Former Sun Valley Neighborhood Council President Angelica Dueñas is hoping to represent her home district in challenging an incumbent of almost 10 years.
By Matthew Royer, Staff Writer
After losing a closer-than-expected race last November, former Valley College student Angelica Dueñas has announced she is running once again for Congress in California’s 29th District, which encompasses Valley College.
Dueñas is challenging incumbent congressman Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), who has held the position since the 2012 midterm elections when the constituency was established. The district covers the north-central San Fernando Valley, with Sylmar to the north and Van Nuys to the south.
“The reason why I’m running is because of his record,” Dueñas said. “He’s been in power for a long time … He has taken millions of dollars from special interests and our community has nothing to show for it. These, amongst many reasons, and his lack of support for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal and affordable housing as a human right are why we decided it was necessary for someone to run against him.”
The candidate considers herself a “progressive Democrat.” In the past, she has also served on the slate of delegates sent to the Democratic National Convention in 2016 and 2020 for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) presidential campaigns.
In March of last year, the congressional hopeful’s campaign had a wrench thrown into it with the pandemic. She explained that without the door-to-door canvassing usually used in grassroots campaigns, progress was harder to maintain in campaigning against an incumbent with funds to spare.
“We have started a million miles ahead of where we were last time around,” said Dueñas. “We’re hoping to raise the funds to build out that ground game, to close out the gap … This time we should be able to have those communications and garner the support that we were hoping to have last year.”
After attending Valley, Dueñas graduated from California State University, Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and Woodbury University with a Master's Degree in organizational leadership. She credits Valley with providing the opportunities for her to succeed.
“Valley provided me with a sense of historical and cultural awareness,” Dueñas said. “Valley College sparked my path in politics and policy. If it wasn’t for the extra help I received through tutoring, helping me buy my books and the extra resources I received, I wouldn’t have been able to make it.”
As a student of public education in both the Los Angeles Community College District and the California State University system, the mother of five has taken a people-first approach to education. On her website, she lists “public education as a right,” as one of her main priorities.
“Education should be prioritized,” said Dueñas. “There needs to be a reallocation of resources. Half of our budget goes straight to our military … No questions are asked about war or the militarization of police, but when it comes to healthcare, housing or education there always seems to be a shortage. It really comes down to there being no profit to be made in keeping poor working-class people healthy. Society is supposed to care for its communities, it can be cost-effective.”
As of now, the State of California has scheduled the statewide primary election for June 7, 2022, where a top-two primary system will decide who will compete in the federal election on Nov. 8, 2022. Until then, Dueñas has a message for Valley voters.
“We deserve better,” said Dueñas. “We deserve better representation at all levels. We need to seek out positions of power and occupy them … Support people to run for office, especially in places where those who occupy the positions of leadership are doing little for their communities.”