Name: Dominique Walker, 35, organizer
What office/district are you are running for? Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board commissioner
What is the main reason you are running? My name is Dominique Walker and I am a housing justice organizer and activist. I am running for Rent Board Stabilization commissioner because I believe that everyone should have a right to affordable and accessible housing. I work as an organizer, advocating for housing daily and as new Berkeley resident, I would like the opportunity to do the same as member of the rent board.
Why are you qualified? I have been organizing in my community since I co-founded the School of Social Justice and Community Development as a high school student in Oakland. After graduating from Tougaloo College I organized within the healthcare system and with local community organizations. I returned home in April of 2019 to discover that in my absence my family had been displaced and, while I was college educated and fully employed, I could not find permanent housing for myself and two children. Together with several other Black mothers I co-founded Moms4housing to bring attention to the shocking number of homeless families while hundreds of corporate-owned homes lay empty. We started a movement to claim those homes for the community.
What sets you apart from other candidates? I believe that my knowledge and commitment to working towards housing justice makes me an ideal candidate. Berkeley has a history a being forward-thinking and first to implement policy that help, as a board member I will continue this legacy.
What brought you to Berkeley and when did you come? I was born and raised in Oakland. Berkeley was always my favorite place outside of Oakland. I knew that one day I would live in Oakland or Berkeley and raise my kids here. I found a change of scenery here in Berkeley particularly near the university. I met Alice Walker, and Octavia Butler in Berkeley, being in spaces that allowed me to imagine things were so important my development and the city of Berkeley has contributed to that.
What are the three biggest challenges for Berkeley in the next five years? I believe that displacement and environmental challenges are going important for Berkeley to address.
What are your ideas to begin to solve them? Berkeley must not only have a clear policy on how systems will work better, we must be active in making sure we use these policies to help our neighbors. I believe that displacement has had a significant impact on our environment. I believe that we need to also rehab older units, fix habitability issues, and assist tenants and landlords to acquire more energy-efficient upgrades.
What is your most inspired/unique idea for Berkeley? I believe that Berkeley should truly work to become more inclusive and equitable. I believe that including folks in decision making who are most impacted requires addressing some challenging issues. I think this includes child care at official meetings and other steps the aid inclusiveness.
How will you be accessible to constituents? I plan to be accessible to constituents by being present at meeting and subcommittee meetings. I also plan to create or use structures in place to make sure our community get responses as quickly as possible.
Why should voters choose you over the incumbent? I believe my unique experience in directly being impacted by the housing crisis and being a current tenant in Berkeley gives me the skills necessary to advocate for tenants rights, not only in my capacity if elected to rent board but also at the state and federal level.
How much money do you expect to spend on your campaign? $5,000-$10,000
Share a personal interest or passion people might be surprised to learn about. I am interested in birth work. I was training to be a doula before returning to the bay area in 2019, I also worked as a lactation consultant for 4 years.