Candidate Profiles

Below are the profiles for all the delegate candidate members of the Unity in the Community slate.

To download the Slate Card or Slate Pamphlet, please see the Q&A page.

Quick links to candidate profiles:

Amy Foell

Congressional District 49

As a proud resident of Dana Point, I would be honored to have your vote to represent the 73rd District as an Assembly Delegate for the Democratic State Central Committee. I chose to run because I enjoy being of service, but most importantly because I want to ensure that the California Democratic Party truly represents the people. That means ensuring our party officers, endorsed candidates and platforms stand for the people and our environment. California has always been the leader for the rest of the country if not the world. By voting for myself and the Unity in the Community slate you can help be the change we wish to see in the world.

For employment, I am the Workforce Development Director at the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and Civic Association where I cultivate strong partnerships within the business community and school district. I work closely with government agencies, the private sector, and non-profit organizations to positively impact education and the economy. I’ve been a registered Democrat since the age of 18 years old (and I have not missed an election). I’ve enjoyed a life full of activism and advocacy. Below is a short list of some of my experiences:

  • Hosted voter registration drives at festivals, concerts and colleges
  • Organized the second largest women’s delegation for the Feminist Majority Foundation and NOW conference in Baltimore
  • Canvassed on behalf of the DNC during John Kerry’s Presidential race
  • Ensured Americans exercised their right to vote with Election Protection in New Mexico
  • Raised thousands of dollars for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center
  • Served as Los Feliz Neighborhood Council District B Representative in Los Angeles
  • Served on the Environmental Affairs Committee for Los Feliz Neighborhood Council
  • Served as a Budget Advocate for the City of Los Angeles
  • Ran for Dana Point City Council, District 1 receiving endorsements from the Democratic Foundation of Orange County and PDA-CA, Orange County Chapter
  • Member of the South Orange County Democratic Club
  • Advisory board member for YEA (Youth Empowered Action) Camp
  • Strategic partner with Planned Parenthood and Peace Over Violence to ensure implementation of California Healthy Youth Act

Between my professional and volunteer experiences, I am confident in my ability to represent and reflect the needs of the 73rd Assembly District at the State Party level. If you'd like to connect before you vote, give me a call or send me an email. I'd like to hear your ideas and answer any questions you may have about my candidacy: or 949-388-8946.

Back to top

Emma Jenson

Congressional District 49

On January 8th, 2017, I voted in my first Assembly Delegate Election Meeting (ADEM) for Assembly District 73. The two years since have brought me a sense of purpose and community that I had never imagined possible in my 20-some years living in and out of San Clemente. From that day forward I have committed my heart and soul to bringing the voices of the diverse communities of AD 73 into this great experiment we call Democracy. The humanity and solidarity I have encountered in every corner and behind every door throughout oft overlooked South County has been utterly dichotomous to the noise and vitriol we see every day on a national level. I have had the pleasure of serving in the following capacities:

  • Volunteering, and then becoming a regional coordinator, for the Campaign for a Healthy California to pass legislation to guarantee healthcare for ALL Californians
  • Being appointed to the Democratic Party of Orange County Central Committee as alternate by the inimitable Dr. Bill Honigman
  • Volunteering and organizing for Colonel Doug Applegate in the 2018 primary
  • Attending both statewide conventions and all four Executive Board meetings of the California Democratic party, both as an organizer, and to serve as a proxy
  • Joining the South Orange County Democratic Club as Political Director
  • Running field and voter outreach for Scott Rhinehart, the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate for State Assembly in the 73rd district, in the 2018 general election
  • Recently being elected as incoming Chair of the South Orange County Democratic Club.

Throughout all of these experiences I have seen time and time again that true leadership and democracy comes from the bottom up through the tireless work of our clubs, our communities, and our grassroots organizations. I am asking for your vote as delegate and to be your Executive Board Representative to the California Democratic Party State Central Committee so that I may be a conduit for transparency and communication, and to amplify the voices of the 73rd on a statewide level. I am also asking you to vote for my Unity in the Community peers running to unify, represent, and empower the incredibly diverse communities of the 73rd Assembly District.

Back to top

Erika Albarran

Congressional District 49

I’m a mother and I’m an Information Technology Project Manager. I live in beautiful San Clemente and I’m requesting your vote for the 73rd District as an Assembly Delegate for the Democratic State Central Committee. I made the decision to run because I strongly believe our elected officials should be held accountable to represent the interest of their constituency. I found it inspiring that the slate of candidates in the Unity in the Community website share this belief and bring vast levels of activism and advocacy experience. They value diversity and are passionate about representing ALL members of the AD73 communities.

As a woman, a mother, an immigrant, an environmentalist, I was demoralized and personally insulted by the results of the 2016 election. More recently with the separation of children from their parents at our border, I was outraged. I made a decision that voting was not enough, but I didn’t know where to start. I participated in the first Women’s March in Los Angeles with my family and was inspired by all the energy, passion and civic engagement this event unleashed. Reinvigorated by this event, my family and I canvassed and phone banked for local candidates in the midterm elections. Through these efforts I realized we are leaving too much at the table.

Campaign strategies allocate their limited resources on securing the support of recent voters. However, we cannot afford to limit our outreach efforts to the low hanging fruit of prime voters. We have to invest in the hard work of connecting with non-voters and making them first time voters. We have to listen to the concerns of the underrepresented and historically disenfranchised communities. We have to energize and empower our young voters. We can do this by supporting candidates that will invest in meaningful outreach efforts that provide targeted and concise messaging that resonates with people’s everyday lives.

We have many issues that require our attention. However, I feel strongly that the issues that require the most urgent and progressive policies are being fiercely challenged by unlimited and undisclosed corporate and special interest money. If we hope to implement effective policies to address climate change, provide healthcare for all, make a quality education accessible to all, increase the minimum wage to a living wage; then we have to prioritize and double down on campaign finance reform. For these critical issues to be effectively addressed, we must significantly decrease/eliminate corporate and special interest money in our elections and empower our elected officials to represent the people.

Like campaign finance reform, we must also prioritize climate change. Delaying the implementation of real action to address climate change is no longer an option. Anything short of a comprehensive plan like the Green New Deal is reckless and immoral. We must support candidates that understand the urgency and scope of action required to mitigate the climate crisis.

As an Assembly Delegate for 73rd District of the Democratic State Central Committee I will support and endorse candidates that are committed to representing the interests of their constituency, promote outreach to ALL, understand that campaign finance reform is a requirement of a progressive agenda, and are environmentally conscience.

I am asking you to take this unique opportunity to vote for our diverse and progressive Unity in the Community slate. We would be honored to serve as your delegates.

Back to top

Gary Polsten

Congressional District 48

As an active member of the LGBTQ Community, I have worked to end the discrimination that all marginalized members of our society experience on a daily basis. I have served the last 8 years on the LGBTQ Center Orange County Board of Directors and have personally witnessed the progress that can be made when we unite together and refuse to back down.

In my 16 years as an attorney, I have represented the most vulnerable members of our society: the homeless, transgender individuals, veterans, the financially burdened and the mentally ill. People who are desperate for a break when our institutions have none to give. Change needs to happen.

As much as I appreciate the Blue Wave that’s hit Orange County, we need to push harder! We need a blue tsunami to hit our town halls, our school boards and most importantly, our Board of Supervisors. For me, the fight is personal, I want to create a better world. One where my 3-year-old daughter does not grow up to experience sexism because she is a woman or discrimination because she has two dads.

I will give everything I can to unite our party into an unstoppable force that is focused to end racism, homophobia, xenophobia and discrimination in all its many guises. I thank you for your consideration and your vote.

I am honored to be part of the Unity in the Community slate of candidates. The experience, commitment and diversity brought to the table by this group of people is truly inspiring. We look forward to working towards even greater victories for us all.

Back to top

Graham Cadena

Congressional District 48

I am a licensed Professional Chemical Engineer in the state of California. After a 10-year engineering career where I worked on numerous environmental projects I also became a Registered Investment Advisor in the state. Having strong backgrounds in both science and finance will greatly assist with the understanding and solving of the diverse issues facing our district. As a member of the ACLU, NAACP, and Our Revolution, I believe in championing progressive causes to create a community and a nation based on the principles of economic, social, racial, and environmental justice for all.

I firmly support Medicare for All, removing corporate and super PAC money from politics (ending Citizens United), holding our elected officials accountable, Green New Deal (climate change), publicly funded college, caring for our veterans, LGBTQ equality, race and gender equality, a living wage, net neutrality, and affordable housing.

I will equitably represent all of our diverse communities, clubs, grassroots advocacy organizations, and age / socioeconomic groups in the 73rd Assembly District to increase the visibility and voice of these communities within the California Democratic Party.

Now is your opportunity to vote, spread the news of this election to family and friends, and help elect bold progressives who will represent YOU in the California Democratic Party.

Unity in the Community would be honored to have your vote and to serve as your delegates.

Back to top

Martie Lubetkin

Congressional District 45

When I marched in the 60’s, I never imagined I’d still be marching IN my 60s, but here I am. I came of age as an activist with the Civil Rights and Women’s Liberation movements, watching the draft rob our youth of their futures for a “police action” in Viet Nam - and I marched. I was proudly among those who shut down colleges all over the country in protest when Nixon invaded Cambodia. I am now Political Liaison for the Canyon Democratic Club. As a member of its 2018 Fundraising Committee, I helped our club raise over $17,000, which we used to support primarily our down-ballot candidates.

In my 45-year career as a Speech/Language Pathologist, I advocated for the educational rights of children with limited English, who were often placed into Special Ed classes instead of the Second Language instruction they needed for true access to comprehensive public education. As a member of CTA/NEA and my local union, I served as Grievance Rep, Chair and Spokesperson for the contract negotiation team, and was elected to attend the nationwide Representative Assembly.

My political volunteer work includes:

  • Dianne Feinstein's gubernatorial campaign
  • Michael Dukakis’ Presidential campaign
  • Both Bill and Hillary Clinton's Presidential campaigns, including regular shifts at the local campaign office, fundraising, and event organizing during the 2016 general election
  • Elected Club delegate to the 2018 Pre-endorsement Committee
  • Volunteering for various 2018 primary and general election campaigns in CD45 and AD73, including phone/text banking for Scott Rhinehart
  • Managing Barbara Schulman's winning campaign for SVUSD School Board in the 2018 General Election

I have seen that the foot soldiers of democracy are overwhelmingly our clubs, their members, and the surrounding communities. I believe strongly that those who devote themselves on a grass-roots level should have a seat at the table. I am running to represent all Democrats in AD 73 whose tireless work has truly transformed the Democratic Party in South Orange County, and to bring their hopes and concerns to the party’s leadership on a statewide level. I ask for your vote and for your support of my peers running in Unity in the Community to bring state party and local voices together, and to give true representation to the incredible diversity throughout Assembly District 73. Thank you.

Back to top

Parshan Khosravi

Congressional District 45

The 73rd District has long been a Republican stronghold. But year after year, election after election, this district is becoming more diverse. And with hard work and dedicated advocacy, we have finally joined the blue wave!

However, we still need leadership, vision, accountability, and commitment to change. And I am committed to do this for our community. Since arriving here as a refugee nine years ago, I have made it my mission to give back to the community of AD73 that made my home. As a double alum of the UC, I have spent the majority of the past decade at the highest positions of leadership in the University of California working to address a host of issues do such as expansion of mental health services, establishment of basic needs resources, advocacy on behalf of the service and healthcare workers, and pushing for more support services for parenting students and professionals.

Currently, in my role as the Government Relations Director for the University of California Student Association, I continue to work as an advocate for an equitable, affordable, add accessible education for all. Furthermore, I have spent the last two years at the Labor Caucus for the California Young Democrats, where I am now the chair of the caucus.

These experiences have allowed me to gain a deep knowledge and understanding of the party structure and the hierarchy around it, which I intend to use to advocate on behalf of our fellow community members at AD73, and to that end I plan to use my seat and vote at the table to bring the issues of our district to the top of the party platform, and to put our district as ours needs at the center of the party's direction.

Some of the issues I intend to advocate for as your delegate:

  1. Meeting the workforce need in our state by promoting technical certification programs.
  2. Addressing the aging infrastructure in the district, whether it be roads, bridges, or coastline structures.
  3. Investing in senior services and resources to prepare for the expected increase in demand over the next decade.
  4. Addressing the issue of homelessness by investing in Bridge Housing and Rapid Re-Housing Programs.
  5. Pushing to expedite California Carbon Reduction plans to meet the carbon neutrality at a faster rate.
  6. Supporting unions and unionization efforts at all fronts.
  7. Push for after school programs.
  8. Thank you for your vote. And please consider voting for the other members of the Unity in the Community slate.

    Back to top

Richard Hurt

Congressional District 48

I am committed to the hard-working people in Assembly District 73. The time for action is now! Being elected as a delegate is not only an honor but an opportunity to represent the best part of District 73, the people. Electing me as a delegate ensures that you will have representation that shows up in-person at community events to talk with elected officials. I will also stay on top of voting records to make sure officials stay on track with the promises they communicated during their campaigns. It's called accountability and together through engagement and dialogue we can show our politicians that we are watching.

As a delegate I will join the fight to endorse candidates and initiatives that do not accept corporate interest money. It is important that officials act according to the voices of the people rather than the money from corporate bank accounts. Lastly, our local government should include everyone regardless of race, beliefs, or gender. Rest assured that I will fight against any xenophobic legislation, policies, or practices within the CADEM. Let's get to work making sure our voices echo throughout California. Vote for me as your Assembly District Delegate.

Back to top

Sudi Farokhnia

Congressional District 45

40 years ago I marched on the streets of Tehran for Women’s Rights. Alas, two years ago I marched on the streets of Santa Ana for Women’s Rights and Dignity of Immigrant Communities. Past two years has made it evident there are catastrophic loopholes in the system of checks and balances of US government. I want to represent my district and be the watchful eye and attentive listener that will help shed light on these loopholes and support efforts that will close these gaps.

I am Sudi Farokhnia, a service oriented Risk and Audit professional. I have lived two-third of my life in United States, in MI and Ca 73rd district (since 2002), working and caring for my disabled parents. I always paid attention to the consequences of poor international decisions made by US but since 2016 politics is part of my daily life.

I have been an active member of the community, supporting various local nonprofit and professional organizations such as ISCC, KCIS, WHW, IABA, IIA, Child International, and OCIACC. Also, I am a recognized advocate for gender equality and serve in the Steering Committee of ICWIN (Iranian Circle of Women's Intercultural Network), a volunteer based advocacy nonprofit organization with UN consultative status.

I have supported election campaigns of various Democratic candidates, most recently Katie Porter, Kev Abazajian and Farah Khan and continue to be involved with Progressive Iranian-Americans in OC.

I believe my community is eager for progress and would like to support candidates that will champion progressive agendas such as Single Payer Healthcare, Ratification of UNCRC, ERA and CEDAW at all levels. I believe access to Public Education, Debt-free Higher Education and Affordable Housing is every citizen’s right. We must establish Sustainable Solutions for Global Warming, Sensible Gun Controls, Comprehensive Immigration Reform that protect DACA, and Overturn Citizens United.

We must STAND UP to Xenophobia, Violence and Hate rhetoric and practices. We must REMOVE ALL BARRIERS OF VOTING and ensure our elected officials are Accountable and Accessible to their constituents.

I am asking for your vote for delegate to amplify the voices of our district on a statewide level. I am also asking you to vote for my Unity in the Community peers running to unify, represent, and empower the incredibly diverse communities of the 73rd Assembly District.

Back to top

William Summerville

Congressional District 48

I am seeking re-election as your 73rd Assembly District Delegate. I came to this role last term focused on bringing attention to important issues that needed to be addressed within the Democratic Party. Issues such as holding elected officials and political candidates accountable, pushing for fair rules and regulations, and being a liaison to the greater assembly district community for Democratic outreach were my top priorities.

In pursuit of this agenda, I held two town hall meetings, facilitated community discussions with four Democratic Clubs, and pushed for eight political candidates to give attention to issues often ignored in their respective races. I also represented the Democratic Party to outside grassroots groups such as the NAACP, Indivisible, Our Revolution, and the Poor People’s Campaign and spoke at multiple forums such those sponsored by the Orange County Young Democrats. I have worked hard, stayed, focused, and remained steadfast in working as your district delegate; however, there is still more to be accomplished.

Important issues that I would like to champion in this new term include, but are not limited to, ensuring income equality, securing racial equity and justice, furthering environmental justice, promoting Medicare for all, protecting women’s rights, expanding LGBTQ rights, ending foreign wars, safeguarding fair trade deals, supporting small business owners, eradicating student debt, providing free tuition from early childhood through college, and ending corporate and political corruption.

To do this work, I need your vote, and help, bringing Unity to our Community! Thank you for your support.

Back to top