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Santa Barbara, Ventura County, CA June 8, 2010 Election
Smart Voter Full Biography for Das Williams

Candidate for
Member of the State Assembly; District 35; Democratic Party

This information is provided by the candidate

Das Williams has dedicated his life to the protection of the coastal environment and working families. In 15 years he has done this in a variety of capacities: serving 4 years as legislative aide, 5 years teaching, 6 years on the Santa Barbara City Council, and working in over 26 elections for progressive candidates and causes.

Das knows the people of the South Coast and understands their priorities. He grew up locally, moving to the Ojai Valley as an infant and attended local schools in Ventura and Santa Barbara. He left high school early to attend Santa Barbara City College before transferring to U.C. Berkeley, where he earned his degree in Political Science.

Soon afterward, Das was inspired by the first Democratic elections in South Africa and flew to Cape Town in 1994 to work for Nelson Mandela's African National Congress. During this time he experienced the transforming power of grassroots action. It's this deep belief in the power of community and neighbors reaching out to neighbors that has helped Das become an accomplished and respected Santa Barbara City Councilmember.

Since being elected, Das has worked closely with the community and his colleagues to get results for the residents of Santa Barbara. Das spearheaded the successful effort to pass some of the toughest energy efficiency standards in the state and require that 30% of the city's energy comes from renewable sources by 2011. He has been a leader in the effort to stop off-shore oil drilling, protecting the coast and local water supplies by working to restore local creeks and wetlands, and fighting to preserve open space. He led the push to expand the city's public transit system - reducing traffic and pollution. While the state's school system has come under increasing stress, Das helped craft a plan to avoid layoffs at local schools and expand critical after-school programs. Recently, he helped balance the city budget without cutting vital city services, like police and firefighters, and protecting middle class jobs. He has earned a reputation for independent leadership, offering new ideas and approaches to conventional problems and getting things done.

Das will take his innovative leadership and focus on local priorities to the California State Assembly to tackle the most pressing challenges facing our state and community. Das' years of public service at the local level provide him with a unique perspective on issues ranging from public safety and budgets to education and the environment + making him an effective voice for local communities. Das understands how poor planning and leadership in Sacramento hurts local communities. He will fight to ensure local governments are always able to provide the critical public services that citizens expect and deserve. Das plans to work on renewable energy legislation that will put our state on the path to reach our potential to be the birthplace of the green economy and create thousands of new jobs. Access to affordable, quality public education is a top priority for Das. His experience as a teacher and school board member give him the background to work with teachers, policy makers, parents and education experts to rebuild our school system and ensure every child has access to a world class education.

In addition to his service on the Santa Barbara City Council, Das has been active in a variety of capacities in the community. Das is a community organizer for CAUSE, a Ventura based non-profit, and is heading the group's efforts to stop a proposed Wal-Mart development in Ventura. Das currently serves as a Trustee of Peabody Charter School. Das is also a national board member of the National Organization for Women (NOW). Das currently teaches at Antioch University in Santa Barbara.

Das holds a Master's degree in Environmental Science & Management, with a focus in water pollution, planning processes, and land-use law at UC Santa Barbara's Bren School of Environmental Science.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: May 18, 2010 12:26
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