Assembly District 79

District

BallotName

EBoard(*)

SelfIdentifiedFemale (SIF) OtherthanSIF (OSIF)

79 Temika M. Cook * SIF
79 Michael Jackson * OSIF
79 David Myers No OSIF
79 LaWana Richmond * SIF
79 Catherine C Appel No SIF
79 Sandra White-Stevens No SIF
79 Aeiramique Glass Blake  * SIF
79 Nadia Kean-Ayub No SIF
79 Nate Fairman No OSIF
79 Nicole Jones No SIF
79 Susan E Walsh No SIF
79 Solomon White * OSIF
79 Dan Castillo No OSIF
79 Art Scott No OSIF
79 Chaunteal Webb Candler No SIF
79 Tiffany Gonzalez No SIF
79 Angela de Joseph No SIF
79 Gilbert Brown No OSIF
79 Akilah Weber No SIF
79 Samuel Merrill No OSIF
79 Andrea Beth Damsky * SIF
79 Elvia Estrella No SIF
79 Alex Mario Aguilar Yes OSIF
79 Miriam Kanter Plotkin No SIF
79 Mark Gracyk No OSIF
79 Ajani Brown No OSIF
79 Edmond J. Perkins No OSIF
79 Shane Parmely * OSIF
79 Mejgan Afshan * SIF
79 Ismahan Abdullahi No SIF
79 Ryan Fallica No OSIF
79 Cheryl Robertson * SIF
79 Chris Lopez No OSIF
79 J. Lee Hill, Jr. No OSIF
79 Rajali Walker * OSIF
79 Mitch Wagner No OSIF
79 Romero A. Maratea No OSIF

Candidate Statements

My name is Temika M. Cook and I am running for re-election to represent the 79th Assembly District. I am running to ensure that we have diversity in race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, educational backgrounds and progressive values. I believe that EQUITY should be an integral component to issues facing my community and district. My top priorities are Criminal Justice Reform, Education, Economic Development, Healthcare and Workers Rights. Other central priorities include but are not limited to Climate Change/Environmental Issues, Reproductive Rights and Immigrants’ Rights.

I am a proud union member of the California School Employees Association (CSEA) Chapter 724 and Teamsters! I am the President of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Democratic Club of San Diego and the Coalition of Labor Union Women – San Diego County Chapter. I also serve on the Executive Boards of the San Diego Labor Democratic Club, A. Philip Randolph Institute – San Diego Chapter, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists – San Diego County, and the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council. I am a former Executive Board member of the San Diego Chapter of Pride At Work.

I believe in the core values of this party: justice for all, criminal justice reform, healthcare for all and educating our youth and other marginalized communities on the political process.

Temika M. Cook

Thank you for electing me your ADEM for the 79th Assembly District in 2019. When I ran for sheriff, I championed criminal justice reform and moved the needle on so many issues. When I ran for La Mesa City Council, I had a truly grassroots campaign. I ran not just for the politics, but to improve the quality of life in the city of La Mesa and raise important issues. Both these campaigns were not just about the position but raising issues on progressive causes, and we did.

That is why I am re-running to be an Assembly District Delegate to the democratic party. I want to continue to fight for criminal justice reform on a state level and continue the grassroots movement from my campaigns.

Assembly Delegate elections are important. These assembly district delegates vote on which platforms our party supports, which candidates to endorse on the state and federal level, and who the leadership of the party will be.

These elections happen every 2 years and decide the future of the party. Any registered Democrat can vote for up to 14 delegates including one E-board member. The election in the 79th district will be happening this Saturday.

I am running on a slate of candidates that are committed to guiding the party towards being more accountable, transparent, and inclusive. We all want to see a more progressive platform and are committed activists and organizers from throughout the district who are already doing the work to elect Democrats and for progressives causes. Thank you for your continued support.

David Myers

Hello my name is Sandra White-Stevens and I would like the opportunity to represent my community the 79th district. I Grew up in a family where my parents stressed the importance of being involved in our community, making our voice’s heard and voting. Because it was our civic duty and most importantly because of the sacrifices my ancestors made just so I can have that right. I am a proud Democrat and have tried to passed on the tradition of voting and making their voices heard on to my 3 kids. When I first turned 18 and registered to vote I didn’t start off as a Democrat because back then I didn’t want to be labeled like a lot of young people, but I quickly realized that being a registered Independent had its limitations which forced me to research both the Republican and Democratic Party. I decided that no party is perfect but the Democratic party aligned more with me as a person. Issues like a woman’s right to choose, equal rights, civil rights and environmental protections are just some of the Democratic parties beliefs that helped me realize that I am a proud Democrat and I will honored if chosen, to represent my district as a Democrat!

Sandra White-Stevens

“I am running to help refocus politics on the people, putting people over profits and staying connected to the community, uplifting the voices of the voters and those whose voices have been silenced and suppressed.”

Aeiramique Glass Blake known to most as Meeka has a 10 year background in mental health and has been working in the juvenile justice field for nearly 15 years. She is one of the leading restorative justice practitioners in San Diego County and the Director of a youth and student activism, organizing and advocacy organization, Generation Justice. As a sought after advisor on racial justice & equity Aeiramique serves on multiple advisory boards representing communities of color, working to keep public officials and systems, transparent and accountable.

Aeiramique is a former candidate for the 51st congressional district.

Aeiramique Glass Blake

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.”

Herman Melville’s quote embodies why I wish to serve as a California Assembly delegate for district 79.

I am seeking service to amplify the voice of my community and to bring their unique needs to those that can dictate their lives.

My non-profit commitments can be found on my page https://www.facebook.com/Nadia-Kean-Ayub-584005825614339/, but that is only service in status. To truly be representative of our communities I believe we must be immersed in hands on service, which I apply both to my work and my volunteer efforts.

This privilege has allowed me to recognize the need for Universal Healthcare, because no one should choose between financial ruin and debilitating sickness. Health should be allowed to all Californian’s, not just those that can afford it.

Police reform dictates that conversations should only be centered on local agencies when in fact policies and culture run far deeper and through both State and Federal mindsets. It is a conversation that must be had, including removing the idea that agencies can only oversee themselves.

I believe in the decriminalization and destigmatization of mental health. Tying into reform, we need to remove Mental Crisis response from a defensive one, to one that removes the fear of repercussions and allows for people to get help.

Like all change, it must be pushed forward by the voices most affected and often most marginalized, but change we must; for Democracy cannot move forward without the voices of those that came out to save it.

Nadia Kean-Ayub

Eastlake Bonita Democrats President

City Of Chula Vista Human Relations Commissioner

PFLAG San Diego County Board Secretary

SouthBay Alliance Board Secretary

Pantsuit Nation Regional Leader San Diego

Nadia Kean-Ayub

I am currently serving the 79th assembly district as an appointed Delegate. I am a community activist, San Diego State University Lecturer and Community College Dean. I serve as an Associate member of the Democratic Women’s Club of San Diego and I am a member of the San Diego Democratic Central Committee.

I am a proud supporter and advocate for workers’ rights. I am the Vice-President for Administrators Association, a member of California Faculty Association and a Delegate to San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council. For the last eight years, I have worked as a facilitator with the Anti-Defamation League, providing anti-bias education for schools, city government and corporations like Qualcomm. I provide executive leadership training and coaching to organizations dealing with cultural change. I am an advocate for change and social justice.

If elected, I will continue to uphold the values of the Democratic Party as a Delegate from the 79th assembly district to the California State Convention. I am asking for your vote so I can continue to be a strong representative and advocate for all members of the California Democratic Party.

Nicole Jones

Hello, neighbors!

My name is Dan Castillo (he/him/his). I am a first generation Mexican-American and lifelong San Diegan. I am asking for your support to continue representing my home district, AD79, in the work I do within the county and state Democratic Party.

I come from a family of educators, and have seen what can happen when we enable others to make informed decisions for themselves and their community. I think that is why Progressives feel frustrated so often with our Democratic leadership- we see the potential for so much good, to help the most vulnerable, to lift us all up- and yet, incremental changes and half-effort policies leave us unable to address our shared challenges.

Coalition building will be a critical part of getting Progressive policies implemented in our communities- that is much of the work done in CADEM. I am humbly asking for your vote so we can continue the groundwork needed for real change. Not me, us! Thank you for reading this far- stay safe and wear a mask!

Dan Castillo

I am honored to serve the 79th Assembly District in being elected a Delegate.  As a San Diego native, I have great interest in my community, and its shaping.  In order to evoke change, we must first address problems. With the injustices in all aspects of life during 2020, we have seen progress, very hopeful progress and that is why now is the time to accelerate.  Issues at the forefront when I think of a better district include: 1) Education, in guaranteeing unbiased access on all levels/areas,  equitable financial literacy (homeownership and business development opportunities); 2) Unity through  providing stability to our unsheltered communities, criminal  justice reformation and police reimaging; and 3) Speaking life via equitable healthcare options to to include: mental health/counseling, and additional opportunities to the well being of our seasoned (elderly) residents.  

The above are a few examples of issues that have been keeping low income and communities of color at an alarming mismatched ratio to other communities. One must be the change they wish to see. I am prepared to have the tough discussions, demand answers and be a part of the solution. I vow to represent the people of 79AD and fight for rights and privileges which are to be equally afforded.

Chaunteal Webb-Candler

My name is Tiffany Gonzalez and it is an honor to have your consideration for the opportunity to serve as a delegate for the 79th Assembly District. I am a parent, an educator, and an activist, and I’m running because I believe in stepping up to represent the changes we need to see in order to move forward in a more equitable and inclusive way. I am committed to that end and am proud to run alongside other capable and strong-minded Democrats with progressive visions.

I was born and raised in the Imperial Valley and after retiring from Naval service, made my home in San Diego county where I have lived for over a decade. I am a proud alum of California State University, San Marcos where I earned my BA in Sociology with a concentration in health, education, and welfare and gained a sincere appreciation for the need to expand and increase accessibility to these resources to advance our Democratic values and improve the lives of our most underrepresented and underserved.

I have joined and led several area organizations serving families, youth and the LGBTQ+ community. I carry a genuine passion for community empowerment through education and advocacy and in 2020, I received the Chair’s Award from the San Diego County Democratic Party for my years of service to the San Diego community. I have enjoyed and struggled through the politics of organizing and creating change, and I pride myself on my unfaltering dedication to these efforts to engineer social change through my embodiment and vocalization of our party’s most progressive values and goals.

I believe in equity for all and a government that is truly representative of its people. I am prepared to show up and do the work it takes in our Assembly District Delegation to push progress forward and authentically represent the 79th district as we guide the Democratic party’s work.

To learn more, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWmN7XcObgE

Tiffany Gonzalez

Representation matters. For the last four years I have represented you as a Delegate for the 79th Assembly District and am currently also a member of the Rules Committee. I have represented you as Black Woman who understands the importance of keeping issues such as systemic racism, sexism, social and environmental justice on the forefront of the Democratic platform. I have represented you as a mother who believes that investing in and advocating for our children is the only way this Country will continue to advance forward. No child should be left behind and every child should have access to top notch education regardless of their race, gender or socioeconomic status. I have represented you as a physician who intimately understands that health care is a human right and our Party must lead the effort in ensuring that everyone has healthcare. As a physician who specializes in caring for women, it is imperative that we fight to preserve the right for a woman to choose what she will or will not do with her body. Yes, representation matters and I am asking for your vote once again so that I can continue to represent you. Thank you.

Akilah Weber

I am interested in becoming an Assembly District Delegate because I firmly believe in actively participating in America’s democratic system. I have a strong passion and commitment for making a positive difference in my community. My experience as a 25+ year City of San Diego employee (Program Manager), Municipal Management Association of Southern California (past Board member), Board member for San Diego Chapter of the Black American Political Association of California, and City of San Diego Black Employees Association Board member, along with my education (M.S Management, B.S Education) allow me to be a capable and active delegate that will represent the 79th Assembly District in an honorable manner. I am also a proud retired veteran of the United States Air Force. I am an individual that has a true desire to serve.

Samuel Merrill

Andrea Beth Damsky is a 10-year resident of La Mesa. She has been a Commissioner on La Mesa’s Environmental Sustainability Commission since 2017, and was recently elected to her second term as its Chair.

~ If you prefer to see this statement on video, click here: https://youtu.be/DwaDGCiyMYM

Andrea Beth is a Delegate to the California Democratic Party, and Associate Member of the San Diego County Democratic Party. She is a member of the Resolutions Committees of both organizations, providing input and assistance to resolution authors. Andrea Beth is a member of the East Area Caucus of the San Diego County Democratic Party, helping Democrats get elected with voter registration drives, fundraisers, canvassing, and more.

As an active leader in the Democratic Party, Andrea Beth provides insight and advice to candidates and elected officials on a variety of issues of importance in our region.

Andrea Beth has been a political activist since her teen years, advocating for equal rights for women, reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, environmental quality, climate change, healthcare, worker’s rights, and more. Her activism took root in the early 1980s, campaigning for the Equal Rights Amendment, and for health care during the AIDS epidemic.

Professionally, Andrea Beth is a National Board-Certified Acupuncturist and Applied Clinical Nutritionist. As a healthcare professional, she advocates for healthier communities through strong environmental policy and healthcare access. She is a bridge builder between communities and generations, supporting issues of vital importance to our community – immigration reform, racial justice, and equity, to name a few.

Andrea Beth and her wife Randye are in their early senior years. Randye is a Marine veteran and Union Ironworker. Their personal life together brings awareness of veteran, union, and senior concerns to Andrea Beth’s political activism.

Her pronouns are she/her/hers.

How do you vote? Request your ballot here (deadline is January 11, but do it early!):

Home

You will receive an email confirmation with your voter ID number, which you will need to put on your ballot. Your paper ballot will arrive by mail mid-January, with a self-addressed, stamped envelope which must be RECEIVED no later than January 27th in order to be counted. Mail it early!

Thank you for voting for Andrea Beth Damsky!

Andrea Beth Damsky

As a dedicated educator and mental health practitioner, I understand that we cannot be silent in times of crisis. Our constituents need to have a voice advocating for our mental health needs that have been surging during this pandemic. We are all experiencing trauma as students, families and community members. As a public school counselor, I have witnessed students experiencing mental health crisis. I have conducted more risk assessments for self-harm in one semester than the culmination of my career in public education. We all understand that we need to remain safe, yet our Latinx and African American populations have been disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 virus. All of families are experiencing crisis of economic uncertainties, loss of employment, and loss of shelter. These are hard times and we need the voice of our community to be represented.

I have 25 years of experience as a social worker and high school counselor in public education. I also teach at a local college training future school counselors to address the needs of our students, academically and their social/emotional needs. I am a proud member of the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the California Faculty Association (CFA). If elected as your representative, I will be your voice to advocate for the mental health needs of our children, our families and our community, as well as being a voice for our schools in public education.

Elvia Estrella, Ed. D.

My name is Alex Mario Aguilar former Marine Ssgt of 14yrs. Currently I am an employee at PKL Services, contacting at VMFAT-101 at MCAS Miramar. I’m union member of The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Also I’m pursuing my Political Science degree. I’m a combat Veteran that completed three combat tours. During my time in the Service, I learned how to become an effective leader. I achieve it by learning from good and bad leadership alike. I was in the Squadron VMFA(AW)-121 and served with some outstanding leaders. I worked in the Ordnance Division and had up 22 Marines under my charge. Four of which are now Marine officers. I have strong moral values as well as hard work ethic. I departed the Marines due to Health conditions and was the hardest thing I had to do. I’m a strong supporter for Veteran mental health and suicide prevention because it does work.

I would like to become a voting member because I want to begin to give back to the community and start helping the less fortunate. I believe I can start making a difference especially when the Nation, State, and even communities needs strong leadership and policies to achieve this and start gaining the trust lost in the government at all levels.

Alex Mario Aguilar

Miriam Kanter Plotkin has actively attended the CA State Democratic conventions for decades, sharing the info widely, encouraging others, helping to write/edit the platform/resolutions, as well as educate thru the many caucuses (commitees). Locally, Miriam has done the same on the Dem County Central Committee and several Dem Clubs, having a general, not a specific focus. Miriam works for all Dems and potential Democrats. Voter registration and helping others donate to the Dem Party are ongoing issues for her. Miriam believes in fair education, employment, environment, and equality for all. Fair employment means fair wages, hours, and working conditions. For more info, please contact Miriam (me) anytime at ToSendM@gmail.com or 619 469-4200 (phone or text). Thank you for voting, however you choose. Please assist the Party and yourself by voting for Miriam Plotkin.

Miriam Kanter Plotkin

Hi everyone, I’m Mark Gracyk, a Southern California native and a long time Lemon Grove resident and homeowner. I am also a SDSU graduate and my wife and I raised our two children here. I served our country in the US Army and our local community in many ways. Beginning as a youth soccer coach and Scouting leader and then in many different roles at our parish. I helped our town’s electoral process by first working as a poll watcher, then a precinct captain and finally hosting a polling location in our own garage for several election cycles. My passion for public service began 12 years ago and I served 8 years on the Lemon Grove School Board Proposition W committee. Since 2016 I have served as your elected district representative on the Helix Water Board. Having just been re-elected I know what it takes to get results that benefit our entire community. As Board President I helped craft protections for our most vulnerable neighbors during this pandemic. At my urging we froze water rates, suspended late fees, and eliminated shut offs. I believe that access to safe, clean water ensures human dignity for all.

Our community is truly a diverse one as my own life experience reflects that diversity. As the son of a Mexican immigrant mother and whose wife is also a Mexican immigrant, I have a deep understanding of the needs, wants and desires of our Latinx community. But make no mistake, I will work for everyone in our community. I stand firmly for the Democratic principles of inclusivity, fairness, equity and equal opportunity for all and as your ADEM delegate I will work hard to make sure our party reflects those values. Elect me and you will have a fierce advocate for all of us, who will not back down from supporting the issues in which we believe. I can count on the support of many fellow elected officials, labor and grassroots organizations. I am a member of and active in numerous San Diego County Democratic Clubs. I have also supported many local Democratic candidates with my time, treasure, counsel and endorsement. I stand ready to continue serving our community and I am grateful to you for your support. Thank you.

Mark Gracyk

Assembly Democrats voters, I am Ajani Brown, a San Diego native, San Diego State University Professor and Academic Senator. As a candidate for the ADEM elections, I humbly seek your vote. Working in higher education has afforded me the opportunity to champion various initiatives, focused on improving enrollment rates of students from the African American and LatinX communities and increasing promotional opportunities and employment for women faculty of color. Additionally, I have lobbied, at the State Capitol, on behalf of the California Faculty Association for wage increases for all faculty, and again for the California State University System Ethnic Studies, resulting in Assembly Bill 1460 being signed into law. Still further, I was recently named Chair of the Applied, Alternative Policing Curriculum Committee, whose police reform mission, is to develop university level courses for law enforcement, prioritizing de-escalation techniques and community engagement, regarding predominately African American neighborhoods. My service as an educator has created a platform for me to influence lawmakers and university system policy. If elected I will continue to perform, to the best of my ability, for the greater good.

Ajani Brown

The past 4 years have been unbelievably difficult to say the least, especially those of us battling unending human rights violations. We are successfully and thankfully turning the page and must continue to bring about sustainable Progressive change. As Co Founder of Borderlands for Equity, a pro bono, civil rights, nonprofit serving our San Diego County borderlands region, I have made it my mission to center the voices and fight for our most impacted community members to ensure equity at all levels of our community. Last month, I was elected Treasurer to the San Diego Refugee Forum, a coalition of dozens of individuals, ethnic-community based organizations and nonprofits, resettlement agencies, and local city and county government offices. I have almost 20 years of experience serving our community in various capacities and I am inspired to serve as delegate for the 79th district. I will support our BIPOC, refugee, and Muslim communities in engaging more with the progressive policy changes that are long over due. We need transformational leadership to help turn a new leaf and create a clear path towards increasing our accessibility and resources for the most vulnerable and I am just that. I would appreciate your vote, and be honored to represent our beautiful 79th State Assembly as a delegate. Thank you for your consideration.

Mejgan Afshan

My name is Ismahan Abdullahi and I am running as a delegate for the 79th district. I envision a better world where we are actively working on dismantling white supremacy, uplifting and centering those who are most impacted by inequity and injustice. Addressing the most prevalent issues we have today with a racial equity lens is critical. We must usher in an era where healthcare for all, a living wage, a green new deal and upward economic mobility for our most impacted are not just dreams but a reality.

I served as a community advocate for over a decade in different capacities. As a fierce advocate, community organizer and an unapologetic Black Muslim Somali refugee woman, I am passionate and relentless in working for justice and equity. My experiences has shaped me to advocate for and work on building and strengthening Muslim and refugee communities in San Diego for over a decade where I served as a board member for multiple local community-based organizations and institutions, including the Islamic School of San Diego, Islamic Center of San Diego, Huda Community Center and countless others. I have worked to train and develop a leadership pipeline for youth and community leaders.

I served as the Director of Movement and Campaign Strategies at PANA, where I helped to build a newly founded organization to build grassroots community power through organizing, advocacy, designing and implementing a civic engagement infrastructure in refugee communities, developing leaders, and using an integrated voter engagement strategy to build a visible refugee electorate. I continue to be engaged in and work on issues that address racial disparities, social injustices, equity and inclusion for marginalized communities. I am a former co-host on Flip the Script: The Future is Female podcast which lifts up women game changers in San Diego county. I also served as a member of the Strategic Council for statewide tables Mobilizing the Immigrant Vote and Steering Committee member for Power California as well as a representative on California Calls’ African-American Civic Engagement Program.

I currently serve as the National Executive Director for the Muslim American Society’s Public Affairs and Civic Engagement Department. I look forward to serving the 79th district as a delegate who can represent the voice of community in spaces that have long been inaccessible to many.

Ismahan Abdullahi

I am running as a delegate candidate in the 79th Assembly District to amplify the voices of those who call for progressive solutions and action from the Democratic Party. If the COVID pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that there are too many areas in which the current systems are failing our fellow community members. In the recovery from this pandemic we have an opportunity and an obligation to build back systems that more effectively protect and support the least fortunate among us as well as the community at large.

As an engineer, I see problems as puzzles and solutions as challenges that I can’t wait to figure out. We face many challenges, from a lack of affordable housing and healthcare to underfunded schools and infrastructure. I believe that the challenges we face will not fix themselves, but through advocacy, activism and planning we can bring solutions to the forefront that satisfy our needs for safety, security and justice.

I don’t have all the answers. There are many people and organizations in our community that are doing great work and advancing necessary causes. I believe that I can assist in elevating these causes, and as a team player, I am eager to work together with the thought leaders and advocates among us in order to realize the progressive goals we set.

I am a San Diego native, a long-time La Mesa resident, and would be honored to earn your vote in this ADEM election.

Ryan Fallica

I am Cheryl Robertson – teacher, mother, education advocate, and social justice activist. I am running to be an AD79 delegate to drive our party toward progressive policy and meet the needs of our most marginalized communities. My husband and I have fostered children of all different backgrounds and the inequities among our communities is obvious. We desperately need delegates who will look at our needs as a community and vote for candidates and policy platforms that will secure our well-being for the generations to come.

I support bold climate action and the Green New Deal. I believe we need to ensure equitable access to healthcare through Medicare for All. We need to reform our criminal justice system and get rid of private, for-profit prisons, while putting money into our communities instead of our police forces. I believe we need to address our housing crisis through rent control, housing for all programs, and providing comprehensive assistance for our homeless populations through mental health services, employment services, housing transition programs, and follow-up services. Homelessness is not a crime.

I am a strong feminist and believe in women’s rights, including protecting access to a safe abortion. I support immigrant rights, refugee rights, livable wages, unions, equitably funding our public education systems, ending the school to prison pipeline, protecting the right to vote for everyone, ensuring LGBTQ+ rights and equality, and creating a nation-wide comprehensive gun control system.

It is time for progress, it is time for real solutions, it is time for a better future for all.

I am happy to answer any questions and can be reached at cheryl4progress@gmail.com.

Cheryl Robertson

Let it be known that in The Labor Movement the owners of business shall not dictate our wages, our working conditions, or our benefits. We the people deserve a say in the decision making process. Health care is not a privilege, but a necessity just like the air we breathe. Humankind has a right to them. I believe in Medicare for all, Unions for all, and an Environment that my children and their children can be proud of. My friends that is Justice, and justice will reign in our Union.

Chris Lopez

My name is Rajali Walker and I would be honored to serve as an elected delegate in representation of the 79th district. I was born in Tucson Arizona to two native San Diegans. My roots were always in this community and so, after graduating from the University of Arizona, I felt an urgent need to return to the place I had always called home. My family in San Diego stretches back generations. My deep connection to the community prompted me to return to San Diego.

I attended the University of San Diego and began teaching here in the schools that were in the most need. I taught for twenty years here in junior high and high school in Morse, Bell, and Wilson. My involvement in the lives of my students made my involvement in my civic duties that much more necessary.

I recently changed careers and joined the 569 electrical workers union. The activity of the union has reinvigorated my impetus in civic engagement. I’ve been using more of my free time to attempt to make the world better for my two young children. As I extend my efforts I am actively trying to influence my children to also be active participants in the community. My daughter has taken hold of the ideology of action and is so much the better for it.

We are truly blessed to live in America’s finest city but there are still issues that need to be addressed. Education, homelessness, income inequality along with the widening wealth gap are all things that we need to correct in order for San Diego to live up to its lofty moniker.

Rajali Walker

Rajali Y Walker