Elect James Henson to push AD-03 in the right direction.
About the Position
State assembly members form part of the California State Legislature, and work alongside the governor to establish laws and a state budget. They hold the power to pass bills that affect public policy, set state spending levels, raise and lower taxes, and uphold or override the governor’s vetoes. The California State Assembly has 80 districts. Each represents a population of at least 465,000 Californians. Representatives are elected to the Assembly for a four-year term. Every two years, all 80 seats are subject to election. Members elected before 2012 are restricted to three two-year terms (six years) in the Assembly. Those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years total across both the State Senate and Assembly. This term, Democrats currently hold a two-thirds supermajority of 61 seats in the California State Assembly, while Republicans hold 17 seats. One seat is held by an Independent and one seat is currently vacant.
About the District
California’s 3rd Assembly District includes all of Sutter, Yuba, Glenn, and Tehama Counties, as well as parts of Butte and Colusa Counties. Notable cities include Chico, Oroville, and Yuba City. Republicans typically hold this district, and have represented the State Assembly district since 1974. The most recent election results show AD-03 voted for Donald Trump for president in 2016 and John Cox for governor in 2018. The district is primarily agricultural, and the most sparsely populated area within the Central Valley.
About the Race
In the primary, Democrat challenger James Henson trailed incumbent Representative James Gallagher by a margin of 30.6 percent. Henson’s campaign has raised a little under $2,000, primarily from the California Democratic Party and individual contributions. Henson has not filed records with the California Secretary of State, but it appears he has not received fossil fuel and corporate funding. Although Henson has not received police funding, he has not signed the #NoCopMoneyCA pledge. Opponent Gallagher’s campaign has raised over $219,000, and has received significant law enforcement, fossil fuel, and corporate funding.
About the Candidate
James Henson is from Paradise, CA, and currently lives in Chico, CA. According to campaign materials and interviews, he is running for election to improve education, health care, and environmental protections. Henson has raised concern over dropout rates among the Hispanic population, and is committed to improving education safety in the district. Additionally, he has promised to prioritize issues of unemployment and global warming, and supports both the Green New Deal and Medicare for all. Henson has firsthand experience with the negative impact of corporations, and is committed to not receiving corporate funding. Additionally, his campaign promises to center women’s rights, immigration, affordable housing, and LGBTQIA+ issues.
Henson is an author and longtime activist within Butte County. His activism is fueled by his experience as a survivor of the 2018 Paradise Camp Fire, during which he and his family lost everything and were forced to permanently leave their home.
Henson has experience as a community volunteer and leader in multiple projects, including Chico Peace Camps, Making Chico a Fair Trade Town, and Chico Harvey Milk Day. He currently serves as president of Paradise Ridge Democrats and as a member of Butte County Democratic Central Committee.
Henson is endorsed by the California Democratic Party and Health Care for All--California. Republican opponent James Gallagher has represented District 3 in the State Assembly since 2014, and has received a number of concerning endorsements. These include the California Pro-Life Council, Peace Officers Research Association of California, and numerous sheriff and district attorney endorsements. During his term as assemblymember, he has voted against bills that support environmental protections, affirmative action, COVID-19 medical leave protections, and affordable housing, to name a few. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Assemblymember Gallagher has shown that he does NOT advocate for the needs of constituents, nor does he face down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians. He scored just 1 out of 100 on this year’s Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting records. In summary, Assemblymember Gallagher is not serving his constituents with progressive solutions.
According to our analysis, James Henson is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.