ORANGE, CA – Michelle Duman, an entrepreneur and longtime civic leader in Central Orange County, today announced her candidacy for the California State Assembly in the 68th Assembly District against Republican stalwart Steven Choi. Commenting on the unprecedented energy and activism at the grassroots of the 68th District, Duman described her motivation for running:
“My father escaped Nazi imprisonment in the Netherlands to make a better life here, and his resilience has always inspired me to pursue what’s hard because it’s right. Now more than ever, someone needs to stand up to the hate-filled rhetoric that has polluted our public discourse and advocate for our hard-working families.”
“But since he was elected two years ago, Steve Choi has yet to stand up for us, his constituents,” she continued. “Our community has seen its opportunities diminish under the neglect of our representatives in the Capitol. Steve Choi is a Trump-loving Republican who puts his party and his right-wing views ahead of families and our communities. He’d rather fight for big oil and developers than fight for us. Our residents deserve better, and today is day one in our fight to give them that.”
The survivor of an abusive relationship with a former male companion and an advocate for women, Duman has overcome obstacles throughout her life and cited the #MeToo movement in her decision to run. “Women and girls throughout our state need to know that there is strength, not shame, in confronting our challenges and standing up for ourselves.”
Before opening her first business, Michelle was a special education paraprofessional, and is an alumna of CSU Fullerton and attended CSU Long Beach. A longtime resident of the City of Orange, she brings to the race her extensive record of working with area universities, community colleges, and nonprofit organizations, including as president of National Latina Business Women Association Orange County.
Duman’s announcement has been greeted by an outpouring of support among respected community leaders. She has been endorsed by prominent Democratic activists Lourdes Cruz, Karen Hinks, Laura Kantor, and Sara Holland; Irvine Commissioner Lauren Johnson; retired firefighter and labor leader Tony Bedolla; Moore Educational Services owner Charles Moore; Asian Pacific Planning Council Orange County President Dr. Alan Woo; political communications strategist Richard Greene; retired Education Administrator Jorge Haynes; El Monte City Council Member Jerry Velasco; and Whittier City School District Trustee Polly Vigil.*
California’s 68th Assembly District includes the communities of Orange, Irvine, Anaheim Hills, Lake Forest, Tustin, North Tustin, and Villa Park.