Buffy Wicks

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Buffy Wicks
Buffy Wicks CA Assembly official photo.jpg
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 15th district
Assumed office
December 3, 2018
Preceded byTony Thurmond
Personal details
Born (1977-08-10) August 10, 1977 (age 42)
Foresthill, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Peter Ambler
ResidenceOakland, California
Alma materUniversity of Washington

Buffy Jo Christina Wicks (born August 10, 1977) is an American politician who serves in the California State Assembly. A Democrat, she represents the 15th Assembly District, which encompasses the cities of Berkeley, Emeryville, Richmond, and parts of the City of Oakland in the East Bay. Prior to being elected to the State Assembly, she was an American political strategist who is credited as one of the architects of President Barack Obama's grassroots organizing model.[1] She also served on the senior staff of Obama's 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, and as Deputy Director at the White House Office of Public Engagement.[2][3]

Wicks was first elected to the State Assembly in November 2018 after defeating Richmond City Councilmember Jovanka Beckles, a fellow Democrat.[4]


Born in Foresthill, California in 1977, Wicks graduated from Placer High School in 1995. She graduated from the University of Washington in 1999 with a B.A. degree in political science and history.[5]

In 2000, she began a two-year program for an International Master in Peace, Conflict, and Development Studies (PEACE Master) of the Universitat Jaume I (UJI), Castellón, Spain, under the UNESCO Chair of Philosophy for Peace, but left in 2001 and did not complete the degree.[6]


Wicks has worked in the labor movement, on women's issues, and as a children's rights advocate.[7][8][9]

Wicks's started her political career in the early 2000s in the San Francisco Bay Area by organizing rallies against the Iraq War. She then worked on the unsuccessful 2004 presidential campaign of Howard Dean.[10]

As one of the early hires on the 2008 presidential campaign for Barack Obama, Wicks was active in grassroots mobilization and outcome-based organizing.[11] She ran various state operations during the primaries and general election, including in California, Texas and Missouri.[12]

Wicks was then tapped by President Obama to serve in the Executive Office of the President as the Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.[13]

From 2010 to 2011, Wicks "served as Rahm Emanuel’s campaign manager in early months of campaign and developed core strategy and positioning in race as well as early infrastructure." [14][15]

In 2012, she joined President Obama's re-election effort and served as the National Director of Operation Vote.[16] She was responsible for mobilizing voters in demographic groups including African American, Latino, women, and the youth.[17][18][19][20][21][22]

From 2014 to 2015, Wicks transitioned the super PAC Priorities USA Action into a pro-Hillary Clinton vehicle and served as its executive director.[23][24] In 2016, Wicks was named the California State Director by Clinton's presidential campaign in advance of the June 7 primary.[25][26][27][28][29]

Wicks previously worked as the political director of "Wake Up Wal-mart," a United Food and Commercial Worker-funded movement.[30][31] She was a Fellow at Institute of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University and a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress focusing on public policies affecting women and families.[32][33]

Wicks has published opinion editorials for TIME, Politico, and the Daily Beast on current political events.[34][35][36] She also gives regular speeches in the United States and abroad on organizing, leadership, women's issues, and the state of American politics.[37][38][39]

California State Assembly race[edit]

In 2017, Wicks declared herself a candidate for the 2018 California State Assembly election, running for the 15th district. The seat was vacated by Tony Thurmond, who ran for California State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Wicks's opponents in the race included Dan Kalb and Jovanka Beckles.[40] In the primary held on June 5, Wicks finished first with 31.4% of the vote. In the general election on November 6, Wicks won with 56% of the vote to Beckles's 44%.[4][41]

2018 California State Assembly election[edit]

California's 15th State Assembly district election, 2018
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Buffy Wicks 37,141 31.4
Democratic Jovanka Beckles 18,733 15.8
Democratic Dan Kalb 18,007 15.2
Democratic Judy Appel 13,591 11.5
Democratic Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto 9,826 8.3
Republican Pranav Jandhyala 6,946 5.9
Democratic Andy Katz 6,209 5.2
Democratic Ben Bartlett 3,949 3.3
Democratic Cheryl Sudduth 1,493 1.2
Democratic Raquella Thaman 1,007 0.9
Democratic Owen Poindexter 819 0.7
Democratic Sergey Vikramsingh Piterman 689 0.6
Total votes 118,410 100.0
General election
Democratic Buffy Wicks 99,620 54.3
Democratic Jovanka Beckles 83,931 45.7
Total votes 183,551 100.0

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McKenna, Elizabeth; Han, Hahrie; Bird, Jeremy (2015-01-05). Groundbreakers: How Obama's 2.2 Million Volunteers Transformed Campaigning in America (1 ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199394609.
  2. ^ Newton-Small, Jay. "Democrats Salivate—and Shudder—at the Prospect of Trump". TIME.com. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
  3. ^ Press, Associated. "Clinton faces challenge in Iowa caucus reminiscent of 2008". poconorecord.com. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
  4. ^ a b Gammon, Robert. "Updated: Buffy Wicks Defeats Jovanka Beckles in AD 15 | East Bay Express". East Bay Express. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  5. ^ "4 UAA Alums in the Obama Administration - UW Undergraduate Academic Affairs E-news, October 2009". www.washington.edu. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  6. ^ "estudiantes-students". Web.archive.org. 2009-12-15. Archived from the original on 2009-12-15. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
  7. ^ Joyce, Amy (2005-05-31). "Logging On With A New Campaign". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  8. ^ "RELEASE: Buffy Wicks Named Senior Fellow with CAP's Work on Women's Policy Issues - Center for American Progress". Center for American Progress. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  9. ^ "An army for kids: SF nonprofit vows to boost their clout". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
  10. ^ Taylor, Jr., Otis R. (2018-11-12). "Buffy Wicks' experience running others' campaigns pays off with her Assembly win". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  11. ^ McKenna, Elizabeth; Han, Hahrie (2014-12-02). Groundbreakers: How Obamas 2.2 Million Volunteers Transformed Campaigning in America. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199394623.
  12. ^ "Obama taps Buffy Wicks to head Missouri campaign - St. Louis Business Journal". St. Louis Business Journal. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  13. ^ "President Obama Launches Office of Public Engagement". whitehouse.gov. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  14. ^ "Buffy Wick's LinkedIn". Retrieved Nov 4, 2018.
  15. ^ Fang, Lee; Woodhouse, Leighton Akio (2018-10-30). "A Billionaire-Backed Democrat Is Facing Off Against a Democratic Socialist in Berkeley. And It's Getting Rough". The Intercept. Retrieved 2018-11-04.
  16. ^ "Obama for America 2012 Campaign Organization". www.p2012.org. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  17. ^ "Obama campaign unveils Project Vote, aimed at expanding registration, participation of base constituencies: 'the path to victory' – Rick Perry makes debate debut with POLITICO-NBC, Sept. 7". POLITICO. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  18. ^ "Yes They Can (They Think)". GQ. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  19. ^ "The Empowerment Campaign and its Dividends". GQ. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  20. ^ "A changing America: In 2012, blacks outvoted whites". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  21. ^ "Obama's Re-Election Sets Record for Support From Latino Voters". The Nation. ISSN 0027-8378. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  22. ^ "5 Fast Facts About 2012 Asian American Voters". name. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  23. ^ Gold, Matea (2014-01-09). "Priorities USA set to join 2016 fray with new leadership". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  24. ^ "Pro-Clinton super PAC builds new leadership". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  25. ^ "April 22, 2016 Press Release Hillary for California Announces Leadership Team". www.p2016.org. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  26. ^ "It's Close in California: Clinton 49%, Sanders 47%". Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  27. ^ "Essential Politics May archives". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  28. ^ "Poll: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders down to the wire in California". Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  29. ^ "How Hillary Clinton won California". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-06-30.
  30. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/30/AR2005053001014.html
  31. ^ "The Year of the Organizer". The American Prospect. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  32. ^ "Buffy Wicks - Georgetown IPPS". Georgetown IPPS. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  33. ^ "RELEASE: Buffy Wicks Named Senior Fellow with CAP's Work on Women's Policy Issues". name. Retrieved 2015-11-12.
  34. ^ Wicks, Buffy. "The Only Way to Dump Trump Is to Vote for Clinton". TIME.com. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
  35. ^ "The GOP's 'window-dressing' project". POLITICO. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
  36. ^ Wicks, Buffy (2013-06-21). "Why the GOP Has Lost the Women's Vote for 2014 and Beyond". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
  37. ^ "Buffy Wicks | The John Adams Institute". www.john-adams.nl. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
  38. ^ ChifleyCentre (2013-12-05), Buffy Wicks Keynote Address to Building a Progressive Future (1 of 2), retrieved 2016-03-19
  39. ^ "Buffy Wicks » Lesbians Who Tech - The Community of Queer Women In & Around Tech". lesbianswhotech.org. Retrieved 2016-03-19.
  40. ^ Ulloa, Jasmine (November 25, 2017). "Running in 'Bernie Country' a former Obama and Clinton staffer battles for state Assembly seat". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  41. ^ Orenstein, Natalie (June 14, 2018). "Jovanka Beckles will join Buffy Wicks on November ballot for AD15".

External links[edit]