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
Buffy Jo Christina Wicks

(1977-08-10) August 10, 1977 (age 43)
Foresthill, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Peter Ambler
ResidenceOakland, California, U.S.
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 beating 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 Oakland City Councilman Dan Kalb and Richmond City Councilwoman 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]

First State Assembly term[edit]

On August 31, 2020 (the final day of the legislative session), Wicks, having been previously denied the right to vote by proxy, appeared on the floor of the State Assembly holding her crying newborn baby while speaking in favor of passing housing legislation.[42] This incident earned Wicks international attention, sparking a discussion in the media on how she might use her newfound reputation to advocate for expanding family leave protections in the United States.[43] Meena Harris, Hillary Clinton, and others took to social media to congratulate and encourage Wicks.[44]

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

2020 California State Assembly election[edit]

2020 California's 15th State Assembly district election
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Buffy Wicks (incumbent) 118,906 83.9%
No party preference Sara Brink 11,384 8.0%
Republican Jeanne M. Solnordal 11,363 8.0%
Total votes

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McKenna, Elizabeth; Han, Hahrie; Bird, Jeremy (January 5, 2015). 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 March 19, 2016.
  3. ^ "Clinton faces challenge in Iowa caucus reminiscent of 2008". poconorecord.com. Associated Press. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Gammon, Robert. "Updated: Buffy Wicks Defeats Jovanka Beckles in AD 15 | East Bay Express". East Bay Express. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  5. ^ "4 UAA Alums in the Obama Administration - UW Undergraduate Academic Affairs E-news, October 2009". www.washington.edu. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  6. ^ "estudiantes-students". December 15, 2009. Archived from the original on December 15, 2009. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  7. ^ Joyce, Amy (May 31, 2005). "Logging On With A New Campaign". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  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 May 24, 2017.
  9. ^ "An army for kids: SF nonprofit vows to boost their clout". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  10. ^ Taylor, Jr., Otis R. (November 12, 2018). "Buffy Wicks' experience running others' campaigns pays off with her Assembly win". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  11. ^ McKenna, Elizabeth; Han, Hahrie (December 2, 2014). 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 November 12, 2015.
  13. ^ "President Obama Launches Office of Public Engagement". whitehouse.gov. Retrieved November 12, 2015 – via National Archives.
  14. ^ "Buffy Wick's LinkedIn". Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  15. ^ Fang, Lee; Woodhouse, Leighton Akio (October 30, 2018). "A Billionaire-Backed Democrat Is Facing Off Against a Democratic Socialist in Berkeley. And It's Getting Rough". The Intercept. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  16. ^ "Obama for America 2012 Campaign Organization". www.p2012.org. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  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 November 12, 2015.
  18. ^ "Yes They Can (They Think)". GQ. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  19. ^ "The Empowerment Campaign and its Dividends". GQ. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  20. ^ "A changing America: In 2012, blacks outvoted whites". USA TODAY. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  21. ^ "Obama's Re-Election Sets Record for Support From Latino Voters". The Nation. ISSN 0027-8378. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  22. ^ "5 Fast Facts About 2012 Asian American Voters". name. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  23. ^ Gold, Matea (January 9, 2014). "Priorities USA set to join 2016 fray with new leadership". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  24. ^ "Pro-Clinton super PAC builds new leadership". USA TODAY. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  25. ^ "April 22, 2016 Press Release Hillary for California Announces Leadership Team". www.p2016.org. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
  26. ^ "It's Close in California: Clinton 49%, Sanders 47%". Retrieved June 30, 2016.
  27. ^ "Essential Politics May archives". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
  28. ^ "Poll: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders down to the wire in California". Retrieved June 30, 2016.
  29. ^ "How Hillary Clinton won California". Washington Post. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
  30. ^ "Logging On With A New Campaign". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  31. ^ "The Year of the Organizer". The American Prospect. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  32. ^ "Buffy Wicks - Georgetown IPPS". Georgetown IPPS. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  33. ^ "RELEASE: Buffy Wicks Named Senior Fellow with CAP's Work on Women's Policy Issues". name. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  34. ^ Wicks, Buffy. "The Only Way to Dump Trump Is to Vote for Clinton". TIME.com. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  35. ^ "The GOP's 'window-dressing' project". POLITICO. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  36. ^ Wicks, Buffy (June 21, 2013). "Why the GOP Has Lost the Women's Vote for 2014 and Beyond". The Daily Beast. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  37. ^ "Buffy Wicks | The John Adams Institute". www.john-adams.nl. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  38. ^ ChifleyCentre (December 5, 2013), Buffy Wicks Keynote Address to Building a Progressive Future (1 of 2), retrieved March 19, 2016
  39. ^ "Buffy Wicks » Lesbians Who Tech - The Community of Queer Women In & Around Tech". lesbianswhotech.org. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  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 December 9, 2017.
  41. ^ Orenstein, Natalie (June 14, 2018). "Jovanka Beckles will join Buffy Wicks on November ballot for AD15".
  42. ^ Behrmann, Savannah (September 1, 2020). "California lawmaker Buffy Wicks brings newborn to assembly floor after being denied a proxy vote". USA Today. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  43. ^ Marinucci, Carla (September 3, 2020). "'Galvanize this moment': California lawmaker hopes newborn speech will propel family leave". Politico. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  44. ^ Cass; September 2, ra Stone; 2020 (September 2, 2020). "Lawmaker Mom Wears Newborn To Vote After Proxy Request Denied". Scary Mommy. Retrieved September 7, 2020.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)

External links[edit]