About toni duran

 
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I learned early on that family is more than just blood, and home is more than just a place to live.

I was born in East Los Angeles, in a hospital that wouldn’t let my mother in until she could prove that she either had insurance or could afford to pay her medical bills. But my aunt was there by her side. My first memories are of the one-bedroom apartment that was all my mother could afford on her medical assistant salary. It was small but full of love, and it was home. We were lucky to have family nearby, so my grandmother could take care of me while my mom was at work. Sometimes Gramps would take me out back and help me play pool on his old table, or I’d run down the street to the neighbor’s house and visit with them while I ate spaghetti. Everyone looked after everyone else, because whether we were related or not, we were all family.

My mother eventually remarried, and we moved all over the country, but no matter where we went, I always knew that California was home. I finally found my place here in San Diego, and District 3 became a home for me, as it has for so many of you. But it’s more than just where we live.

District 3 is a community full of people and places that matter deeply to me. It’s where hundreds of volunteers came together to fight Prop 8 and ended up becoming a family. It’s watching fireworks while sitting on a blanket in Bird Park, movie nights in Trolley Barn Park, pie eating contests in Pioneer Park, and summer concerts all over the district. It’s picking up a freshly made tortilla in Old Town, catching a game at Petco Park, listening to local bands up and down Adams Avenue, and popping into one of your favorite restaurants, where everyone knows you and knows your food order.

Like any home, District 3 also has areas that need work. Right now, housing is a critical issue. As a queer woman of color, I too have struggled with employment and housing instability. If it weren’t for the kindness of friends, I too could have been one of the far too many living in cars or sleeping on the street. But we don’t just need more housing, we need housing that is affordable. This is an amazing district full of art, culture, opportunity and wonderful people. Community members shouldn’t be forced out or kept out because prices are making homes increasingly unattainable.

For the last five and a half years it has been my privilege to represent District 3 as a staff member in the State Assembly and Senate. I have worked on housing issues, as well as issues concerning women, veterans, the LGBTQ+ community, human trafficking, and arts and culture. I love this work because it allows me to help the people in my community in ways that matter to them.

I am a public servant. Since I was a little girl, I’ve wanted to help people, give my time and energy to be part of something bigger than myself. Whether it was a beach clean-up, a food bank, serving food to seniors, cleaning up a children’s hospital, or knocking on doors and making calls for the causes and people I believe in – I have been there volunteering.

These are some of the things that are important to me. I want to know what is important to YOU as a resident, as a business owner, as a member of this community. Together, we can make District 3 even better than it is.

Will you join me?