Club Member Highlight: Jess Durfee

Jess Durfee has been engaged in Democratic Party politics and LGBT activism for over 30 years, the past 22 of those in San Diego.

Jess currently serves as the Chair of the Western Region Caucus of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). He was elected to the Democratic National Committee in 2008 and re-elected in 2012 and 2016. He is one of only two elected DNC members in Southern California who does not live in Los Angeles County.

He served four terms (2004-2013) as Chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party. During his tenure as Chair, the Democrats exceeded the Republicans by registration in the county and Barack Obama received 54% (2008) and 53% (2012) of the San Diego County vote for president. Under his leadership the SDCDP implemented the GO Team — a precinct leader program with around 1000 active volunteers.

He served as Co-Chair of the LGBT Caucus of the California Democratic Party from 2007-2011 and serves as the Lead Chair of the Voter Services Committee of the California Democratic Party.

In February of 2016, he was appointed to the California State Fair and Exposition Center Board by then-Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins. Since November of 2013, he has served on the City of San Diego SDCCU Stadium Advisory Board.

Campaign Flyer for Jess Durfee, DNC Western Caucus Chair

Jess held several positions with the San Diego Democratic Club (now known as the San Diego Democrats for Equality) where he served as president from 2001 through 2004. In 2003, he was a San Diego Pride honoree for his efforts to include protection of transgender people in the city’s Human Dignity Ordinance. He has been on the executive board of the San Diego County Democratic Party since 2002. He served two years as Director of Clubs. Mr. Durfee has been a member of the California Democratic Party Executive Board since 1999. In 1999-2000 he served as the field director for Toni Atkins’ successful run for the San Diego city council. Ms. Atkins now represents a large portion of San Diego in the California State Senate and served as Speaker of the Assembly from May 2014 through March 2016.

Before moving to San Diego he had a fifteen-year career as a high school agriculture teacher. During his tenure as an educator he served as president of his local teachers union and served in the state and national arenas as a political action leader within his union. While teaching he took leaves of absence to work as a political field director for the National Education Association and Washington Education Association and as a congressional aide for education and labor issues on Capital Hill.

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