Several UC Berkeley students — including junior Varsha Sarveshwar, Soli Alpert, who is taking a year off from UC Berkeley, senior Angelica Rodriguez and senior Uma Krishnan — and former City Council candidate Alfred Twu were elected in January and February to serve as state Assembly district delegates for the California Democratic Party.
Hoping to bring a young, progressive voice to the party, the new delegates will take active roles in voting for state-level candidate endorsements as well as party leadership. They will also have a voice in developing the party’s 2020 platform.
“Young people are more progressive but less likely to vote and have a voice in the party,” Alpert said. “Getting young people running for the party can fix both issues.”
Sarveshwar said she is “honored” to assume her new role as a delegate to Assembly District 15. She also serves as an alternate member of the Alameda County Democratic Party Central Committee, the president of Cal Berkeley Democrats and the political director of the California College Democrats.
Sarveshwar hopes to continue a tradition of progressive advocacy, adding that she is highly appreciative of California’s progressive politics. Previously, Sarveshwar managed City Councilmember Rigel Robinson’s successful campaign during the 2018 election.
“The California Democratic Party needs more young & progressive voices – people like Varsha represent the future of this state,” Robinson said in an email. “I’m so excited to see what she’ll bring to table as a CDP delegate.”
Alpert, who worked with Sarveshwar on Robinson’s political campaign and now serves as his legislative aide, hopes to increase the progressive voice in his community of Assembly District 15 with the Progressive-Labor Slate.
Alpert also stressed the importance of grassroots legislation and the need for Assembly District Election Meetings to be more accessible to the average voter.
Twu, who uses they/them pronouns, was also recently elected to serve as a delegate for Assembly District 15, and they are also a member of the Progressive Labor Slate. Twu mentioned specific focuses on the Black Lives Matter movement, the Green New Deal and rent control as the main issues they are hopeful the California Democratic Party will address.
Rodriguez, who represents Assembly District 32 after winning more than 75 percent of the vote in early January, also addressed low voter turnouts. She said she ran primarily to represent marginalized communities, adding that her parents do not engage in politics largely because they fall into an unrepresented, marginalized community.
“The Democratic Party prides itself on inclusivity, but it has a problem with accessibility,” Rodriguez said. “It waits for us to get involved.”
After winning the delegate position with the highest margin in Assembly District 22’s history, Krishnan said she is also passionate about increasing the voices of those who are underrepresented and hopes to focus on enacting new environmental legislation and increasing voter turnout.
Krishnan added that she is looking forward to providing input on the election of the new chair of the Democratic Party. She aims to make sure the chair is truly representative of the party itself.
“The Democratic Party needs a lot of work and improvement,” Sarveshwar said. “I am very excited to be a part of the movement that is working to change that.”