With the large Vasquez Rocks in Agua Dulce as her background, Jess Phoenix announced her candidacy for the District 25 Congressional seat Monday afternoon.
In between discussing her love of horses and commenting on the “water-deposited” rocks behind her, the Democrat, co-founder of nonprofit Blueprint Earth, volcanologist, geologist and horse-enthusiast, said she will run for the position currently held by Steve Knight (R-Palmdale).
“My skill set lends itself to a congressional seat,” Phoenix said. “I could keep myself in a small circle of nonprofits, or I could have a bigger ripple effect in Congress.”
Phoenix’s campaign and passion focuses on the environment, research and education. Selected by 314 Action, an organization that recruits candidates with science backgrounds, Phoenix said she is seeking to run with emphasis on climate change.
314 Action is targeting three Republican members of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology including Knight, along with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas).
Phoenix said she does not think the district needs more career politicians and emphasized her opposition to Steve Knight and Donald Trump. However, Phoenix said she was raised in a conservative family and understands both sides of the politic spectrum.
“We need a representative that will stand up for what makes this area so great,” she said.
What makes the area great, she said, is the people and environment.
Her experience working with volcanoes has helped her deal well with difficulties, she said. One of these challenges is the need to put more effort into schools, according to Phoenix.
“We need a representative who will stand up and protect against the opposition to help children learn and grow,” Phoenix said. “Kids deserve every chance possible to see their dreams come true.”
Phoenix’s nonprofit focuses on environmental science and education, which she said will be important matters for her as a candidate. She has experience with the aftermath of the Sand Fires and the earthquakes at the San Andreas fault, she said.
“I know exactly how important it is for our community to be prepared for the worst that nature can throw at us,” she said.
The political newcomer said she is ready to stand up for the community and take on its challenges, driven by the district’s and her own values.
“Since I’ve moved to this community, I’ve been able to see what my husband Carlos and his family have loved for many, many years,” she said.
Her husband, Carlos Phoenix, said he is enthusiastic and excited for her to run.
“Let’s do this,” he said. “We’re so happy you’re here to support us. It’s a big step, I know. I’m just so excited to be part of it.”
Katie Vincent, Phoenix’s friend and fellow equestrian, rode a horse into the event in support of her friend. Both women participated in the Mongol Derby a year apart from one another.
“I hope she is able to inject new life into politics and have a greater discussion about climate change,” Vincent said. “I think it’s extraordinarily important to get science into politics.”
On Twitter as @ginaender