• Arielle Kohn

Angelica Dueñas: Her People-powered Campaign

Updated: Aug 7, 2020

Who is she?

Angelica Dueñas is a California native and daughter of Mexican immigrants in a working class family. Her whole life she has seen and experienced the value in hardwork and perseverance to achieve her goals. Living a similar lifestyle to her constituents, Angelica can empathize first hand with their problems and needs. As the first person in her family to achieve higher education, Angelica used her sense of pride as fuel to move forward in bettering her community. She served on the Sun Valley Neighborhood Council as a general Board Member, and went on to serve one term as Vice President, one term as 2nd Vice President, and two terms as President. Determined to serve and better her community, Angelica is running to represent California's 29th Congressional District with an entirely people-powered campaign taking in no corporate funding. 

Q: How has your background inspired and equipped you to run for Congress?

A: “Being a mother and seeing how my children’s future just seems so unpromising…  the economy is doing terribly, the environment is on a decline, education access, healthcare. All of these issues... instead of getting better, what I see is things are getting less attainable. And, so seeing all of this happening really has deeply motivated me to be part of the solution and not just sit around and be one of those people (which I was) that says ‘someone needs to do something about this.’ So just being personally affected by this, seeing my kids future looking so bleak, has been a strong motivator in inspiring me to take the plunge and run for office.”

Q: What is your leadership style, and how will you use it to unite our divided population after the election? 

A: “As far as my leadership style I’m definitely a listener. I don’t believe that I know everything, in fact I feel that I don’t know a lot, and I really am one to learn and to research. And so as far as the type of leadership I feel like I have is definitely listening and learning, with an emphasis on being open, and definitely not closed off to any form of dialogue…”

What is she fighting for?

With an extensive platform, Angelica has a wide array of issues she is fighting for. Some of the main issues she is fighting to enforce are: Healthcare as a Right, Jobs and a Green New Deal, Public Education as a Right, Humane Immigration Reform, Housing as a Right, Protecting Civil Rights, Criminal Justice Reform, Fighting for Veterans, and Progressive Foreign Policy. 

Q: What are the key voter concerns in your district, and how do you plan to address them?

A: “There are so many, but the[re are] three main ones that I like to highlight most. [Starting with] healthcare - I’m a supporter of medicare for all, single-payer healthcare. We have really poor air quality amongst other issues (obesity, diabetes), but definitely breathing. Poor air quality translates to high asthma, upper respiratory infections, and other breathing problems in our district... 

[Also] affordable housing. Our district has been experiencing a super high number of homelessness, and a high number of those [homeless] being students who are experiencing lack of housing. What we’re seeing also is that about 40% of the unhoused actually have jobs. So what we’re really seeing is not just the health issue which is a big percentage also (access to mental health care, that we’re lacking), but it’s also a lack of affordable housing…

And, a Green New Deal. Our idea of a green new deal is a jobs program, environmental issues being tackled at the same time as jobs being created and education, because we also believe in tuition free university...People need jobs and we have work to do and we can really get there and at the same time we can guarantee equal pay. It should come along with a guaranteed basic income, a living wage (a minimum of $15 for Federal, and in some areas more depending on what the living wage in that area would be), helping small businesses and in a grander scale, fair trade deals. All of these are related… We’re going to look at it holistically, at the same time also addressing redistribution of wealth and making sure that we have mega-corporations paying their fair share just like the rest of us.”

Q: Do you have any plans to improve the economy in your district and the state of California as a whole?

A: “We really do believe that we need to emphasize the redistribution of wealth. We need to make sure that Wall Street is paying their fair share, that mega-corporations are paying their fair share... We believe in increasing taxable income for social security…we want to make all income taxable for social security to strengthen social security. This is a social safety net that needs to be strengthened not weakened... And most importantly... we do believe in a universal basic income. This would be to make sure that we are able to cover a living cost for your basic needs. Nothing crazy. We’re not really trying to make sure anyone gets rich..., these are just the necessities that as the richest country in the world, we are able to cover. And if you take a look at it on the grander scale, it’s a lot less expensive to make sure that we have our basics covered because it alleviates a lot of other costs. From crime to the judicial system in general to other health issues that arise from stress, … everything is interrelated. When you have your necessities being met, you’re able to improve yourself in other ways and focus your time on improving your household, improving yourself, and to really advance yourself as a family from within and that’s really important... And small businesses – we want to make sure that we are providing tax subsidies and tax breaks and incentives to small businesses... With strengthening small businesses it strengthens the economy as a whole and it really does create competition, because let’s face it, this is the system that we live in.”

Why her?

Angelica initially ran as a Green Party candidate to represent California’s 29th Congressional District in 2018, but she is now running as a Democratic candidate as she sees the importance and value of uniting the Democratic Party. As someone living the lifestyle of her constituents, Angelica knows first hand what issues need to be addressed and how she can best help her community.

Q: Given the current political climate in California and elsewhere, why might traditionally Republican voters be ready to vote for you? 

A: “Our district actually has been a Democrat district for a very very long time. And in fact I can’t give you a recent Republican who has represented our district in a very, very long time. So our district is definitely solid Democrat, and I think that the Republicans definitely around here have come to that determination that it’s a solid Democrat district. So what I have found, just by talking to the few Republicans that we have been able to dialogue with, is that more than anything, they’re tired of not Democrats in general, because a lot of these Republicans are actually former Democrats, but they’re tired of the corporate Democrats. They’re tired of Democratic representation that is really closed off and literally doesn’t have an open-door policy. I think that a lot of the problems that people have, or a lot of the conflict between the left and the right or Conservatives and Liberals, is the lack of communication, and I think that coming to the table and being able to dialogue is very important... In this whole political system it’s us vs. them, red vs blue, left vs right, and it’s just like ‘who are you with?’ But it’s not that simple!... Even if that [person] still doesn’t see your way, they can leave with an understanding that ‘okay I don’t see it, but they’re not evil, they’re not terrible, they just see things differently.’”

Q: What common issues and core beliefs do you believe Californians and Americans are ready to rally around together? 

A: “... I think one of the major things interestingly enough … has been the idea of healthcare and having a Medicare for All systems... So [in terms of] healthcare for all, a single-payer healthcare system, I really do believe this is something that we can rally around if we really explain it clearly. I think that a lot of the people who are resistant [feel this way] because of other ideas that they might have on what the Medicare for All system might look like, but I think people who actually have Medicare would be the best people to explain how free (as far as choice) the system really is. So, if we could strengthen it and make it better and have it cover all of the necessities of healthcare needs that there are, it would just be an ideal situation for both the healthcare providers and patients in the general public at large. 

So healthcare is one major one, and I believe that [with] Green New Deal ... we could really emphasize the jobs programs that I have in mind... very similar to how the military works in the sense of housing and that infrastructure that’s already in place. That’s what we would provide in my plan…

At the end of it all, it is for the betterment of a community, because that is the goal, that’s where government should come in is to make things better, not to make things profitable or to make economic sense necessarily. But at the same time, if you zoom out, it does make sense, because a healthy community actually is a cheaper community to maintain and to keep up.”

How can I support her?

Learn more about Angelica on her website: https://www.angelica4congress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Angelica4CA/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Angelica4CA

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