Culver City Observer -

Crowded Field To Replace Ridley-Thomas


January 4, 2018

Candidates wasted no time in lining up to replace Sebastian Ridley-Thomas in the state assembly.

Four candidates have thrown their proverbial hats in the ring, Sydney Kamlager-Dove, Steve Dunwoody, Joey Hill and Ashlee Marie Preston. All four are registered Democrats.

Sydney Kamlager-Dove is currently president of the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) Board of Trustees and district director for California State Senator Holly J. Mitchell has announced her candidacy for the state's 54th Assembly District.

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. is expected to call for a special election shortly. The race will begin with a primary election. If no candidate receives over 50 percent of the vote there will be a runoff between the top two contenders.

Kamlager-Dove said, "I'm excited about the prospect of representing Los Angeles and Culver City residents of the 54th Assembly District in the State Capitol."

"I intend to promote an agenda centered on workforce development, providing career opportunities for men and women and ensuring strong environmental protections. I will continue my goal to make public college education more affordable and accessible and to end criminal justice disparities," Kamlager-Dove added.

Sen. Holly J. Mitchell expressed her strong support for Kamlager-Dove's candidacy with the following statement, "Sydney has proven herself as a policy leader and a strong advocate for community college students and faculty as a member and president on the LACCD Board of Trustees. Sydney has demonstrated her full appreciation of what it means to be a skilled public servant by taking care of the day-to-day community needs of the people of the 30th Senate District that I represent. The voters of the 54th Assembly District already know Sydney. They can confidently be assured that Sydney will deliver for them when they elect her to represent them in our State Capitol. I wholeheartedly and forthrightly endorse Sydney Kamlager-Dove for 54th Assembly District in 2018," Sen. Mitchell said.

U.S. Representative Karen Bass echoed Sen. Mitchell's expression of support in her statement, "I've watched Sydney grow to become a highly effective policymaker for the L.A. Community College District while remaining a diligent district director for the California State Senate serving Sen. Holly Mitchell.

"Sydney has long been an advocate for women and children. She has the right attitude, temperament and progressive mindset we need in Sacramento, particularly in light of the policy challenges we face in California with an administration in the White House whose ultra-conservative polices pose a direct threat to health and human services that provide support to women, seniors and children. I look forward to working on federal-state matters with Sydney Kamlager-Dove when the voters for the 54th Assembly District elect her as their representative in Sacramento."

Both Mitchell and Bass represent Culver City.

Steve Dunwoody works as the California Director of the Vet Voice Foundation of, a national organization of 500,000 of veterans, family members, and active military that works to use the voices of Veterans to speak out on public policy issues such as the environment, healthcare, education, civil and LGBT rights.

Dunwoody grew up the son of union autoworkers and small business owners in Detroit. Graduating from Henry Ford high school, he later attended Kent State University of Ohio, a school steeped in progressive tradition. During this time, he enlisted in the Air National Guard to pay for college. He served a tour of duty in Iraq in 2005.

Dunwoody has been on the frontlines of progressive fights in California, advocating for protecting residents of Culver City and Los Angeles from drilling interests, serving as a prominent supporter of campaigns to lower drug prices and put us on a path to universal, single-payer healthcare.

He is a member of the Sierra Club, Community Coalition and the Black Cooperative Investment Fund. He also serves on the Young Professionals Council of the LGBT Center and National Association of Black Veterans.

He was named Democrat of the Year for the 54th Assembly District by his fellow activists for his grassroots leadership in several clubs and in the fight for progressive policy statewide.

He lives in the neighborhood of Palms and attends Holman United Methodist Church.

Ashlee Marie Preston, a transgender activist had previously served as the editor-in-chief of Wear Your Voice magazine has also announced for the seat. Preston called out Caitlyn Jenner last year for supporting President Trump.

Joey Hill, a legislative staff member is also mentioned as a potential candidate. Hill ran against Ridley-Thomas in 2013 but backed out of the race to support Sebastian prior to the election.


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