Anna Nevenic, candidate for the District 28 State Senate seat Photo courtesy of Anna Nevenic
Anna Nevenic, candidate for the District 28 State Senate seat
Photo courtesy of Anna Nevenic

California State Senate District 28 is currently vacant and Idyllwild voters will see five names on the June 3 primary ballot. Democratic candidates are Philip Drucker of La Quinta and Anna Nevenic of Palm Springs.

On the other side are three Republicans — Bonnie Garcia of Cathedral City, Glenn Miller of Indio and Jeff Stone of Temecula — vying for their party’s nomination.

During the weeks leading up to the election, the Town Crier is introducing each candidate to the community and concluding with a story illuminating their priorities and policy differences.

Nevenic lives in the desert and has been a nurse and community activist for years. She is no stranger to Hill residents.

In April 2010, she was a candidate in a special election to replace former state Sen. John Benoit, who had resigned to become a Riverside County supervisor. Bill Emmerson won the election in a race against six other candidates.

Nevenic finished fourth among the seven candidates. She received 8.4 percent, or 8,076 out of 95,485, votes cast. Without much funding and with little name recognition, Nevenic felt she was at a disadvantage in the race.

“Only 18 percent of the registered voters voted in that primary,” she noted. “And they voted for whom they were told.”

But focus on a goal is one of her abilities. Born and raised in the former Eastern European country of Yugoslavia, she became a nurse and traveled the world. Eventually she settled in San Francisco, earned a degree from San Francisco State University in political science and German, and married. Her son is a doctor. Divorced, she eventually moved to the desert to enjoy the warmer climate, but her concern for her community and friends never waivered.

Working with the sick and ailing raised her concerns for their conditions and she has always been involved in efforts to improve their lot.

She also wrote four books between 2000 and 2007. The first was about Yugoslavia, and the others ranged from a history of fundamentalism and conservatism to American women who changed the world. The most recent is “Parenting Made Simple.”

“I’m a children’s advocate,” she said, “very much in favor of afterschool programs. I want to see every child succeed.” She has invested time and energy in local efforts to improve her community.

“I have compassion for all,” she emphasized. “I wanted to see if I could make a difference. It always starts with just one person.”

Nevenic recognizes that the poor and young need advocates. “They don’t vote and that’s why their agenda is not a priority,” she stressed. “I want to put [public] money where it is needed as opposed to building more jails.”