AD78: Southern Coastal San Diego County

What are Assembly District Delegates?

Every two years, the CA Democrats elect 7 self-identified females and 7 other than self-identified females from each Assembly District in CA as delegates to the state party. Those who are elected will have a chance to vote for the new party chair and other leadership. The race is hotly contested and will determine how welcoming, grassroots-focused and innovative the party becomes or how beholden it will remain to big money interests.

Delegates elect Party officers, endorse candidates for statewide, legislative and congressional office, attend the annual convention, network with other Democrats, represent your constituency, promote the California Democratic Party agenda, and vote to endorse resolutions and ballot measures.

You get 14 votes for delegates, 1 of which you must also vote for Executive Board Representative.

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Voting Time & Location

Date: Sunday, January 13, 2019
Doors Open: 12:00pm
Candidate Speeches Begin: 12:30pm
Registration & Voting: 1:00pm-3:00pm

Musicians Association of San Diego County
1717 Morena Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92110

*Any registered Democrat living in the district is eligible to vote. On-site voter registration is available for those not registered as Democrats.

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Your Progressive Candidates

Susan Peinado

President, Democratic Woman’s Club of San Diego County

Also vote for Susan for e-board rep.

Tama Becker-Varano

Founder, Change Begins With ME (Indivisible CD 52)

Bernadette Butkiewicz

Political Organizer, United Association of Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union 230

Maleeka Marsden

Organizer and Climate Justice Advocate and Organizer, Climate Action Campaign

Merrin Muxlow

Mother/Vice President, Point Loma Democratic Club

Gretchen Newsom

Political Director, IBEW 569

Codi Vierra

South State Regional Director, California Young Democrats

Jordan Beaune

Communications Director/Policy Advisor, San Diego City Councilmember Jennifer Campbell

Ramón Espinal

Delegate, California Teachers Association State Council

Joe LaCava

Housing and Public Policy Consultant

Kevin Lourens

Secretary, San Diego Progressive Democratic Cub

Brian Polejes

Union Organizer/SEIU Local 1000*

Micah Perlin

President, We The People – San Diego County

Gregg Robinson

Teacher/Political VP, American Federation of Teachers 1931

Your Progressive Executive Board Candidate

Vote for Delegate AND Executive Board Rep.
Susan Peinado

President, Democratic Woman’s Club of San Diego County

Detailed Information

Susan Peinado

I, Susan Peinado, ask for your vote for re-election as ADEM delegate 78th Assembly District. I also humbly ask for your vote as Executive Board member 78th Assembly District delegation to the California Democratic Convention. This increased responsibility would enable me to continue striving to:
– protect women’s rights to reproductive care
– vote for policies and candidates supporting single-payer healthcare for all,
paid maternal/paternal leave, including paid family sick leave
– support policies and candidates demanding at least a $15 minimum wage, equal
pay for women, and free quality education to build up a workforce that earns good
paying employment for California workers
– protect a worker’s right to a Union
– support policies and candidates who work for environmental, social and racial
– support policies and candidates who understand the crisis driving the need for
criminal justice reform, independent police oversight and reduction of gun violence
– make sure endorsed candidates agree to ban fossil fuel extraction, divest from big
oil, invest our monetary resources into sustainable energy
– maintain efforts to level the playing field for California residents by continuing to support policies and candidates who understand we must share the burden of running a safe, educated, modern, healthy state with increased taxes for the wealthy, and on unearned and inherited income.

As your ADEM representative, my focus will remain on supporting “fair elections” financing and a democracy in which each of us is represented and has a voice — and a government that works for every American, not just the wealthy few, enforcing tougher rules to ensure politicians can’t be bought by whoever has the most money.

I am president and co-founder of the Democratic Woman’s Club of San Diego County, the immediate past president of the Point Loma/OB Democratic Club, an elected member of the San Diego County Democratic Party (SDCDP) Club Development Committee, an appointed member of the SDCDP Women’s Committee and an associate member of the SDCDP Central Committee. Most recently I volunteered on San Diego City Council campaigns for Monica Montgomery, Jen Campbell and Vivian Moreno. I have held fundraisers and worked on numerous campaigns including David Alvarez and Georgette Gomez. I assisted with Women of Color ROAR Breakfast and am currently working with The 1619 National Celebration of Black Women.

I’ve been a Girl Scout leader, held PTA leadership positions, receiving two volunteer- of-the-year awards and recently completed board service at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park. I taught in Duval County, FL integrating an all-black school under court ordered integration. I was a caregiver to both my mother and my husband, the mother of two grown children and the grandmother of the cutest grandchild ever born.

It has been an honor to serve you as your delegate to the Democratic State Convention. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Tama Becker-Varano

I would be honored to represent AD 78 with fresh eyes and a determination to hold party leaders accountable for mitigating and proactively solving our cataclysmic climate crisis as well as the immediate threats of poverty, including food insecurity, housing, and fair wages. Additional issues of priority are gun violence prevention, criminal justice reform, Medicare for all, election reform, increasing diversity in leadership at all levels, and expanding women’s rights through equal pay and deliberate action through education and policy to end a culture of harassment and violence against women.  

As a lifelong California Democrat, I had to laugh when I was shown my voter profile, let’s just say I’m very predictable. However, like many progressive Democrats, I have not always been satisfied with the Democratic Party, and at times have found it the lesser of two evils. Before 2016, I was a CPA by day and an environmental activist when time allowed. Today, I’m practically a 24/7 multi-issue activist and CPA by night in the wee hours. I am also the treasurer for the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility.

In January 2017, I founded Change Begins With ME (CBWM), an Indivisible group located in University City. Through CBWM I’ve organized and hosted monthly meetings with guest speakers on important and progressive issues, created an activist book club, presented activist movie nights, held GOTV events and more. Over the last two years, my world has expanded exponentially with a spectrum of new and wonderful activist friendships across San Diego and the state. With fellow Indivisible leaders, I meet with our Congressperson every 6-8 weeks and with Feinstein’s staff every quarter. I am the co-founder of Be the Vote, a coalition of local organizations collaborating to increase voter turnout during the 2018 primary and mid-term elections and beyond. I am also a brand-new member of the recently founded University City Democratic Club.

I attended my first CADEM debate in 2017 and my first California Democratic convention in 2018 for a glimpse of this massive machine. I have been pleased to watch San Diego turn increasingly blue since moving here in 1990 and find even greater reward seeing it turn more progressive of late. With CBWM holding strong, the next natural step is for me to advance a greater progressive offensive from within the party

I would greatly appreciate your vote!

Bernadette Butkiewicz

My name is Bernadette Butkiewicz and I’m a young progressive activist who fights to empower people to use their voice, their vote, and their civil liberties to increase voter engagement. As a native San Diegan and a local organizer, I am dedicated to the betterment of my community.

Serving on the Bond Oversight Committee for San Diego Unified School District Prop S and Z funds for the past two years, I’ve overseen San Diego Unified school districts spending on our future generations. As an alumna of San Diego Unified, I’ve seen our campuses improve and transform to implement new vocational learning spaces and teaching career-based learning skills that have improved career readiness and pride in student work.

My efforts as an Organizer within the United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local Union #230 are focused towards recruitment and retention of women in the trade. Establishing the Sisters in Solidarity program three years ago, we’ve managed to create a mentor program to increase retention which has overall doubled the number of women in the pipe trades union today. Dedicated to the improvement of equality for all women I founded and was elected as President by my peers to the Coalition of Labor Union Women San Diego Chapter, our chapter goals of empowering all women in their workplace and at home has bolstered much support among local elected officials. My hard work and coalition building with local elected officials was recognized by my Assembly member Todd Gloria when I earned the ‘2018 Women of the Year Award- Assembly District 78. He recognized me for not only organizing within my trade but also my community.

I am currently proudly serving as a Board Member of the San Diego Labor Democratic Club, an alternate to our local Democratic Central Committee, and a former Membership Director to San Diego County Young Democrats. I am dedicated to getting young people involved in our process for they are our future.

Thank you for your time and consideration, it would be a great honor to have your vote.

Instagram/ Twitter @Bernadette_SD

Maleeka Marsden

I’m a Climate Justice Advocate and Organizer with Climate Action Campaign, San Diego’s leading climate watchdog organization. We work to stop climate change through policy action at the local level. 

I am running because our elected leaders must prioritize bold climate action. The recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report gives us 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe through a swift and large-scale transition to a carbon-neutral economy. As we race to achieve this goal, a transition to a green economy provides the Democratic Party a means to fulfill its biggest agendas, including social, economic, racial, and gender-based justice.

As an Assembly District Delegate, I would urge the California Democratic Party to prioritize the transition to a carbon-neutral economy that protects and uplifts disadvantaged and frontline communities while providing stringent labor protections for middle-class jobs.

If elected, I will advocate for the strong steps required for a sustainable, equitable, livable planet not just for future generations, but for humanity today.

Merrin Muxlow

I am proud to have served AD78 these past two years as an ADEM delegate and proud to be running for re-election this year! I’m the Vice President of the Point Loma Democratic Club, a board member at Ocean Beach People’s Co-op, a mom of 2 toddlers, and a high school humanities teacher and tutor. 

As a lifelong Californian, I know that our state leads the nation in countless positive ways. But we’re also among the top-ranked states in terms of income inequality. A groundswell of progressive leadership within the Democratic Party needs a critical mass of voices to advance policies that support working families: comprehensive paid family leave, universal preschool, Medicare for all, community public schools, tuition-free college, and public banking. We also need bold, immediate action on climate change. As a delegate, I’ll work to support progressive candidates within the party that share these policy goals.

As David Bowie said, “tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming.” The best possible future is one that prioritizes opportunity for all Californians. I would be honored to serve as a delegate and do my part to ensure that the California Democratic Party commits to bold progressive action in the coming years.

Gretchen Newsom

My name is Gretchen Newsom, and I am a community leader, progressive mother, and advocate of working families.

As a CDP delegate, I will work tirelessly to strengthen civic engagement and increase voter registration. And I will continue my work to #RESIST and take back the White House and Congress while also lifting up the concerns of workers and labor. 

I work as the Political Director for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 569 one of the most progressive unions in the nation – and I organize efforts to invest in good-paying, green-collar local jobs. This past election cycle, I organized efforts and resources to win dozens of progressive political victories – including flipping District 2 of San Diego City Council and electing Dr. Jen Campbell to office. 

My experience and skills are diverse and emphasize the importance of getting involved and striving to make a difference. 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, enhancing community dialogue, and maintaining our unique vibe. 

I also serve on the California Employment Training Panel and support economic development through strategic partnerships with business, labor, and government. 

I previously worked for former CDP Chairman Phil Angelides in a variety of roles for 8+ years, including Special Assistant at the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a partnership with Magic Johnson and Canyon Partners on the creation of affordable rental housing, and as a Deputy Policy Director on his gubernatorial campaign in 2006.

Many know me as an advocate, avengeress, and agitator. I look forward to working with you, and I would be honored to have your vote.

Twitter / Instagram: @GretchenNewsom

Codi Vierra

Hi, my name is Codi Vierra, and I hope to earn your support to become a delegate for Assembly District 78.

I moved to San Diego several years ago in order to attend UC San Diego, where I served on the Executive Board of the College Democrats for two years and as the Executive Director of the Student Organized Voter Access Committee.

I oversaw the registration of thousands of students to vote, and also helped train students to talk to state legislators about issues most important to us. I’ve interned and served as staff on multiple local campaigns, and volunteered on many more.

I currently serve on the Executive Board of the California Young Democrats as the South State Regional Director, and serve as the Southern Vice Chair of its Women’s Caucus. I also serve as the Director of Membership of a local chapter, the San Diego County Young Democrats, and on the San Diego County Democratic Party’s Club Development Committee. I’ve helped friends and interns start high school and college chapters throughout San Diego County, helping us maintain our title as the largest region within CYD, and helping to grow our party.

As a progressive, my goal is to advocate for policies, legislation, and candidates that will advance justice in all aspects of our society. Some of my top issue priorities include single payer healthcare, tuition- and debt-free college, a living wage, affordable housing, criminal justice reform, and reversing climate change.

We also need to ensure that we elect a new Chair of the California Democratic Party that will help end the culture of harrassment, abuse, and bullying that so many, especially Young Democrats, have experienced within our party.

I’m running to be a delegate for Assembly District 78 because I’m ready to help us push for further progress in California on all fronts, and achieve greater justice for all.

Thank you, and I would be honored to have your vote.

Jordan Beane

My name is Jordan Beane and I’m asking for your vote to be an assembly delegate for the 78th district.

I am currently the Communications Director/Policy Advisor for San Diego City Councilmember Jennifer Campbell with a focus on the environment. I was also a candidate for San Diego’s 2nd city council seat in this past cycle, providing me with a real understanding of the issues facing working families, seniors and renters in our city. Beyond my job at City Hall, I am a fellow with the Truman Project, a progressive foreign policy organization as well as a director on the Pacific Beach Town Council. 

Besides running for office, I’ve been very involved in local democratic politics. I’ve volunteered for many campaigns, even making videos for democratic candidates to help them reach more voters. I’ve knocked on doors, made phone calls and done everything I can to make sure we get Democrats elected. Now I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and helping out at a state level.

We have a lot of problems in our state and it’s time that we commit to big ideas to make things better for every Californian.

If elected, a few of the things I’ll fight for are:

Equal pay for women

Medicare for All

Paid Family Sick Leave

Right to Unionize

criminal justice reform

inclusionary housing

environmental justice

 habitat conservation

divesting from big oil 

publicly financed elections

These are just a few of the big issues we must take on as we try to show the rest of the nation what an enacted progressive agenda can look like. 

I look forward to earning your vote. Feel free to get in touch with me Ð you can find me on twitter at @jordanbeane_SD. 

Let’s make progressive change happen!

Ramón Espinal

My name is Ramón Espinal. I’m running as a member of a team of progressive Democratic brothers and sisters as AD78 delegate. 

I have been a classroom teacher for over 25 years. Beyond my commitment to my profession, I am a union and community organizer. Currently, I am serving as my Local representative at the CTA State Council. 

I am committed to strengthening and expanding the work of our Party. 

Please vote for me and my brothers and sisters on the Progressive Unity Slate.

Joe LaCava

I am the son of immigrants, my father was a union leader and my wife is a public school kindergarten teacher. Professionally, I am a self-employed consultant on housing and public policy. I am a community activist and servant leader who works with disparate voices and stakeholders.

 I serve on the eBoard of Democrats for Environmental Action and the Endorsement Committee of the YIMBY Democrats. I am a member of 16 democratic clubs and a charter member of the University City Democrats. This election cycle I focused on defeating Measure E (privatizing public land aka SoccerCity) by building support through democratic clubs and the Central Committee—we prevailed with 69% voting no. I also briefed local candidates on policy issues, walked and phone banked in council races, contributed to 18 candidates, and walked the Unite Here picket line.

I co-chair Build Better San Diego, a coalition of labor and social justice organizations, fighting for affordable housing, expanded transit, and good-paying jobs. I regularly meet with social, economic, and climate justice organizations for round table strategy sessions. I am vice-chair of the City’s Citizens Advisory Board on Police/Community Relations addressing Racial Profiling among other issues and I sat on the City’s Consolidated Plan Advisory Board allocating federal funds to low-income neighborhoods. I was appointed by then Speaker Toni Atkins to a state advisory committee.

Areas that where I will focus include Climate Action, Transit-supported Infill, Housing for All (Inclusionary, Permanent Supportive), Environmental Justice, Habitat Conservation, Medicare for All, Living Wage, Public Land for Public Benefit, to name a few; areas where we will achieve meaningful progress by working together supporting progressive legislation and electing progressive candidates.

Kevin Lourens

Growing up with ASD and ADHD, I knew that I was different. Being bullied for my difference instilled in me a sense of justice which would lead me into the political realm. Since the day I walked into a praying 4th grade class on 9/11, I noticed growing up how the consequent war and foreign intervention only seemed to beget violence and destabilization without ever solving the problems that had bred terrorism. Only civilian and American casualties. This was not just.

In 2007, there was light. Like many millennials I was drawn by the candidacy of Barack Obama who spoke of hope, and ending these wars. I couldn’t foresee the troop surge, or an ACA with which millions of working people remained uninsured and CEOs profited. I was unsure that things could improve until Bernie Sanders’ candidacy.

This was the first time I really got involved. I co-founded Tritons for Bernie at UC San Diego, which would phonebank into multiple states, and canvass in two. There were real battles to fight on the ground against the GOP as well. For San Diego City Council, I was a UCSD Field Organizer for Barbara Bry. I knocked on thousands of doors, becoming more confident over my social anxiety with every smile and “yes.” We fought for fair wages and a cleaner environment.

Trump’s rise pushed me to run in the 2017 AD-78 ADEMs and change the California Democratic Party. I supported a progressive woman of color in Kimberly Ellis for Chair who would strive for a reformed, fairer and more (d)emocratic Party. I co-sponsored resolutions including the abolishment of the Electoral College and support of fair justice in Israel & Palestine. Many victories were won in 2018, but not enough. Costa-Hawkins’ repeal, Prop 13 reform, and a Green New Deal are in the offing.

I am running once again to represent the 78th as an Assembly District Delegate. With this responsibility, I plan to author resolutions and platform additions myself. I hope to work on democratization of power over the UC and CSU systems. I plan to apply for the Resolution & Platform Committees and ensure the most progressive proposals are prioritized. Finally, 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 on January 13th, so we may fight for a Progressive future together.

Micah Perlin

My name is Micah Perlin and I’m running for my second term as an Assembly District Delegate in the 78th. Since becoming a delegate two years ago, I’ve been working (almost full time) to revitalize the San Diego County Democratic Party into a bold people-powered movement that is capable of electing progressive candidates that will tackle the existential threats to our democracy: climate change, income inequality, and the influence of corporate money in politics. I established and ran two grassroots political action committees to drive awareness and support for several of our most progressive Democratic candidates in last year’s races. I set up “Get Out The Vote – San Diego” for the June primary to support Genevieve Jones-Wright (for DA), Dave Myers (for Sheriff), and Matt Strabone (for County Clerk). Though these candidates didn’t win, our lean operation activated dozens of volunteers and supporters, reaching tens of thousands of voters via phone, text, and social media.

With the help of progressive activists and policy experts from across the County, I recently chartered and now serve as the president of a new Democratic Club called “We The People – San Diego County.” The mission of this organization is to advocate for immediate policy reforms in the areas of environmental justice, social justice, racial justice, and economic justice. I am proud that We The People played a critical role in helping to elect Councilmember Monica Montgomery, “the people’s choice” for San Diego City District 4. Monica is exactly the kind of Democratic candidate that we should be running across California — smart, issue-based, AND indebted to no one but her community.

The Democratic Party is at a crossroads. Faced with an immediate climate crisis, we need our elected officials to understand that incrementalism is not working. We have twelve years 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. Now, more than ever, we need the California Democratic Party to draw its power from a broad populist base and chart a bold course for a sustainable, inclusive society. As an ADEM you can count on me to support this vision not only in word, but also in deed.

Thank you for your support.

Brian Polejes

My name is Brian Polejes, and I request your vote as a delegate representing the 78th Assembly District. I am a long-time LGBT activist and have been an SEIU organizer for 17 years. I am also a long-time activist for peace in Israel/Palestine and have long been active in the environmental movement and in the movements for women’s and racial equality.

I have canvassed, phoned and recruited others to do the same for many Democratic candidates and progressive causes and am proud of our success in the November election. I support a Democratic Party committed to Medicare for All, debt-free public higher education, affordable housing, a Green New Deal, a living wage job for all who want one, and a Livable Basic Universal Income.

Democrats are at a critical crossroads — are we committed to a sustainable future, or will we tolerate business as usual? If you share my vision, I humbly request your support.


Gregg Robinson

I am a lifelong progressive Democrat, educator, and unionist. I support Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, expanding unions, affordable housing, protecting the Undocumented, and Racial/Gender/Social Justice.

I am the first in my family to go to college, and did so by working union jobs that supported my education. Unfortunately, that kind of opportunity has disappeared for this generation, and I am dedicated to getting it back.  

My brother nearly died when I was a child because we did not have healthcare insurance, so Medicare for all is my passion.  

My son is LGBTQ, and I fought for his rights when he was in school–no person should have to go through what he suffered. Support for diversity and intersectionality is key in the struggle against the tide of Trump intolerance.  

I am proud of having been elected to the County Board of Education in 2012 and almost as proud as having been defeated for re-election in 2016. I was not defeated by my opponent, however, but by Alice Walton (Walmart heiress) who donated $250K to his campaign. Alice and the other billionaires who got involved in what became the most expensive County Board of Education race in the history of the state opposed me because I fought against privatizing public education. 

I helped start a coalition of San Diego County progressive school board members in 2014. This coalition educates school board members about unions, social/racial justice, charter schools, and the privatization of education.


PhD UCSD Sociology of Education

Current Prof Sociology Grossmont College (Past Chair Behavioral Science)

Founding Member Ocean Beach Grassroots Organization 2000

Chair Affordable Housing Coalition of San Diego (2008) 

Activist of Year for work on affordable housing:  Empower San Diego 2009

Merit Award Outstanding Housing Advocate: SD Housing Federation 2006

Vice-Chair and Chair Traffic Subcommittee Peninsula Community Planning Board (Pt Loma) 2001-2007

Member San Diego County Board of Education 2012 – 2016

President San Diego County Board of Education 2015

Current Activism:

Democratic Party Club Member: Labor, Point Loma/Ocean Beach; Environmental.

Parliamentarian Labor Democrats

Delegate San Diego Labor Council

Member Environmental Caucus Labor Council

Co-Founder and Current member San Diego County Coalition of Progressive School Board Members

Political Vice President American Federation of Teachers 1931