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Assemblyman Williams Announces District Office Staff

Field representatives work out of Santa Barbara and Oxnard

First-term state Assemblyman Das Williams on Thursday announced the hiring of his district office staff.

Williams hired former SEIU 721 political coordinator Jeannette Sanchez as his district director, senior field representative Hillary Blackerby, who held the same position with former Assemblyman Pedro Nava, and brought on two of his former campaign field organizers — an Oxnard native and recent UCSB graduate — as field representatives.

“I wanted to have a balance of experience among my district staff,” Williams said. “Their diverse expertise and talents will help direct the change that is going to come from the grassroots within our district. These individuals bring a wealth of knowledge of the district, and together will help me deliver first-rate constituent service that is both responsive and proactive in addressing the needs of our communities.”

Sanchez has worked in the district for more than five years, participating in various labor and civic engagement projects. Additionally, Sanchez, who was born in Guatemala, is fluent in Spanish and brings 11 years of print and broadcast journalism experience to the new position. A graduate of UCLA, she will split her time working out of both the Ventura County and Santa Barbara district offices.

Blackerby has worked for the Assembly in the 35th District for more than four years. The UCSB graduate is also fluent in Spanish and has a long history of involvement in the Santa Barbara community on social justice and transportation issues.

Darcel Elliott, a Santa Maria native and graduate of UCSB, ran Williams’ Santa Barbara County field operations during the 2010 State Assembly campaign and has worked on several other campaigns throughout the area in recent years, including Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider and Hannah-Beth Jackson’s California Senate campaign.

Paulina Abustan is a 2010 graduate of UCSB with a double major in feminist studies and political science. While on campus, Abustan was involved in various forms of student leadership and currently serves as a board member for the Santa Barbara County Action Network and PUEBLO.

Blackerby, Elliott and Abustan will work out of the Santa Barbara office, and working out of the Ventura County office in the Oxnard Transportation Center are James Joyce III and Ana Cristina Flores.

Joyce, a graduate of Ohio University, brings nearly a decade of experience as a daily newspaper reporter, mostly focusing on education issues for various news organizations throughout the country. Joyce has worked locally in higher education and with area nonprofits. 

Flores, a graduate of Rio Mesa High School in Oxnard went on to attend UC Santa Cruz. She has since served the community in various capacities, from the medical field to the nonprofit sector. She is also versed in agricultural, immigration and international trade issues.

“Having a strong connection to constituents is essential to the formula to fix our broken education system, developing green jobs and balancing the budget without it weighing heaviest on those most in need,” Williams said. “We, the grassroots, need to fix what’s happening in Sacramento.”

Williams has district offices at 101 W. Anapamu St., Suite A in Santa Barbara (805.564.1649) and at 201 E. Fourth St., Suite 209A in Oxnard (805.483.9808.

Capitol Staff

» Chief of staff: Susan McEntire, who most recently served as chief of staff for former Assemblyman Ira Ruskin and brings years of experience both in district offices and the Capitol.

» Legislative director: Erin Baum, who has worked in the Capitol for four years, most recently serving as legislative aide to Ruskin.

» Legislative assistant: Sara Arce, a UCSB graduate who had served as scheduler and campaign coordinator for Williams’ campaign.

» Scheduler: Tatum Holland, a 2010 graduate of California State University-Sacramento who has a year of experience working in the Capitol as an intern for Ruskin.

» Assembly fellow: Leslie Villegas

— James Joyce is a field representative of Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara.


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