By Najee Ali
The race to replace state Sen. Sydney Kalmager-Dove, who’s election last month left a vacancy in the 54th Assembly District, will be interesting.
I had a chance to interview Dallas Fowler a leading candidate for Kalmager-Dove’s vacant seat. Fowler is a lifelong Democrat, a nonprofit executive and a businesswoman who has dedicated her life to serving our community. I asked her why she was running for public office.
“I know firsthand how devastating the pandemic has been for all of us,” she said. “My brother and my uncles lost good-paying jobs, while my stepfather, a pastor in our community, died of COVID. My sisters and nephew are still recovering from the side effects of this deadly virus.
“As the vaccine rolls out and politicians discuss a return to ‘normal,’ I am running because our community simply cannot afford a return to business as usual,” she added.
“Business as usual saw the fortunes of the richest men in the world skyrocket while the working families and small businesses that are the lifeblood of our community were forced to fight over scraps. Business as usual introduced us to ‘essential workers,’ lauded as heroes while forced to survive on non-livable wages and fend for themselves for child care and life-saving [personal protective equipment]. Business as usual built prisons over schools and high rises for the wealthy over affordable housing for all.
She continued talking about business as usual.
“Business as usual created the ‘underlying health conditions’ like diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure that are omnipresent in communities of color and cruelly shorten our lifespans. Our communities literally cannot survive a return to business as usual.”
Fowler said economic recovery will be one of the focuses of her work, if elected to the Assembly in the May 18 special election.
“As your next assemblywoman, I will fight for an economic recovery that centers around our community, our people, our workers and our small businesses. I am proud to be known as a fighter and I promise that there will be no return to business as usual on my watch. I am honored to have the support of a growing list of state and local community leaders and activists.”
As an activist, I have seen Fowler in the streets over the years at several events including marching and demanding justice for Trayvon Martin and volunteering at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s King Day events honoring the work and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King.
Fowler is the principal partner of Daltek Global, a boutique digital and print media firm specializing in outreach, diversity and business development consulting. She also serves as president and board chair of an African American art museum in the district.
Fowler also served in Mayor Eric Garcetti’s cabinet as a commissioner on the LAPD Police Permit Review Board and the Commission on the Status of Women. Her career began in construction, where she worked on more than 20 publicly funded projects for a major general contractor and transitioned to implement a national supplier diversity program for a top 5 bank.
A political consultant, Fowler has worked on campaigns for more than 20 years. While Daltek has moved away from political consulting and shifted its focus to sustainable communities and affordable housing, Fowler still consults independently for select clientele. Her recent victory was serving as SoCal director for Lt Gov. Eleni Kounalakis’ campaign. Fowler also is a past officer and lifetime member of the New Frontier Democratic Club and a founding member of a host of Democratic clubs throughout the district.
One of her proudest moments was serving as a delegate for Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 and 2020 Democratic National Conventions. She has received honors from the Los Angeles Wave Newspaper and National Action Network as a Most Influential African American under 40, the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles, the FAMU Alumni Association, and the Los Angeles County Democratic Party.
Fowler is in this Assembly race with several high-profile endorsements from community and national leaders that include Cornel West and attorney Ben Crump.
Speaking of Ben Crump, last week this writer joined other national activists that included Rev. Al Sharpton, and a host of other leaders in Minneapolis for the start of the Derek Chauvin murder trial of George Floyd. Crump is serving as the Floyd family attorney.
I had the opportunity to meet the entire Floyd family during my stay in Minneapolis. The Floyd family is humble and grateful for everyone’s prayers and support. I promised I would return to Minneapolis to continue to support them during the trial and I will.
Extremely excited with a new job offer I have accepted. More on that next week.