We talk to Dunwoody on why he wants to replace Sebastian Ridley-Thomas to represent Assembly District 54.
When Sebastian Ridley-Thomas won the 2013 special election to represent Assembly District 54 on the west side of Los Angeles it looked like another political dynasty would be laying down roots. Sebastian is the son of Mark Ridley-Thomas who represents the 2nd District on the County Board of Supervisors. The younger Ridley-Thomas went on to win crushing victories in the 2014 and 2016 elections. It seemed as though the LA political machine would continue to convey him through higher and higher offices. But as 2017 came to an end Sebastian announced, very unexpectedly, that he would not seek re-election and in fact would be stepping down from the seat due to health reasons. Now this heavily Democratic district that spans from Mid City to Marina Del Rey, and from Westwood to Inglewood is on an accelerated election schedule. A primary will be held on April 3rd followed by the Special Election on June 5th.
As of now it is very hard to talk about what the field of candidates looks like, but it will probably be a crowded field of Democrats with a couple of Republicans in the mix, though the winner will almost certainly be a Democrat. As the primary draws closer and the February 8th filing deadline passes we will have a firm sense of who the voters of AD 54 will have to chose from. But we are already seeing a very strong progressive candidate in Steve Dunwoody.
Steve is a long time environmental activist in West LA. Steve was a veteran who served in Iraq as a member of the Air National Guard. In theatre he was a financial manager who oversaw and funded infrastructure projects; in the absence of a working financial system the US relied on its service members to facilitate payments and oversee contracts. After his service ended Steve began working with the Vet Voice Foundation, a 500,000 strong organization that wants to push back against political and media narratives that use soldiers as props while ignoring their voices.
Assembly District 54 is home to the largest urban oil field in the nation, it’s not hard to see the oil derricks as you drive down La Cienega. These operations have been going on for decades to the detriment of residents. As official in the Obama administration Steve focussed on finding jobs for veterans in the renewable energy sectors. His work with the Sierra Club has lent a strong voice of opposition to continued oil and gas development. His work was pivotal in securing a future for the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument.
Steve visited Ground Game HQ to sit down with me to explore his political views, the reason behind his campaign, and his hopes for what he can accomplish as our Assembly Member.
Steve on why he is running:
On oil extraction and a future for renewable energy:
On HB562 and the push for universal healthcare:
On Costa-Hawkins and the fight for affordable housing:
On 2018 as chance to bring real change to California:
You can listen to the full interview here:
The primary for AD 54 is coming up on April 3rd with the Special Election being held on June 5th. If you would like to learn about Steve’s campaign or get involved to help propel his progressive platform to a statewide office please visit https://www.dunwoodyforcalifornia.com/