California Artist Quits for Politics: Will Literally 'Run' for Office

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Artist Phil Dynan announces he will run for California State Assembly (2nd District). Dynan, a veteran marathoner, will literally "run for office". The six week campaign run will take the candidate from Yolo County in central California to Modoc County in northern California.

Tehama county artist Phil Dynan is putting away his paints and entering the world of politics to run for State Assembly. Dynan has been making his living from selling his art for thirty-five years. His first published work of art was at the age of seven.

An art exhibit "closing" for Dynan's final US exhibit will be held this Friday night (February 10) at the Union Coffee House, 629 Walnut street, Red Bluff. The artists' reception will be held from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The artist has announced that he will run for State Assembly (2nd District) and revealed that he has an unusual campaign plan. Dynan, a veteran of over fifty marathons, intends to run -- literally -- through the 2nd District -- from Yolo to Modoc County. His "run for office" will take about six weeks and begin in April, giving him a chance to meet people all over the District and hear their concerns.

Dynan has a degree in Political Science from Western Illinois University.

"I've always had a keen interest in politics, but I've never run for public office before," Dynan says, "I'm tired of all this squabbling over party lines and the lack of true interest in real issues, so I feel like I should try to do something positive for the political process."

The candidate is running for office as a representative of the Peace and Freedom Party. The party was founded in 1967 and many of its founders and current members are Veterans from the Viet Nam era. Dynan himself is an Army Veteran, who served with the Army Security Agency.

"Besides my service in the Army, I have always tried to contribute something to my community outside my vocation as an artist." His personal web site,, has a section entirely devoted to public service that Dynan has performed during his career.

He was once a member of the Tanner Commission, representing the public-at-large, in Placer County. The Tanner Commission was a statewide commission founded by Legislator Sally Tanner that dealt with determining the feasibility and siting of hazardous waste sites in California.

"I served on the Commission for several years and learned quite a bit about the political process. The people I worked with were mostly politicians and I represented the public interest at hearings and meetings." Dynan says, "It was extremely interesting and challenging."

"Right now there are some very important issues before the State Assembly and I'd like to think that I could make a contribution towards determining policy. For instance, I'd like to see the Minimum wage raised so that regular people don't have to work two jobs to make ends meet."

Dynan also is a strong supporter of "Proportional Representation", which is a current hot spot in the political process.

"We (the US) made sure that Iraq had Proportional Representation as an essential part of Democracy, but we don't have it ourselves right now. I'd like to see it put into action. I believe in actually practicing democratic principles, not just paying them lip service," says the artist.

"Proportional Representation means that if the state has 45% Democrats, 45% Republicans and 10% Peace and Freedom Party members, then the seats in the Legislature should reflect that and be comprised of corresponding percentages. Everyone should have a voice in the political process, not just the majority parties."

"That way, you eliminate the bickering like we have seen constantly these last several years with Democrats and Republicans generally voting straight party lines. If minorities had a voice, the issues would suddenly take on new importance and the public would be better represented."

Dynan is married to artist Ana Nelson. They have two children in college. Currently they also share the exhibition at the Union Coffee House.

Nelson, whose work is also seen at Crystal Arts, Indulgence and The Big Picture in Red Bluff, has installed previously unseen work for the "closing" at the Union. She is a graduate of University of California, Davis with a degree in Studio Painting that led her to working artistically with Phil Dynan.

An evening at The Union, Friday, February 10, promises to be an interesting evening. The exhibit, which opened in December, has been recently changed and includes new art by both Dynan and Nelson.

The public can learn more about Dynan's candidacy for State Assembly at his political website

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