Assembly candidate Das Williams announced Monday that his campaign for the 35th Assembly District has received the endorsements of numerous California woman leaders:

» Patricia Bellasalma, president, California chapter of the National Organization for Women

» Linda Joplin, former president, California NOW

» Janice Rocco, southwest regional director of NOW

» Six former presidents of the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee

» Former Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson

» Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum

» Santa Barbara Mayor-elect Helene Schneider

» Goleta City Councilwoman Margaret Connell

» Sharon Hoshida, former director of UCSB Women’s Center

In announcing their support of Das’ campaign, leaders cited his record of support on women’s issues and his years of involvement in campaigns and other movements to increase equality, close the gender gap, protect women’s rights and create more opportunities for women to succeed.

“For years, Das Williams has been a leader on women’s issues,” Bellasalma said. “There is no other candidate in this race that has fought harder on our issues than Das Williams. Women in this state need more than just one-issue candidates right now. To advance the fight for women’s equality, we need principled leaders who have experience balancing budgets and fighting for health care, education and jobs — leaders who have a proven track record of standing up for women. Das has that history and is that person.”

Williams serves as one of only two male national board members of the NOW, helped start the Women’s Economic Justice Conference, which is a yearly event that focuses on empowering women in low-wage jobs, and led to the creation of South Oxnard’s Centro Mujer.

As a Santa Barbara city councilmember, he helped lead the charge to increase Santa Barbara’s commitment to youth and children, including the provision of free child care in downtown, Westside and Eastside schools in the summer. Williams also has worked to elect some of Santa Barbara’s most prominent women leaders such as Jackson, Schneider, Connell, and current and former Santa Barbara County supervisors Doreen Farr and Gail Marshall.

“I am honored to have the endorsements of so many women leaders,” Williams said. “I have fought hard both in my political and personal life for women’s rights and opportunities, and I will continue to advocate on their behalf in the state assembly.”

Williams is running to succeed fellow Democrat and termed-out Assemblyman Pedro Nava in 2010.

— Christopher Patterson represents the Das Williams campaign for Assembly District 35.