Elect Paul Akinjo to push AD-12 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 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 12th Assembly District includes over half of Stanislaus County, and part of San Joaquin County. Notable cities include Manteca, Modesto, and Turlock. The district is predominantly agricultural. Republicans typically hold this district. The most recent election results show AD-12 voted for Donald Trump for president in 2016 and John Cox for governor in 2018, with margins of about 10 percent for each race. The district includes a significant Latinx population (about 36 percent). In past decades, the district used to vote Democrat; however, it later followed Republican trends of the Deep South. Recent influxes of Bay Area transplants may lead to demographic and political shifts.
About the Race
In the primary, Democrat challenger Paul Akinjo trailed Republican incumbent Heath Flora by about a 26 percent margin. Akinjo’s campaign has not filed any funding records. Opponent Flora’s campaign has raised over $134,000 and is largely funded through fossil fuel, police, and corporation funding.
About the Candidate
Paul Akinjo migrated from Nigeria to Oakland in the 1980s, and has resided in Lathrop since 2001. According to campaign materials, Akinjo is running for State Assembly in order to take action on issues he has dedicated years advocating for. He has experience fighting for causes like homelessness, housing, water shortages, and transportation at the State Capitol. His campaign centers on issues of job growth, sustainability, and quality of life. Akinjo promises that if elected, he will allocate funds toward transit, affordable housing, reservoir development, and mental-health care. Akinjo’s background has provided him firsthand experience dealing with a multitude of issues. As a resident of Assembly District 12, he has witnessed the recent increase in homelessness. His experience commuting to the Bay Area has made him aware of the lack of transportation within AD-12. Akinjo has also dealt with issues of immigration, because of his experience as an immigrant. Each of these experiences informs Akinjo’s knowledge of the district’s needs, and fuels his commitment to political advocacy.
Akinjo is a member of the Lathrop City Council. During his term, he has helped the city transform its reserves from nothing to $10 million. The city also experienced significant growth in housing and business. Prior to his political career, Akinjo served in the United States Army Reserve for seven years.
Akinjo is endorsed by San Joaquin County Supervisor Kathy Miller, State Assemblymember Susan Eggman, and Susan Dell’Osso from Dell’Osso Farms and Companies. He is challenging Republican incumbent Heath Flora, who has received a lifetime Courage Score of 1, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting records. Flora has spent his terms as assemblymember advocating against police oversight, the expansion of voting rights, and rent control--all of which are issues that directly affect AD-12. According to our analysis, Paul Akinjo is the strongest choice for equitable and representative leadership in office.