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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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Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below congressional districts on your ballot.
Representative Eric Swalwell was born in Sac City, Iowa, and moved to Dublin, California, where he attended middle and high school. Swalwell was first elected in 2012, defeating 20-term incumbent Democrat Pete Stark after California moved to a “top-two” primary. He has made gun violence prevention a central part of his campaign and has also campaigned on economic issues in support of workforce training, infrastructure investment, and student loan debt relief.
As a college student, Rep. Swalwell interned for California Democrat Ellen Tauscher and went on to complete his law degree at the University of Maryland School of Law. After law school, he returned to California to serve as a deputy district attorney for Alameda County. He was elected for Dublin City Council in 2011 before running for Congress.
Rep. Swalwell currently serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he is the Chair of the Intelligence Modernization and Readiness Subcommittee and a member of the House Judiciary Committee. He previously served on the Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
Rep. Swalwell has been vocal in both committees on issues pertaining to election security and the Mueller investigations, as well as the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. Citing his prosecutorial experience, he wrote an op-ed in The Atlantic calling for an impeachment inquiry of the president. He is a strong advocate and has presented legislation for commonsense reforms to prevent gun violence and is working to address domestic terrorism. He is also a staunch supporter of women’s rights and protecting access to abortions. He co-sponsored the EACH Woman Act, which would repeal the Hyde Amendment, and supported The EqualityAct.
He has recently expressed support for the Green New Deal, however, we’re still waiting for Rep. Swalwell to embrace Medicare for All.
Eric Swalwell is being challenged by Samantha Campbell (D), Austin E. Intal (D), Tuan Phan (D), Alison Hayden (R), Peter Yuan Liu (R), and Don Grundmann (NPP). Given the district’s strong democratic leaning, and Swalwell’s record and strong progressive support, he is the best choice for progressive leadership in the district.
Last updated: 2020-02-27
Rep. Ro Khanna was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and attended the University of Chicago and Yale Law School. Khanna served the Obama Administration in Washington D.C. from 2009-2011; afterwards he accepted a position at a law firm and moved to Silicon Valley. He is the incumbent in the district, having served in this position since 2017. He is running for re-election on a platform supporting the Green New Deal, internet privacy reforms, Medicare for All, immigration reform, and economic growth.
In Congress, Khanna has been outspoken in support of legislation to fight climate change, including the Green New Deal. He has called for various online and cybersecurity reforms, including helping to draft an Internet Bill of Rights. He sponsored the VALOR Act, which became law in 2019 and makes it easier for employers to create apprenticeship programs for veterans. He is a member of the No PAC Caucus, which has pledged to not take donations from any PACs.
He currently serves on the House Armed Services Committee, House Budget Committee, and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. Prior to the election in 2016, Rep. Khanna was an attorney at Wilson Sonsini, and taught Stanford University, Santa Clara University, and San Francisco State University. From 2009-2011, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce and in 2012, California Governor Jerry Brown appointed him to the California Workforce Investment Board.
Khanna is being challenged by Stephen Forbes (D), Joe Dehn (L) and Ritesh Tandon (R). Khanna has consistently demonstrated a commitment to progressive values, and a willingness to challenge the corporate power in his district. According to our analysis, Khanna is the strongest choice for continued progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-05
Bill Quirk has lived in the Hayward area since 1978. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2013. According to campaign materials, he is running for re-election to build on his experiences combining his understanding of scientific research with public and community service.
In the State Assembly, Quirk has introduced legislation to have every child in California tested for lead poisoning, was part of a group of officials who proposed 10 new gun violence prevention measures in 2018, and has worked to make other environmental improvements around water recycling, and hazardous waste facilities. He currently serves as Chair of the Environmental Safety & Toxic Materials Committee, and as Chair of the Select Committee on California’s Clean Energy Economy. Quirk sits on an additional four committees, including Appropriations, Public Safety, Revenue & Taxation, Utilities & Energy. Prior to serving in the State Assembly, Quirk worked as a climate scientist at NASA before moving over to the Lawrence Livermore National Lab. Quirk participated in the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty negotiations, and was a physics teacher at Columbia, Caltech, and UC Davis. Quirk also has a long history of community service, and was actively involved in the PTA, Hayward Rotary, Hayward Library Commission, and the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency. Quirk’s career in public service began in 2004 when he was elected to the Hayward City Council, where he worked to apply a scientific perspective to issues of local safety, economic revitalization, and transit-oriented housing projects.
Quirk is being challenged by Vipan Singh Bajwa (D), Alexis Villalobos (D), and Son Nguyen (R). In 2020 he scored an 88 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislator's progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Quirk 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, Bill Quirk is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-21
Depending on where you live, you may have the below races on your ballot.
Marisol Rubio is a second-generation American, raised by a single mother who was a public school teacher. She now lives in San Ramon with her daughter. According to campaign materials, Rubio is running to fight for accountability from our legislature, and to demand that our biggest and wealthiest corporations pay their fair share so we can provide the support blue-collar, working people of California deserve.
Rubio is a scientific researcher, health care provider, and advocate for high-need students. Her passion for science and discovery was fueled by her personal experiences as a young single mother of a chronically-ill disabled daughter who is an early childhood brain cancer survivor. As she explored solutions to support her own daughter’s health and wellbeing, Rubio came to understand how we can best support families experiencing hardships through the advancement of innovative and proven healthcare, educational, and socioeconomic policies.
Rubio also brings a strong track record and relationships in progressive politics and public service. As Co-Chair of the Democratic Party of Contra Costa County Issues Committee, Rubio has co-authored two resolutions that were adopted by the California Democratic Party and helped pass several progressive bills and resolutions including the Green New Deal for California, a call for a Climate focused Presidential Debate, and support for the public banking movement, which gives localities the ability to open banks to serve residents not well served by traditional banks. She has also served as an elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention and is an SEIU Local 2015 member.
Rubio is challenging incumbent Steve Glazer (D), who has consistently opposed progressive priorities by siding with corporate lobbyists and failing his constituents on criminal and juvenile justice reform and healthcare. Other candidates include Julie Mobley (R). Rubio is the strongest choice because of her track record as a champion for the disabled community and their caretakers, and as an advocate for her region’s priorities in the Democratic Party.
Voting for Rubio is an opportunity to elect a legislator who will accurately represent the perspective and priorities of her district in Congress. Courage California strongly endorses Marisol Rubio for Congress.
Last updated: 2020-02-25
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
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