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California State SenateCandidate for District 1Short Term

Photo of Silke Pflueger

Silke Pflueger

Safety Advocate/Businesswoman
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Accessible and affordable quality healthcare for every Californian
  • Fire resiliency, disaster planning, and protection of survivors
  • Improved education and job opportunities in the North State and other rural communities of the district



Profession:Laser engineer, businesswoman, safety advocate
Advisory Board, Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (2017–current)
Board of Directors, Laser Institute of America (2000–2018)
General Manager, DirectPhotonics Inc. (2013–2016)
Director Marketing & Sales, Laserline Inc (2008–2012)
Director Sales, SPI Lasers (2004–2007)


Aachen University, Frauhofer Institute for Laser Technology PhD, Mechanical Engineering (1994)
Aachen University Master, Electrical Engineering (1989)

Community Activities

Co-Founder, Tahoe Truckee Indivisible (2017–current)


  • Proud Californian, Businesswoman, and Safety Advocate
  • Laser Engineer and Non-profit Board Member
  • Immigrant who is deeply committed to getting her adoptive country back on track
  • Indivisible Organizer and Activist for Progressive Values: 
    Accountability, Transparency, Empathy, Truth, Inclusion and Justice

Silke fell in love with the US during a graduate internship in Connecticut. She moved to Michigan in 1994, starting a subsidiary of a German R&D institution – all while driving her American dream car: an eight-cylinder Mustang convertible. In 1997 she followed the call of Silicon Valley and joined an industrial laser company in San Jose. Leaving the world of big corporations in 2004, she started US outposts for several European companies. Her communication and leadership skills were instrumental in successfully building those organizations. Throughout her career, Silke has travelled extensively in the US, Europe and Asia, gaining insight on social justice and economic policies within and beyond our borders. 

When Silke underwent treatment for breast cancer in 2013, she reevaluated her priorities and decided to apply her engineering training and creative problem solving skills to activism for progressive causes. She moved the center of her life to Truckee, California, where she was a co-founder and co-chair of Tahoe Truckee Indivisible, and has dedicated the past 6 years to political activism – leading and organizing peaceful protests and marches, and canvassing for progressive candidates.


Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $40,385

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

California Nurses Association
California Democratic Party
Employees of Vaca Consulting
Employees of DEP Productions
El Dorado County Democratic Committee

More information about contributions

By State:

California 97.92%
Montana 1.78%
New York 0.30%

By Size:

Large contributions (83.25%)
Small contributions (16.75%)

By Type:

From organizations (42.24%)
From individuals (57.76%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Silke is committed to working tirelessly to enact legislation that benefits ALL Californians:

  • Affordable and Accessible Healthcare for all Californians, including those in Rural Areas
  • Fire Resiliency and Preparation; Timely Consumer Protection after disasters
  • Climate Change measures that protect our farming communities and winter tourism economy
  • Affordable Housing, so people can live in the communities in which they work
  • New Jobs throughout the District through affordable education, apprenticeship programs, and a focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Math)
  • Infrastructure Improvements, including for Transportation beyond fixing potholes
  • Keeping California on the current healthy fiscal track

Position Papers

Health Care


Affordable, accessible quality health care for all Californians

As a breast cancer survivor, Silke’s number one issue is having access to affordable healthcare. If elected, she will fight for every Californian to get the healthcare they need, when they need it, and from the provider of their choice. Access to healthcare is not a privilege, it’s a basic human right.

When faced with a serious illness, our first and only thoughts should be around how to become healthy, not how to pay for treatment. We cannot depend on a system where a GoFundMe is one of the main funding mechanisms for medical care of serious conditions, and where insurances encourage patients to beg for money.

The ACA (Affordable Care Act) was a step in the right direction, however it leaves too many uninsured; 3 million Californians are still uninsured. It is especially problematic in the border areas of Senate District 1, where often the only available ACA plans will not cover treatment in other states adequately, even though the closest provider may be in Nevada or Oregon.

Silke will also lead the fight to keep rural hospitals open while ensuring that they have adequate equipment and specialists.

Fire resiliency, preparedness and recovery


Wildfires are here to stay. We have to work to ensure their damage to people and property is limited.

The federal government owns and manages the vast majority of California’s forest, yet the US Forest Service budget gets cut year after year, while the fire danger in our forests increases year after year. We saw the largest fires ever in each of the last 4 years, and we will see them again in the next years.

Silke’s goal is to empower residents and communities to create defensible spaces and improve their communities' fire resiliency by boosting education and outreach to landowners to teach them on the most effective ways to reduce vegetation and other forest-fire fuel sources. Beyond education, Silke will fight for funding that goes directly to communities and residents to improve the health of their forests and create defensible space, creating safer environments as well as much needed rural jobs.

As a longtime home-owner in fire-prone areas, Silke will also work to ensure that every homeowner has access to homeowner’s insurance, as well as ensure that insurance payouts are adequate and not bare-bones.

Finally, after seeing the inadequate FEMA response after the Butte and Camp fires, she will work with the state and the federal agencies on better emergency follow-up for wildfire victims.

Education and job training


Quality education for every Californian

Growing up in a European country with some of the best free public education in the world gave Silke a unique perspective among our senate candidates on education funding. She will push to adopt statewide policies and support local efforts to improve the quality of public education in the North State.

Because of her background, Silke also has firsthand experience with a system that pro-actively strengthens the relationship between higher education, workforce development, and employers. She knows how to utilize public resources to help education lead directly to jobs.


Silke supports legislation that invests in California’s children by improving early education and school readiness initiatives, providing significant investments to yield exponential returns for students and schools.

It is vital for communities to partner with local school boards to effectively prioritize resource allocation. Silke will ensure that local educational agencies are fiscally stable, and resources are targeted to student populations the most in need of support.


Silke believes that California lawmakers should promote affordability, access, and efficiency in higher education, and she recognizes the importance of developing the skilled workforce needed for the state to meet its ever-changing workforce needs. Being the world’s 5th largest economy, California can, and should, make an undergraduate degree achievable for students from low- and middle-income families through reduced or no-tuition programs. Silke will fight for funding for two free years of community college for first-time, fulltime students.    

Based on her own experiences and career success, Silke will introduce apprenticeship and vocational programs that enable students to gain job skills that allow them to work for local employers.  She proposes that California establish a new educational institution in the North State, with Redding being a top choice for this initiative.

Videos (1)

— February 18, 2019 Committee to Elect Silke Pflueger for Senate 2019

A discussion of Silke's Vision for California's Senate District 1

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