Re-elect State Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer to keep AD-59 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 59th Assembly District includes parts of Los Angeles Counties. Democrats typically hold this district. The most recent election results show AD-59 voted for Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 and Gavin Newsom for governor in 2018.
About the Race
In the primary, Democrat incumbent Representative Reggie Jones-Sawyer trailed Democratic challenger Efren Martinez by a margin of 5.7 percent. Jones-Sawyer’s campaign has raised $1,210,039 and has not committed to any campaign finance pledges. Martinez’s campaign has raised $492,225, not committed to any pledges, and is endorsed by the Peace Officer Research Association of California. In a 2017 Los Angeles Times article, Martinez was connected to Huntington Park councilwoman Karina Macias, who has been accused of multiple ethics violations, having rewarded donors with political favors. Martinez paid commissions to Macias as a fundraiser for prospective campaigns in 2012 and 2016. On both occasions, Martinez did not use the money raised to run for office.
About the Candidate
Rep. Reggie Jones-Sawyer, a former labor organizer and lifelong public servant, is from Little Rock, AR, and has lived in South Los Angeles for many decades. According to campaign materials, Rep. Jones-Sawyer is running for re-election to further expand public services and continue serving working-class families in the district he has long called home.
Rep. Reggie Jones-Sawyer’s priorities for AD-59 this year include fighting mass incarceration and police brutality, supporting renters’ and immigrants’ rights, and continuing to push his introduced legislation for free public college. He currently sits on five committees: the Public Safety (chair), Agriculture, Budget, Governmental Organization, and Labor and Employment Committees. Rep. Jones-Sawyer sponsored 242 bills on such topics as expanding public housing, eliminating admin fees for inmates seeking medical care, and tightening regulations on the use of deadly force by police this year, of which over 10 percent have successfully passed. He scores a lifetime 95 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Rep. Jones-Sawyer supported nearly all progressive bills that made it to a vote during the 2019–2020 legislative year, abstaining from only one vote, requiring debt collectors to leave a final $1,724 in a bank account.
Prior to his election to the State Assembly, Rep. Reggie Jones-Sawyer was the vice president of SEIU's (Local 721) Los Angeles Professional Managers Association, and has served as director of Asset Management for the City of Los Angeles, assistant deputy mayor for the City of Los Angeles, chair of the Los Angeles County Small Business Commission, and statewide secretary of the California Democratic Party. His legislative accomplishments include securing nearly $100 million in grants to assist formerly incarcerated people in acquiring employment and education, prohibiting criminal records from being used as the basis for housing decisions, and prioritizing funding campus intervention workers, counselors, and other mental-health professionals over campus police. Jones-Sawyer is a member of the California Legislative Black Caucus, serving as chair from 2015–2016, and is a longtime supporter of immigrants’ rights, recidivism prevention through rehabilitation, and empowering social workers and other public servants.
Rep. Reggie Jones-Sawyer is endorsed by a strong majority of progressive groups in the district. He is also backed by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, PG&E, and the California Apartment Association. However, the threat of the extremely pro–law enforcement Efren Martinez’s potential policies greatly outweighs Jones-Sawyer’s lack of campaign finance pledges. According to our analysis, Rep. Reggie Jones-Sawyer is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.
About Courage California’s Endorsement
After a comprehensive interview with Reggie Jones-Sawyer, we have determined that he is committed to criminal justice reform, environmental justice, racial equity and justice, and immigrant rights. His track record as the founder and Chair of the California Progressive Caucus demonstrates his dedication to advancing progressive legislation. Jones-Sawyer announced he is no longer taking any more money from big tobacco, oil, and police money. He recently gave $4,700 back to the CA Correctional Supervisors Organization. One of the first policies Jones-Sawyer said he will champion in the 2021 legislative session is passing a statewide law around police decertification. Courage California is proud to endorse Reggie Jones-Sawyer for AD-59.