Re-elect State Assemblymember Jim Wood to keep AD-02 on the right track.
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 2nd Assembly District includes all of Humboldt, Del Norte, Mendocino, and Trinity Counties, as well as part of Sonoma County. Notable cities within the district include Santa Rosa, Fort Bragg, and Eureka. Democrats typically hold this district. The most recent election results show AD-02 voted for Hillary Clinton for President in 2016 and Gavin Newsom for governor in 2018. California Assembly District 2 is unique in that it is majority white and rural, yet liberal. A recent decline of the district’s timber industry has led to an increase in marijuana production. Despite recent voter shifts, the district is still the most conservative on the Northern California coast.
About the Race
Following the March 3 primary election, Democrat incumbent Jim Wood is leading Republican challenger Charlotte Svolos by a margin of 41.6 percent. Assemblymember Wood’s campaign has raised over $128,000, and is funded largely through health professionals and individual donors. However, Assemblymember Wood has received substantial corporate, fossil fuel, and police funding. Republican challenger Svolos has not filed with the FEC, and does not have public campaign records.
About the Candidate
Representative Jim Wood moved to Northern California in 1987. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2014. According to campaign materials, he is running for re-election because he wants to continue to improve environmental protections, economic development, and health care. Wood demonstrates a commitment to fighting against rising prescription drug prices, opposing coastline oil drilling, and finding health-care solutions. Assemblymember Wood has received endorsements from notable progressive organizations, including the California Teachers Association, Equality California, Planned Parenthood Northern California, and Sierra Club California. However, he has also received problematic endorsements, including the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), the largest law-enforcement organization in California. Assemblymember Wood has received 100% ratings from the 2019 Environmental Justice Scoreboard, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, ACLU of California, California Federation of Teachers, Equality California, and other progressive organizations.
In the State Assembly, Rep. Wood authored several key bills to address health care, the environment, and immigration. Since the primary election, he has voted in support of affirmative action, environmental protections, and COVID-19 medical leave protections. His Pay to Delay bill prevents drug companies from delaying production of generic drugs. He voted to end transporting oil to the state from offshore drilling facilities, to provide information to residents potentially affected by pollution in their language, and to protect personal data from being used to deport Californians. He currently chairs the Assembly Health Committee. Prior to his election to Assembly District 2, he served two terms as mayor of Healdsburg. Wood is a dentist by practice, with expertise in forensic dentistry, and has a history working with law enforcement in that capacity.
Rep. Wood is being challenged by Republican Charlotte Svolos. He has scored a lifetime 82 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Rep. Wood has shown some willingness to advocate for the needs of constituents and to face down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians. That said, his fierce opposition to Medicare for All and his role in undermining the single-payer health-care movement in California are of grave concern. Republican opponent Svolos’s campaign centers on problematic ideals of “immigration reform” and criminal penalties.
The threat of Republican challenger Svolos’s potential policies greatly outweighs Wood’s somewhat moderate voting record, problematic endorsements, and lack of campaign finance pledges. According to our analysis, Rep. Wood is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.