At the beginning of each two-year term of the Central Committee, members run for and are elected to leadership positions on the Executive Board. These officers, who meet monthly, have specific areas of responsibility and together oversee the County Party's overall management and planning.
Rebecca Taylor, Chair (Email) Becca is a veteran of the United States Navy where she served as an Aviation Electrician and volunteered as a Sexual Assault Victim Intervention Advocate. In 2014, Becca co-founded and became the first woman to serve as Chair on the Veterans Caucus of the California Young Democrats. She later went on to a founding member of the Democratic Women’s Club and the Blue Dream Democrats. She has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Ocean Beach Town Council, as the Secretary for the Metro West Area Caucus, as a DSCC Delegate for AD78 and went on to be elected to the Executive Board as a Delegate to the California Democratic Party. Becca has also worked as the Volunteer Manager for the San Diego Rapid Response Network, which serves asylum seekers. When she’s not on a mission to elect forward thinking Democrats, Becca enjoys spending time outdoors and adventuring with friends and family.
Sara Ochoa, South Area Vice Chair (Email) Sara’s (she/her/they/them) initial engagement and support of Democratic policies and candidates was sparked by environmental activism. Motivated by a passion for economic and environmental justice, Sara believes that all county residents deserve affordable homes that are free from mold and air pollution, equity in efficient, clean transportation options, high-performing and responsive public schools, quality local jobs where workers’ rights to organize are respected, safe communities, and access to San Diego’s natural resources. Relationships that grew from early political volunteerism met intersectional demands of the moment and blossomed into greater involvement. As part of that work, in 2018, Kent was awarded 1st Place in Daily Reporting and Writing Opinion/Editorial by the Society of Professional Journalists. Now, as South Area Vice Chair, Sara is committed to helping the SDCDP elect more and better Democrats who uphold our Party’s platform and shared ideals, proactively enhancing community partnerships to build future candidate pipelines and ensure community interests are uplifted in Democratic Party spaces, and partnering with those we elect to support their public service successes.
Kyle Krahel-Frolander, North Coastal Vice Chair (Email) Kyle Krahel-Frolander was born and raised in Oceanside. In high school, he served as chair of the city's Youth Commission, working to build the first permanent skate park. After graduating valedictorian of his class, Kyle went on to Harvard University where he earned a degree in Government. After working on campaigns on the East Coast, he moved home to help turn North County blue. Kyle worked for now Mayor Esther Sanchez and served briefly as North Area Vice Chair. Kyle has been involved in numerous state and local campaigns for workers' rights, prisoners' rights, education funding, and more, as well as to elect Democrats up and down the ballot. He now serves on Oceanside's Planning Commission where is often one of the only votes to defend our unhoused neighbors, prevent unsustainable sprawl, and protect taxpayers from corporate interests. Kyle helped elect Congressman Mike Levin and now works in his district office.
Vanessa Valenzuela, North Inland Vice Chair (Email) Vanessa grew up in Escondido and for the last twenty years she has worked in finance for nonprofits and engineering organizations. Vanessa has extensive experience in leading operations and finance teams and is the current Financial Controller for the Center for Caregiver Advancement. Vanessa is passionate about healthcare and criminal justice reform and initially became politically involved at the local level by joining her area club where she now serves as Treasurer. After becoming a volunteer for SDCDP and supporting numerous grassroots campaigns she was elected to the Party’s Central Committee in 2020. In 2022 she was elected to serve as Vice Chair for the North Inland Caucus and re-elected in 2023. Vanessa is committed to furthering SDCDP’s mission of electing democrats who uphold the party platform and building coalitions with those working to uplift the voice and improve the lives of underrepresented communities. In her free time Vanessa enjoys spending time with her family.
Ryan Darsey, East Area Vice Chair (Email) Ryan (he/him/his) is a lifelong resident of East County and has dedicated the last 20+ years of his life working to elect Democrats across San Diego County. He is honored to serve as Vice Chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party East Area. Ryan has served our local Democratic Party in various leadership roles throughout the years; he currently serves as Vice President of both the San Diego Democrats for Equality and the San Diego County Young Democrats. Ryan believes that we must continue to work hard as a Party to elect good Democrats in every area of our county. He believes that our Party is strongest when it is united.
Bernadette Butkiewicz, Metro West Area Vice Chair (Email) A native San Diegan and proud resident of Clairemont, Bernadette is passionate about improving her community through volunteering. Her service as Chair of the San Diego Unified Bond Oversight Committee and board member of the Center on Policy Initiatives is centered on the interests of working-class people in the San Diego region. Bernadette is a first-generation college student. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from Sonoma State University while serving four years in the Associated Student Body, lobbying for student-facing issues at the state and local levels. Bernadette’s daily focus is to serve the people of San Diego through action, leadership, and a vision of a stronger, more equitable city where underserved communities have the resources and opportunities they need to thrive. Her dedication to the these people has been further cultivated through her family, education, career, and the new people she meets every day. Rafael Perez, Secretary (Email) Rafael Perez was born in Southern California and has lived in San Diego since 1999. Rafael has a B.A. from San Diego State University, is a Realtor and Adjunct Faculty in Cuyamaca College’s Real Estate Department. Rafael is a resident of Sherman Heights, where he serves on the Sherman Heights Community Center Board. Rafael has served as a Commissioner for the City of San Diego’s Citizens’ Equal Opportunity Commission since 2013 and has been a champion for equity throughout his career. He is currently a member of the Fair Housing Policy Committee for the National Association of Realtors where he is a Fair Housing Champion at the Federal level. Rafael is also a Board Member for the Casita Coalition whose mission is to unlock the power of small homes in California for everyone. Rafael is a DSCC member in the 80th AD, and has volunteered on several political campaigns, including his own, over the last 20 years. Whether professionally, as an educator or as a volunteer, Rafael’s commitment to Economic Empowerment in underserved communities is reflected in the various causes he is committed to.
Melinda Vásquez, Controller (Email) Melinda Vásquez, Esq. has lived in San Diego, CA since 1986. As a graduate of Mt. Carmel High School, Humboldt State University, and Thomas Jefferson Law School, she has remained in the Rancho Penasquitos Community. She began volunteering in 2008 with the Obama 2008 campaign, Voices for Children (2008), Delegate to the California State Party (since 2011), Rancho Penasquitos Town Council (2013-2017), Rancho Penasquitos Planning Board (2013-2017), and was a founding member of the Rancho Penasquitos Democratic Club (2013-present). Additionally, Melinda Vásquez was first elected as a member to the San Diego County Democratic Party in 2013. During her tenure she has served as a member of the Administration Committee from 2013-2017 and 2019-2021, the Vice-Chair for the North Area (2017-2019), until being elected to serve as the party's Controller in 2021.
Emily Bonner, Director of Administration (Email) Emily (she/her/hers) currently serves as the Director of Administration for the San Diego County Democratic Party. She is also the Vice-Chair of the San Diego Young Democrats for Equality and Past President of the San Diego Democratic Woman’s Club. A nearly lifelong resident of San Diego, Emily believes passionately in racial and gender equity and has worked hard to elect progressive candidates to office since 2012. Fostering an inclusive Party is essential to the work of getting good Democrats elected, and Emily has worked hard over the years to make the San Diego Democratic Party a more welcoming space for BIPOC. Professionally, Emily serves as a Policy Advisor and Council Representative for San Diego’s Third City Council District in the office of Council President Pro-Tem Stephen Whitburn. Emily’s hobbies include knitting, reading, and group chats.
Cynara Velazquez, Director of Clubs (Email) Cynara is a longtime community organizer with the San Diego County Democratic Party. She became active in 2004 to end the Iraq war and traveled to Arizona to do Spanish Language outreach for John Kerry. She joined our party's newly formed Grassroots Organizing Team (GO-Team) in 2005 and served in leadership GO-Team roles for many years. She served as an Assembly Delegate to the California Democratic Party in 2015 and 2017. She is the president of the Blue Dream Democratic Club (a Democratic Club for Drug Policy Reform) and a founding board member of La Voz Democrata (a Spanish Language Democratic Club). She is passionate about combatting climate change, eliminating poverty and social inequality, immigration/trade reform, and campaign finance reform. She is committed to championing little "d" democracy by activating, organizing, empowering, and amplifying the voices of local grassroots organizers in the many diverse communities of San Diego County.
Pete Babich, Director of Grassroots Organizing (Email) Pete Babich has always been a reliable Democratic voter, but the election of George W. Bush and the invasion of Iraq motivated him to become more involved with politics. He joined the North-Central Democratic Club and served as Membership Chair. In 2005, he was the prime mover to form the Poway Democratic Club, and has been the club president or a member of the board every year since then. Pete walked his first precinct in 2002 and has walked multiple precincts in every election since. He’s been the Poway GO Team Community Coordinator since 2005 and recently accepted the roles of North-Inland Region Community and Data Coordinator. In the 2022 elections, he had a key role in the County Party’s effort to train more data coordinators so that GO Team members have timely and accurate materials to help get out the vote. A seven-year Navy veteran who served in submarines, Pete has a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering. He worked at Hewlett-Packard for seventeen years, starting as a product designer and ended as a senior manager for HP’s worldwide, color, inkjet printer business. He then ran his own business for twenty-three years developing and selling business planning software to small and mid-size organizations.
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