Re-elect State Assemblymember Jose Medina to keep AD-61 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 two-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 61st Assembly District includes parts of Riverside County. Democrats typically hold this district. The most recent election results show AD-61 voted for Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 and Gavin Newsom for governor in 2018.
About the Race
In the primary, Democrat incumbent Representative Jose Medina led Republican challenger Ali Mazarei by a margin of 32.4 percent. Medina’s campaign has raised $419,689 and has not committed to any campaign finance pledges. Mazarei’s campaign has raised $176,281, almost entirely from his own pocket and his Arco gas station business, and has not committed to any campaign finance pledges.
About the Candidate
Rep. Jose Medina, a former educator and four-time assemblymember, is from San Jose, CA. According to campaign materials, Rep. Medina is running for re-election to further his efforts to achieve debt-free college.
Rep. Jose Medina’s priorities for AD-61 this year include making Ethnic Studies a high school graduation requirement and engaging young people with his Youth Advisory Committee. He currently sits on six committees: the Higher Education (chair), Arts, Accountability and Administrative Review, Business and Professions, Budget, and Transportation Committees. Rep. Medina has sponsored 239 bills this year on such topics as services for undocumented minors, occupational health and safety, and reducing the use of force by police, of which over 10 percent have successfully passed. He scores a lifetime 75 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Rep. Medina has supported some progressive bills that made it to a vote. That said, Rep. Medina has not supported preventing dialysis companies from steering patients away from Medi-Cal, strengthening emissions-reporting requirements, establishing oil-spill contingency plans, reducing single-use packaging waste, allowing the sponsorship of public banks, forcing debt collectors to leave a final $1,724 in a bank account, and establishing an organization to raise and distribute affordable housing funds. His No vote on the dialysis bill comes after accepting a total of $14,500 from DaVita Inc., a private dialysis provider that commands 37 percent of the market.
Prior to his election to the State Assembly, Rep. Jose Medina taught in the Riverside public school system, serving as a school board member on the Jurupa Unified School District Board of Education and completing three successful terms on the Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees. During his first term in the Assembly, Rep. Medina secured $15 million for the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine. In 2018, he secured $9.7 million to assist in the development of the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art, Culture, and Industry. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of California, Riverside, and is a longtime supporter of Chicano history and art in the region.
Rep. Jose Medina has received endorsements from some progressive groups in the district. He has also been endorsed by the Peace Officers Research Association of California, California Statewide Law Enforcement Association, California Association of Highway Patrolmen, and Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs. He has also accepted money from Pfizer, DaVita Inc., and a number of fossil fuel companies and interests. However, the threat of Republican challenger and strong Trump supporter Ali Mazarei’s potential policies outweighs Medina’s moderate voting record and inaction on campaign financing. According to our analysis, Rep. Jose Medina is the strongest choice for representative leadership in office at this time, but we urge progressive voices in the district to make themselves heard and run for office in the future.