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The Courage California Voter Guide compiles the information that allows you to make informed decisions about the races on your ballot, based on your values. Vote in every race on your ballot! It's our right and our responsibility. Please share this guide with your friends and family.
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Representative Lee is from El Paso, TX, and moved to California in 1960. She is the incumbent, having served in Congress since 2013. According to campaign literature, Rep. Lee is running for re-election to continue her fight for everyone’s equal rights and to be the advocate her district needs in Congress.
In Congress, Rep. Lee has advanced initiatives to address issues of poverty and inequality. She was also one of the leading voices of opposition against the authorization for the use of military force following September 11th. Rep. Lee currently sits on the House Committee on Appropriations and the House Committee on the Budget. Prior to Rep. Lee’s election to Congress, she served in the California State Assembly and State Senate, where she authored over 60 pieces of legislation on issues pertaining to public safety, access to affordable and quality education, LGBT rights, environmental protections, and criminal justice reform.
Rep. Lee is running against Nikka Pitterman (R). Rep. Lee is the best progressive choice because of her legislative track record and her continued efforts to fight for equality for all.
According to our analysis, Rep. Lee is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-12
Buffy Wicks was raised in rural California and permanently moved to Oakland in 2016. She is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2019. According to campaign materials she is running for re-election because she is a lifelong Californian and a former grassroots organizer who wants to use her federal and local experience to continue to fight for equity and economic security in the region.
In the State Assembly, Wicks has introduced a renter’s protection bill, championed consumer protections, authored a bill to reestablish California's Healthy Start program to connect children and families with critical services, and joined a gun violence prevention working group. Wicks serves on five Assembly committees, including Budget, Public Safety, Banking and Finance, Privacy and Consumer Protection, and Rules. Prior to her election to the State Assembly, Wicks campaigned for Howard Dean, and ran field operations for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Wicks served as the Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement during the Obama Administration and worked to advocate for the Affordable Care Act. After leaving the White House, Wicks was a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress where she focused much of her work on seeking innovative ways to establish economic security for women and families.
Wicks is being challenged by Sara Brink (NPP) and Jeanne Solnordal (R). In 2019, she scored a 100 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislator's progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Wicks has consistently shown great courage in advocating for the needs of constituents and facing down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians.
According to our analysis, Buffy Wicks is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-21
Nancy Skinner has lived in Berkley, CA for over 40 years. She is the incumbent State Senator in District 9, having served in this position since 2017. According to campaign materials, she is running for re-election to continue to build on her record of fighting for criminal justice reform, affordable housing, and increased environmental protections across the state.
In the State Senate, Skinner has authored two significant criminal justice reform bills to increase police accountability and overhaul the felony murder rule. She has also authored legislation to improve California’s affordable housing shortage, and to protect the environment through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Skinner currently serves as the Chair of the Public Safety Committee and the Public Safety Budget Committee, and is a member of an additional six committees. Prior to her election to the State Senate, Skinner served three terms in the State Assembly, was the first student to be elected to the Berkeley City Council, and served as the Executive Director of ICLEI’s United States office which worked with international cities to stop climate change. As a graduate Student at Berkeley, Skinner co-founded the labor union that represents graduate student instructors.
Nancy Skinner is running unopposed in this race. She scores a lifetime 97 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting record. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Skinner has consistently shown great courage by advocating for the needs of constituents and facing down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians.
According to our analysis, Nancy Skinner is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-21
Courage Score: https://www.couragescore.org/people/nancy-skinner/
Elena Condes an LGBTQ+ Latinx attorney who has been in private practice in the Bay Area for over 20 years. Her practice offers criminal defense, work-related crimes, clearing criminal records, and other services. In her campaign materials, she says she will bring together all of her experiences to provide “equal access to justice” for all.
Condes is currently the treasurer for East Bay La Raza Lawyers Association, which she has been a member of for 18 years. She also served on the board of Women Defenders, a professional organization of women criminal defense attorneys and served on the Executive Committee of Alameda County Court Appointed Attorneys Program (CAAP).
Condes received the sole endorsement from the East Bay Times, who said Condes “stands out as the best experienced and most familiar with the workings of Alameda County courts. Condes’ practice focuses on courtroom advocacy that’s a key part of the day-to-day operations of the local judicial system.” Condes has been endorsed by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Carol Brosnahan, the judge who is retiring and leaving this seat open.
Condes received her undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona and her law degree from Golden Gate University School of Law.
Condes is being challenged by Mark Fickes, a partner at Partner, Cannata O’Toole Fickes & Olson, who previously worked at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Lilla Julia Szelenyi, an administrative law judge for the state workers compensation agency.
Based on our analysis, Elena Condes is the best choice for judge in Alameda County.
Last updated: 2020-02-19
Bob Wieckowski is from the Bay Area and is a longtime resident of Fremont. According to campaign materials, he is running for the Board of Supervisors to use his accumulated experience in city and state government to benefit Alameda residents and address challenges such as income inequality, climate change, and housing affordability.
Wieckowski is currently the State Senator for the 10th district, where he advocates for progressive policies that provide diverse benefits to Californians. He has had a variety of legislative successes, including authoring a bill to eliminate the barriers to constructing Accessory Dwelling Units, working to advance consumer protections, and championing climate research and a clean energy economy. Wieckowski has also been an advocate for college students, working to increase grant funding for tuition, and has pushed back against abusive lenders. Prior to his Senate election, Wieckowski’s public service included time in the State Assembly, on the Fremont City Council, and a term as Vice Mayor.
Wieckowski is running against Dublin Mayor David Haubert, Fremont Councilmember Vinnie Bacon, and Dublin Vice Mayor Melissa Hernandez. While Melissa Hernandez is a strong challenger, Courage California cannot support her because she cast a decisive vote as Vice Mayor of Dublin to deny a request from a gay City Councilman to raise a rainbow flag over City Hall during Pride month. As State Senator, Wieckowski scores a lifetime 92 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting record. He stands out as the progressive choice because of his track record of working to eliminate barriers that create systemic inequality in housing, education, and the economy.
According to our analysis, Bob Wieckowski is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-27
Vote YES On Prop 13, School and College Facilities Bond
This proposition would provide $9 billion for desperately needed renovations to public preschools and grade schools throughout the state, and $6 billion for construction to community colleges, the Cal State system, and the UC system. This will allow the state of California to use tax revenue to pay for improvements that local communities cannot afford.
The funding would come from bonds the state would pay back over 35 years, totaling an estimated $26 billion, which includes $15 billion in principal and $11 billion in interest. This investment is well worth the costs. It takes money, after all, to ensure that students -- especially those in districts that can’t afford major capital improvement projects -- do not have to learn in dangerous environments.
The vast majority of Democrats in the state legislature support it, as does Gov. Newsom, and the only major opposition is a group called the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. This is the group famous for destroying California’s school funding system in 1978 through another proposition, ironically one that was also dubbed Prop 13. The group spends most of its time lobbying to reduce tax rates. It has never shown any interest in supporting California’s children, at least if that means wealthy individuals or giant corporations would pay their fair share in taxes.
Critics of the measure have pointed out that the ballot measure’s language includes a provision that frees new multi-family developments around subway stops and bus stations from school impact fees. This provision will make it easier for developers to build apartment buildings within a half-mile of public transit but could also drive up the cost of new housing and take funds away from school districts across the state. Despite this provision, the measure is still supported by most education groups in the state, who believe the overall funding allocation to schools outweighs the impact of reduced funding to school districts located near transit hubs. 2020’s Prop 13 is worth the investment since it means children will soon be able to attend school in buildings that are retrofitted to withstand earthquakes and no longer have lead in their water.
We strongly recommend a YES vote on Prop 13.
Last updated: 2020-03-02