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Bill Durston was a Democratic candidate in the 2008 congressional elections for the 3rd Congressional District (map) of California. He won the Democratic nomination in the June, 2008 congressional primaries but lost to incumbent Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) in November 2008.
Positions, record and controversies
Bill grew up in the Santa Clara Valley (now the "Silicon Valley"). He was senior class president and valedictorian of Fremont High School, in Sunnyvale. Rather than go directly on to college, though, he enlisted in the U.S. Marines at the height of the Vietnam war. He served in Vietnam with the Marines 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company, and he received the Navy Commendation medal for bravery under combat.
Bill promised himself while in Vietnam that if he got back alive, he was going to marry Diane Mueller, the girl he had a crush on throughout High School but who was one class ahead of him and dating the high school quarterback. Diane was attending Stanford University when Bill got home, and the high school quarterback was no longer in her life. Bill swept Diane off her feet in a whirlwind romance, which continues to this day. Bill and Diane were married in December, 1969.
Bill entered UC Berkeley in 1969 and graduated first in his class in Biochemistry in 1973. He then entered Medical School at the University of California, San Francisco, where he was a Regent's Scholar. He is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine and has practiced in Sacramento for over 25 years.
Bill served as Assistant Chief of the Kaiser, Sacramento Emergency Department from 1982-1985 and Chief of the Kaiser, South Sacramento Emergency Department from 1985-1989. He helped found the UC Davis/Kaiser Emergency Medicine Residency in 1989, and he served as Associate Residency Director from 1989-2002. He has received awards for being an outstanding teacher and an outstanding researcher.
Bill served as Injury Prevention Chairperson of the California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (Cal/ACEP) from 2000 to 2007, and he served on the Cal/ACEP Board of Directors from 2003-2004. He has helped craft state legislation related to injury prevention, and he has testified on numerous occasions before committees of the California State Legislature. He received a special Cal/ACEP Injury Prevention Award in 2002 for service to the people of California.
Bill served on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility from 1999-2003, and he helped re-form the Sacramento chapter in 2003. He served as PSR/Sacramento president from 2003 until 2006.
In addition to the honors and awards mentioned above, Bill received the "Lightning Rod of Courage Award" from the Teach Peace Foundation and the Robert Matsui Community Service Award from the Town and Country Democratic Club in 2007.
During Bill and Diane's early married years, Diane worked as a teacher at the California School for the Deaf, which was then in Berkeley. Diane was inspired by the late Leah Grammatico, founder of the Peninsula Oral Jean Weingarten School for the Deaf, to convert from teaching sign language to teaching deaf children to listen and talk with the aid of sophisticated hearing aids and cohclear implants. Diane now teaches at the Children's Choice for Hearing and Talking Center in Rancho Cordova. Diane and Bill love to dance together, participate in outdoor sports, share music, and just spend time with each other, including on the campaign trail. Diane's athletic claim to fame is that although she is an infrequent golfer, she has had 5 holes-in-one, including an ace at Pebble Beach, the first time she played the course.
Bill and Diane have two grown children, Annie and Jeff. Annie graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor's degree in Social Studies in 2001, after which she did a Rockefeller Fellowship in Brazil. She then earned a Master's Degree in International Affairs at Columbia University. Annie worked for two years for the American Friends Service Committee in New York City. She is currently working for an international children's rights organization in Belgium. Annie's outside interests include music and outdoor sports, including backpacking, swimming, and cross-country skiing.
Jeff graduated with a bachelor's degree in Urban Studies from UC San Diego in 2003, and he earned his secondary teaching credential from San Francisco State in 2006. Jeff currently teaches high school in the Oakland area. Like Annie, Jeff enjoys music and outdoor sports. He is a scratch golfer (a talent he inherited from his mother, not his father).
Diane's parents are both deceased. Bill's parents, Margie and Al, are still thriving at ages 87 and 89, respectively, and living in the Sonora area. Bill has one brother, Tom, who lives with his wife, Yolanda, in Sonora. Diane's brother, Dan, lives in Contra Costa County.
Money in politics
Committees and affiliations
Durston will be assigned committees if and when he is elected to Congress.
More background data
Articles and resources
- 2008 U.S. congressional elections
- Portal:California and the U.S. Congress
- 2008 Race Tracker page on California’s 3rd Congressional District
- Nicholas Gerber's official 2008 website