out of the fight – I kept pushing and striving for progress. As a scholar on women in politics, I ensured that the discipline of political science understood that women of color would no longer be erased from our scholarship. As a fellow with Emerge California, I have witnessed the greatness that comes from a woman’s desire to represent her community upholding democratic values. It is because of this experience that I know I have the commitment and passion to prove that I will respond with bold and fearless leadership within the party.

I am running for ADEM because I think it is pivotal to recognize that my work is part of something greater. My passion for equity and justice allows me to give back and consider that I am not a single individual who may achieve something great, but that I am part of a movement that will achieve greatness. Together in this new era of the Democratic party, we are capable of becoming our ancestor’s wildest dreams.

Aurea Bolaños Perea

My name is Micah Perlin and I’m running for my third term as a community-powered Assembly District Delegate in the 78th.

As an ADEM you can count on me to fight for a Green New Deal for California and Medicare for All. You can count on me to fight for accountability for abusive police and the demilitarization of law enforcement. You can count on me to fight to rid our democracy of the influence of multinational corporations and special interests. And you can count on me to support candidates who have the courage to do the same.

Our district has some of the world’s leading climate scientists — and they have made it very clear that time is running out to respond to the climate crisis. We have barely a decade left to pivot to a carbon neutral economy, and California must lead the nation in this economic and societal transformation. This will require leadership, vision, and courage from our representatives and candidates. We cannot continue to elect Democrats that are unwilling to stand up to the fossil fuel industry and investor-owned utilities that are committed to increasing our dependence on fossil fields and harm the health of our most vulnerable communities. We cannot continue to support Democrats that take money from insurance and pharmaceutical companies while millions of families cannot afford quality medical care. We cannot continue to endorse Democrats that are more committed to their own political comfort than the health of our democracy.

Over the past three years, I have run several grassroots PACs to support progressive candidates—individuals who are smart, issues-based, and most importantly, indebted to no one but their community members. We have not won every race; but our movement has grown, both in numbers and sophistication. We are now poised to bring about transformative change and it is critical that we elect progressive delegates who will support those candidates who have the courage to lead with integrity.

If 2020 has taught us anything, we now know with certainty that we cannot rely on a government controlled by corporations to do what is right for the people. It is up to each and every one of us to actively participate in transforming our political process. The path forward is one of solidarity, community, and courage.

Thank you for your support.


Micah Perlin

My name is Melissa Elder and I’d be honored to represent our progressive values in AD 78 without bowing to special interests or dark money. My passion to help improve people’s lives led me to a career in environmental engineering. I have also worked to empower underserved Latinx communities through the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. For far too long our communities have carried the weight of the billionaires “American Dream” on our backs. I am fighting for living-wage jobs with protections people deserve. I am fighting for a country where people are not imprisoned for profit, where housing, healthcare, clean air and clean water is a right, a livable future for all which is centered on racial and economic justice. It would be an honor to serve as the people’s delegate to push for progressive progress.

I grew up in an immigrant household, lacking exposure to politics. However, I have learned our country is being held back by a lack of political will & systemic racism. While working towards addressing these issues, I began organizing with the Sunrise Movement. Millennial and Gen Z youth’s voices have been ignored in politics and our demands for a livable and equitable society have been dismissed.

Meanwhile, those in office have been corrupted by greed and left us with a broken system. As a Sunrise volunteer and an active community member, I am working to increase engagement, build community & mobilizing youth who feel like the system isn’t serving them by bringing our voices to the table through speaking at council meetings, canvassing for candidates at the local through national levels and uplifting BIPOC voices.

Insider politics is the status quo and it’s exhausting to watch politicians only pay lip service to us. When the time comes for our elected officials to stand up for us, they stand down to special interests. I am running to end this. Progressive, people-oriented values need to be centered in the Democratic Party. We are everyday people and our only loyalties are to this community. I’m running for this position for us and will not be bought or sold.

True progressives will not waver when faced with corporate money and I am committed to promoting candidates who represent our values. I’m running to make sure that the Democratic Party is the people’s party. Please help me push for the progress we deserve.

Melissa Marie Elder