PALM SPRINGS —Anna Nevenic, 72, a registered nurse, author, and community activist, is one of three Democratic women from The Coachella Valley campaigning for California’s vacant District 28 Senate seat on March 3.
The three Democrats seeking the seat are Elizabeth Romeo of Indio, Joy Silver of Palm Springs, and Nevenic of Palm Springs. Both Silver and Nevenic challenged former state Sen. Jeff Stone for the seat in 2018. Nevenic lost in the primary election on June 5, 2018. Stone ultimately prevailed over Silver and resigned his seat to start work on Nov. 1 as the Western Regional Director of the United States Department of Labor in the Trump administration.
The two Republicans are Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez of Lake Elsinore and John Schwab of Temecula, a real estate broker/small business owner.
Nevenic has long sought public office. She was a candidate for the Trustee Area 3 seat on the Palm Springs Unified School District Board of Education in California. Nevenic lost the general election on November 4, 2014. She was also a Democratic candidate for Senate District 28 of the California State Senate in 2014. She was defeated by Bonnie Garcia (R) and Jeff Stone (R) in the blanket primary on June 3, 2014.
Following are a series of questions Uken Report posed to Nevenic.
Uken Report (UR): Exactly why are you running?
Nevenic: I’m running because of my educational and professional background which have prepared me how to deal effectively and passionately with all human beings. As a nurse and volunteer I responded to needs of thousands of people from all walks of life. Years ago nursing profession was extremely difficult, we had at times 30 patents and no support services, and we have to do everything. No breaks, no food, holding our bladders as we could not leave our patients. Always short of staff, being begged to work overtime as there is no one to come for the next shift. I always took extra shift, keeping in mind who will take care of the patients. There were not male nurses than, they would not survive; but now they are many as conditions have changed. A small band of nurses fought to unionize and then everything changed for everyone. I run afterschool programs as that was a rare opportunity at the time, and discovered that many children have emotional and academic deficit and very little was done to correct it. We needed comprehensive student’s services 30 years ago, and we need them now more than ever. I worked in prison setting and my job was to give psychotropic medications to inmates, I saw years ago that many did not belong there and that is even worse today. Our criminal justice system must change, prison system is money business for some and we should not allow any longer that our tax dollars would be used to lock up mentally ill, drug addicts, and homeless people. Less incarcerations, more money for preventative measures such as education, job training, drug rehabilitation, mental health support and other restorative services. We are conducting not war on poverty, this is a war on the poor. Poor people have the most difficult jobs and yet many can’t afford to pay for most of basic needs. Financial institutions take advantage of the most vulnerable people, poor and young. A late payments put you automatically at 29% rate and higher and when that happened a person is in debt for life.
In other words I’m running for this office because I believe with my heart and soul that I will bring positive impact to the people in my district and the entire state. History has demonstrated that one person can make a difference with the help of likeminded citizens.
UR: What quality or qualities do you have that you believe your opponent does not? In other words, what sets you apart?
Nevenic: I have practical experience, knowledge and will power to work on the issues that are important to move our people and our state forward in a new direction. I’m solution oriented and I will do everything in my power to enable our youth and neglected segment of our society to reach their full potential. I’m not indebted financially to any special interest groups; all my energy and strength of which I have plenty will be given in providing the best care for all my constituents. As a nurse I have to do so many things at the same time. Our job is complex we have to attend to patients physical and emotional needs, their family inquiries, doctors demands etc. It is our job to detect mistakes made by MD’s, pharmacist, dietitians…
UR: What is your single biggest achievement in political office – outside political office?
Nevenic: My most important achievement is that have helped thousands of patents and individual to achieve and preserve their optimal health. As a young nurse I learned number of languages because in my profession I deal with people from different backgrounds who do not speak English. Years ago there were not translators and it was a traumatic experience for a patient to be sick and to be not understood. To see a smile and a fear gone on a patient face when you are able to communicate was rewarding to both of us.
UR: Identify one, just one, time when you rallied opposing viewpoints in support of your plan, proposal, initiative, etc.
Nevenic: As a hospital nurse and a public health nurse I have witnessed the devastating consequences of disparity in health care services. Many people become chronically ill, some disabled, and too many children were born prematurely with lifelong problems because mothers did not receive any prenatal care. Consequently too many have become a burden on the society and health care insurance became unaffordable for too many. I’m a life-long advocate for Health care for all. With California Nurses Association and with many other unions and organizations I attend rallies and Hearings for the passage of Universal health coverage in our state. Many who are against it and call it Socialism have changed their position once they have real facts about our broken health care system. I participated with several public health nurses in passing a bill to provide payments for family members who provided health care in home for a family member. That action saved us lots of many as many would have received care in nursing home at taxpayer expense.
UR: How much to you expect to spend on your race?
Nevenic: $25,000 of my own money for limited advertisement.
UR: Who is your political role model and why?
Nevenic: My models are ordinary citizens such as suffragettes, civil rights and union leaders, classical authors who risked their lives by writing and exposing the cruelty of kings, sultans, tsars and rogue industrialist in America. I have admiration for Mother Jones, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jane Addams, Margaret Sanger, Rachel Carson, Susan B Antony, Nellie Bly, and Ida.B. Wells, Gloria Steinem and many other women and man who endured ridicule, contempt and arrest, but never gave up the fight until they had won and changed the racist and Patriarchal structure of American society.
UR: What are the three most notable endorsements you have received to date?
Nevenic: I never asked politicians for endorsements, I want to gain the trust of public at large so I work endless hours in order to meet as many as I can. I attend all the public events all over the district and seldom see any other candidates. I believe that politicians have no right to endorse candidates during primaries when there more candidates than one and both have similar views. Nepotism and influence of money corrupts democracy and for these reasons less and less people are participating each year.
UR: Who recruited you, or did you decide to run on your own?
Nevenic: I recruited myself. I did well four years ago and this time I invested more time campaigning in Temecula Valley.
UR: What is the single biggest challenge facing state Senate District 28?
Nevenic: Knowing how to budget and prioritize. Procrastination in decision making process, more studies and research in order to avoid doing it; more waiting cost much more money wail at the same time exaggerating the problems at hand.
If elected, Nevenic would be responsible for representing all of Riverside County, which stretches from the vineyards of the Temecula Valley to the Colorado River and includes the cities of Blythe, Canyon Lake, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, Lake Elsinore, La Quinta, Murrieta, Temecula, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, and Wildomar.
- Anna Nevenic: Anna Nevenic