It's time for young, balanced voice in the California State Assembly.
James was raised by his parents, UFCW Local 870 (now Local 5) organizers and advocates, in Oakland's historic Dimond District - just a walk away from Glenview Elementary and a bus ride to Edna Brewer Middle School. He attended those Oakland public schools until his family sought a new beginning in San Leandro a little under nine years ago, a fresh start.
Looking to move to bigger and greater things, James began advocating at City Council meetings, partnering with city leaders, and working with various groups to encourage youth engagement. His work led to a pilot youth city council program, and the expansion of the youth and student voice in the world of the city.
During his time in high school, James tirelessly advocated for San Lorenzo USD to implement a student position on the Board of Trustees. After being turned down once, he came in a second time and was chosen to lead the process, and elected unanimously. He served a one year term on San Lorenzo's School Board as the first Student Board Member. He championed various policy changes and a shift in direction for the district. This is where he also learned the importance of school board advocacy in Sacramento, partnering with board members and state legislators to bring the student voice into the fold.
When James was eighteen, he did something not every high schooler does as they’re about to walk the stage. He ran for school board in San Leandro. Throughout his campaign, he gained the endorsements of various LGBTQ and community-based organizations and reached out to the community in an effort to get to know the issues they care about.
James has been told two things in his life: he's "too young," and "too ambitious." It's time to change that narrative.
James was elected to the San Leandro School Board in 2018 and became the youngest and third openly Gay person to sit on the Board. Subsequently, he also became the youngest elected official in the San Francisco Bay Area. He continues to push the envelope to fight for climate change-related initiatives, student voice, and changes in policy affecting LGBTQ+ students & staff. Alongside his colleagues, James has authored various resolutions and policies on the Board affirming the District's role in fighting the Climate Crisis.
James is also an active and unapologetic student activist. In the midst of his election, he ultimately enrolled in San Francisco State University for his BA in Political Science. Now a student lecturer in the historic Experimental College, he continues to progress toward being the first in his family to earn a four-year degree. Alongside his academic work, James works for the university's Associated Students - as Director of Government & Community Relations. In this role, he has partnered with over 20+ legislators, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and the California State Students Association to discuss the state of public higher education.
Throughout his career in both higher and k-12 education, James has not missed sight of the important advocacy needed to push public education forward. A former Senator Skinner and Assemblymember Bonta Intern, James actively advocates alongside legislators to look at things from a 360 view - to revitalize public education is to invest in public transportation, to work toward declaring housing as a human right, and much more in California.
We need a staunch advocate for workers, public education, and transit.
Organizations James Belongs to:
Democratic Socialists of America East Bay (DSA East Bay)
California School Boards Association (CSBA), Delegate Assembly Region 7-B
California State Student Association (CSSA), Board of Directors
California Student Board Members Association (CSBMA), Board of Directors
Associated Students at San Francisco State University (AS @ SF State), Board of Directors
San Francisco State Foundation (SFSF), Board of Directors
San Leandro 2050 (SL2050), Steering Committee/Executive
Alameda County Democratic Party (AC Dems), Associate Member
California Democratic Party, LGBTQ+ Caucus