Endorsements

Courage California

Courage California

Courage California (formerly Courage Campaign) believes that California must be a beacon of progressive, equitable, and truly representative democracy. As the 5th largest economy in the world -- and the United States' largest and most diverse state -- California is uniquely positioned to serve as a model for the country. 

We must prove that democracy in the US can still solve the thorniest problems facing our state, our nation, and the world, while also serving ALL of our people -- regardless of race, gender, or economic status. To do so, Californians must have the information and infrastructure they need to hold elected officials accountable when they are not working for the public’s benefit, instead prioritizing corporate lobbyists and campaign contributors. 

Courage California, driven by our 1.4 million members, helps our great state reach its potential by calling out institutional corruption and oppression, improving coordination and collaboration between progressive organizations, and demanding that our state and local representatives be both accountable to and reflective of the Californians they seek to serve.

Countywide Races

Los Angeles County

  • Non-Partisan
  • Elect George Gascón to push Los Angeles County in the right direction. 

    About the Position

    The district attorney (DA) serves as the chief prosecutor for their designated county. The district attorney’s duties include reviewing police reports, determining criminal charges, and prosecuting criminal cases. The district attorney oversees a staff of prosecutors, who are responsible for presenting cases against individuals suspected of breaking the law, initiating investigations and recommending sentencing. The district attorney holds the power to grant immunity, conduct investigations of individuals, plea bargain with defendants, and is responsible for conducting investigations into every police misconduct incident. 

    About the District

    Los Angeles County is the most populous county in the United States. It encompasses a population of over 10 million, with significant Latinx, Black, and Asian populations. Notable cities within the county include Los Angeles, Inglewood, Long Beach, and Compton. Notable issues within the county’s criminal justice system include high rates of incarceration and police brutality.  

    About the Race

    In the March 3 primary election with three candidates, challenger George Gascón qualified along with incumbent Jackie Lacey, who failed to secure over 50 percent of the vote. At that time, Gascón trailed DA Lacey by a margin of 20 percent. Since then, as a result of the recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations, DA Lacey has been under increasing pressure to account for her problematic record of not listening to community groups and failing to prosecute police officers. Several elected officials have also rescinded their endorsements of DA Lacey since the start of the demonstrations.

    Gascón’s campaign is largely funded through individual donations, as well as contributions from labor unions and law firms. He has joined forces with San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin and Contra Costa DA Diana Becton to call all DAs and DA candidates to reject police union support as a conflict of interest. Gascón has not received any police, corporate, or fossil fuel money. 

    Opponent Jackie Lacey’s campaign’s funding is mostly composed of law-enforcement contributions, including a $1 million donation from the Los Angeles Police Protective League, $800,000 from the L.A. County sheriff’s deputies, and over $100,000 from the Peace Officers Research Association of California. Unions such as the Los Angeles Police Protective League have also contributed over $1 million to an anti-Gascón PAC. This push against Gascón from law enforcement is a direct result of Gascón’s commitment toward stricter oversight of police use of force. 

    About the Candidate

    George Gascón, a Cuban immigrant and longtime Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) police officer is known as a groundbreaking progressive leader in criminal justice reform in the country. Gascón is running for district attorney in Los Angeles because he believes the way the criminal justice system operates in Los Angeles must change.

    George Gascón moved back to L.A. to run for district attorney there, leaving his role as district attorney in San Francisco, where he was appointed to the seat in 2011, and he was re-elected twice. As the San Francisco DA, Gascón led a slate of progressive reforms, including lowering incarceration rates, expunging more than 9,000 marijuana convictions dating back to 1975, and launching a first-of-its-kind website that provides data on prosecutions, caseloads, and trial outcomes to the public in order to increase accountability and transparency in the criminal justice system. 

    Gascón started his career as a cop in Los Angeles. His trajectory took him to the top of the LAPD, where, as assistant chief, he oversaw operations of more than 9,000 officers. Throughout his career, Gascón has demonstrated the ability to think in new ways about complex problems in criminal justice and to create meaningful change in the culture and operations of police departments, including the LAPD, the Mesa Police Department, and the SFPD. 

    In his role as San Francisco DA, Gascón increased the prosecution of sexual assault cases, and created response teams, education programs, partnerships, and a new law-enforcement unit focused on addressing child abuse and sexual assault. He implemented practices and resources that centered on survivors and is currently proposing policies that protect undocumented, LGBTQ, and student survivors while prioritizing cultural and linguistic competency. 

    Gascón’s priorities for Los Angeles County address issues of immigration, corruption, and climate justice. Gascón has experience prosecuting both corporations and individual polluters and has committed to protecting the environment. Additionally, Gascón promises to fight against public corruption and promote accountability among Los Angeles County officials. Gascón is committed to opposing the death penalty and the use of money bail, both of which disproportionately target Black and brown populations.

    One of Gascón’s most notable priorities is addressing police brutality and holding law enforcement accountable. This is particularly relevant, considering Los Angeles County police have killed nearly 900 people since 2000, of which a majority are Black and brown victims. Only two officers have been charged for shooting civilians while on duty. This discrepancy is largely due to incumbent DA Jackie Lacey’s failure to prosecute the officers. In nearly all 886 cases of police violence, DA Lacey deemed use of force as legally justified. 

    Gascón’s track record and position on law-enforcement accountability is rare, particularly for someone with a law-enforcement background. During his term as San Francisco DA, Gascón prosecuted more than 30 police officers for criminal conduct. In 2019, while many police, law-enforcement officials, and prosecutors fought against its passage, Gascón advocated for Assembly Bill 392, also known as the Stephon Clark Bill, or the deadly use of force bill, which created a stricter standard for police use of force. He remains the only law-enforcement official in California to advocate for this legislation; every other prosecutor, including incumbent L.A. County DA Jackie Lacey, refused. 

    Throughout all these initiatives, Gascón has demonstrated an awareness of underserved communities’ needs. His awareness of the intricacies of racial bias is necessary, now more than ever, for the district attorney’s office. That awareness, however, is not what makes Gascón an ideal choice. While critics tend to focus on his background as a police officer who rose through the ranks, it is his departure from policing in pursuit of systemic reform that sets him apart. 

    In a time of heightened injustice, Gascón stands out from other political candidates in that he has studied his past actions and outcomes, listened to communities affected by the system, and changed his views and behaviors in response to become a more effective and compassionate leader. His willingness to prosecute police brutality cases and his track record on creating solutions that have become models for criminal justice reform advocates are highlights of his case for becoming Los Angeles’s next district attorney. 
     
    Gascón is a compelling challenger to incumbent Jackie Lacey, who has consistently resisted public pressure to hold police accountable for the more than 618 people who have been killed by police in Los Angeles County since her election in 2013. According to our analysis, George Gascón is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

    About Courage California’s Endorsement

    After a comprehensive review of George Gascón’s record and from local partners, we have determined that he is committed to criminal justice reform, environmental justice, racial equity and justice, and immigrant rights. His experience in the community and pledges to refuse money from corporate PACs, police, and the fossil fuel industry are in alignment with the progressive future Courage California hopes to achieve in which special interests have no place in politics. Gascón’s dedication to holding law enforcement accountable for police brutality demonstrates the integrity Californians need more now than ever. We are confident that he will rule cases with equity and justice. Courage California is proud to endorse George Gascón.

    George Gascón

    Elect George Gascón to push Los Angeles County in the right direction. 

    About the Position

    The district attorney (DA) serves as the chief prosecutor for their designated county.

    Last updated: 2020-10-28

Board of Supervisor Races

Los Angeles County

  • Non-Partisan
  • Elect Holly J. Mitchell to push Los Angeles County in the right direction. 

    About the Position

    Each of the 58 counties in California is governed by a five-person board of supervisors. A board of supervisors has legislative and executive power to manage county services and resources, including courts, jails, public health, and public lands. They also have quasi-judicial powers, which gives them the right to hold hearings, conduct investigations, and make decisions in a manner similar to judicial courts. Laws passed by boards of supervisors are generally called ordinances. Because counties include both incorporated cities administered by their own city councils, as well as unincorporated areas directly administered by the county, ordinances may or may not apply in different areas of the county. Supervisors are typically ‎limited to three terms or 12 years in office total.

    About the District

    Los Angeles County is the most populous county in the United States. It encompasses a population of over 10 million, with significant Latinx, Black, and Asian populations. District 2 includes the cities of Carson, Compton, Culver City, Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Los Angeles (portion), Lynwood, as well as a number of unincorporated areas within the county. The five-member board of supervisors is the governing body of Los Angeles County and manages a budget of nearly $35 million annually, which they administer with the support of the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office. 

    About the Race

    State Senator Holly Mitchell is running against opponent Herb Wesson, member of the Los Angeles City Council. According to recent polling numbers, Sen. Mitchell is leading opponent City Council Member Wesson by a margin of 13 percent, with many voters in the district still undecided.

    Sen. Mitchell’s campaign has raised $445,000 through June 2020 and has pledged to not take police or fossil fuel money. Her campaign, primarily funded by individuals, labor unions, and the campaigns of colleagues in the state legislature, has accepted several donations from corporate PACs. These PACs include Herbalife International Inc. PAC, and Enterprise Holdings, Inc. Political Action Committee, the employee PAC for the brands Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental, and Alamo Rent a Car.

    City Council Member Herb Wesson’s campaign has raised just over $550,000 in the same period and has not pledged to avoid any types of campaign contributions. His candidacy is supported by multiple independent expenditure efforts that spent over $1.2 million on his behalf in the primary, with $715,000 coming from three police officer unions. City Council Member Wesson played the key role in passing an amendment to the Los Angeles City Charter to reduce disciplinary procedures for Los Angeles police officers. Additionally, when he served in the Assembly, Wesson received over $10,000 in contributions from the private prison industry and supported private prisons with SB297 (The bill was vetoed by former Gov. Gray Davis).

    About the Candidate

    State Senator Holly Mitchell is a third-generation Angeleno and continues to live in Los Angeles, where she serves as a state senator for California’s 30th Senate District. According to campaign materials, Sen. Mitchell is running to represent District 2 on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in order to meet the real needs of local communities in Los Angeles County.

    Sen. Mitchell was elected to the state Assembly in 2010 and moved to the Senate in 2013. She is currently serving her final term (2018–2022) as a state senator and is the first African American Chair of the powerful Budget and Fiscal Review Committee. During her tenure, Sen. Mitchell proposed a set of criminal justice reforms that were signed into law. The reforms consisted of 10 laws to reduce barriers for Californians affected by the criminal justice system by reducing sentence enhancements for low-level drugs, removing court fees for the innocent, sealing arrest records for people not convicted, ending the sentencing of juveniles to life without parole, and other advancements. She has been a notable progressive influence in other areas as well, with nearly 90 bills signed into law on issues that include homelessness, mental health, children’s rights, and job protections.

    In office, Sen. Mitchell has scored an overall 98 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting record. Recently, Sen. Mitchell has taken a stand on a problematic statewide housing bill, working with a coalition representing low-income communities to demand stronger protections for low-income people, people of color, and other vulnerable people most strongly affected by the housing crisis.

    Courage is proud to endorse Sen. Mitchell because of her track record as a champion for underrepresented and marginalized communities in California and her reputation as a strong leader on ethics for other legislators. The Los Angeles Times described her as “the Legislature’s moral compass.” Sen. Mitchell is endorsed by a strong majority of progressive groups in the district. According to our analysis, Sen. Mitchell is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

    About the Misinformation

    A website and TV ads mischaracterizing Senator Mitchell have been unveiled by her opponent, Wesson. The ads accuse Sen. Mitchell of personally supporting private prisons in return for “thousands” of dollars to her campaign. Her campaign reported returning the unsolicited $1,000 in question, and her voting record in the State legislature proves she has never supported private prisons. On the contrary, Senator Mitchell’s record shows she has been a staunch advocate for criminal justice reform and decarceration. Sen. Mitchell and other advocates have encouraged Councilmember Wesson to return the money he has received from the private prison industry, but he has not done so as of Oct 16, 2020.

    About Courage California’s Endorsement

    After a comprehensive review of Holly J. Mitchell’s record and consultation with local partners, we have determined that she is committed to criminal justice reform, environmental justice, racial equity and justice, and immigrant rights. Her experience in the community and in the California State Legislature combined with her pledges to refuse money from the fossil fuel industry and police are in alignment with the progressive future Courage California hopes to achieve in which special interests have no place in politics. Mitchell’s ideas and proposals are thoroughly well-thought out and demonstrate her strong, structural grasp on the issues Californians face. We are confident that she will co-govern in the interests of all Los Angeles residents. Courage California is proud to endorse Holly J. Mitchell for Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

    Holly Mitchell

    Elect Holly J. Mitchell to push Los Angeles County in the right direction. 

    About the Position

    Each of the 58 counties in California is governed by a five-person board of supervisors. A board of supervisors has legislative and executive power to manage county services and resources, including courts, jails, public health, and public lands. They also have quasi-judicial powers, which gives them the right to hold hearings, conduct investigations, and make decisions in a manner similar to judicial courts. Laws passed by boards of supervisors are generally called ordinances. Because counties include both incorporated cities administered by their own city councils, as well as unincorporated areas directly administered by the county, ordinances may or may not apply in different areas of the county. Supervisors are typically ‎limited to three terms or 12 years in office total.

    About the District

    Los Angeles County is the most populous county in the United States. It encompasses a population of over 10 million, with significant Latinx, Black, and Asian populations. District 2 includes the cities of Carson, Compton, Culver City, Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood, Lawndale, Los Angeles (portion), Lynwood, as well as a number of unincorporated areas within the county. The five-member board of supervisors is the governing body of Los Angeles County and manages a budget of nearly $35 million annually, which they administer with the support of the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office. 

    About the Race

    State Senator Holly Mitchell is running against opponent Herb Wesson, member of the Los Angeles City Council. According to recent polling numbers, Sen. Mitchell is leading opponent City Council Member Wesson by a margin of 13 percent, with many voters in the district still undecided.

    Sen. Mitchell’s campaign has raised $445,000 through June 2020 and has pledged to not take police or fossil fuel money. Her campaign, primarily funded by individuals, labor unions, and the campaigns of colleagues in the state legislature, has accepted several donations from corporate PACs. These PACs include Herbalife International Inc. PAC, and Enterprise Holdings, Inc. Political Action Committee, the employee PAC for the brands Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental, and Alamo Rent a Car.

    City Council Member Herb Wesson’s campaign has raised just over $550,000 in the same period and has not pledged to avoid any types of campaign contributions. His candidacy is supported by multiple independent expenditure efforts that spent over $1.2 million on his behalf in the primary, with $715,000 coming from three police officer unions. City Council Member Wesson played the key role in passing an amendment to the Los Angeles City Charter to reduce disciplinary procedures for Los Angeles police officers. Additionally, when he served in the Assembly, Wesson received over $10,000 in contributions from the private prison industry and supported private prisons with SB297 (The bill was vetoed by former Gov. Gray Davis).

    About the Candidate

    State Senator Holly Mitchell is a third-generation Angeleno and continues to live in Los Angeles, where she serves as a state senator for California’s 30th Senate District. According to campaign materials, Sen. Mitchell is running to represent District 2 on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in order to meet the real needs of local communities in Los Angeles County.

    Sen. Mitchell was elected to the state Assembly in 2010 and moved to the Senate in 2013. She is currently serving her final term (2018–2022) as a state senator and is the first African American Chair of the powerful Budget and Fiscal Review Committee. During her tenure, Sen. Mitchell proposed a set of criminal justice reforms that were signed into law. The reforms consisted of 10 laws to reduce barriers for Californians affected by the criminal justice system by reducing sentence enhancements for low-level drugs, removing court fees for the innocent, sealing arrest records for people not convicted, ending the sentencing of juveniles to life without parole, and other advancements. She has been a notable progressive influence in other areas as well, with nearly 90 bills signed into law on issues that include homelessness, mental health, children’s rights, and job protections.

    In office, Sen. Mitchell has scored an overall 98 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting record. Recently, Sen. Mitchell has taken a stand on a problematic statewide housing bill, working with a coalition representing low-income communities to demand stronger protections for low-income people, people of color, and other vulnerable people most strongly affected by the housing crisis.

    Courage is proud to endorse Sen. Mitchell because of her track record as a champion for underrepresented and marginalized communities in California and her reputation as a strong leader on ethics for other legislators. The Los Angeles Times described her as “the Legislature’s moral compass.” Sen. Mitchell is endorsed by a strong majority of progressive groups in the district. According to our analysis, Sen. Mitchell is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.

    About the Misinformation

    A website and TV ads mischaracterizing Senator Mitchell have been unveiled by her opponent, Wesson. The ads accuse Sen. Mitchell of personally supporting private prisons in return for “thousands” of dollars to her campaign. Her campaign reported returning the unsolicited $1,000 in question, and her voting record in the State legislature proves she has never supported private prisons. On the contrary, Senator Mitchell’s record shows she has been a staunch advocate for criminal justice reform and decarceration. Sen. Mitchell and other advocates have encouraged Councilmember Wesson to return the money he has received from the private prison industry, but he has not done so as of Oct 16, 2020.

    About Courage California’s Endorsement

    After a comprehensive review of Holly J. Mitchell’s record and consultation with local partners, we have determined that she is committed to criminal justice reform, environmental justice, racial equity and justice, and immigrant rights. Her experience in the community and in the California State Legislature combined with her pledges to refuse money from the fossil fuel industry and police are in alignment with the progressive future Courage California hopes to achieve in which special interests have no place in politics. Mitchell’s ideas and proposals are thoroughly well-thought out and demonstrate her strong, structural grasp on the issues Californians face. We are confident that she will co-govern in the interests of all Los Angeles residents. Courage California is proud to endorse Holly J. Mitchell for Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

    Last updated: 2020-10-30