By Courage California
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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.
Have questions about voting in Contra Costa County? Visit your county elections website.
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below congressional districts on your ballot.
Jerry McNerny is from New Mexico and has lived in California since 1990. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2007. According to campaign materials, he is running for re-election to continue to be an independent voice for the 9th District.
Jerry McNerney currently serves in the House of Representatives, where he has written and passed laws that include the better treatment of veterans returning home with traumatic brain injury, as well as improved training for new green jobs and increased investment in infrastructure for electric vehicles. He currently serves on the Committee on Energy and Commerce as well as the Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Prior to his election to Congress, he worked as a renewable energy engineer and founded a company that manufactures wind turbines.
Jerry McNerney has introduced a proposed amendment to the Constitution that would limit funding for candidates and ballot measures from direct donations from individual citizens, restrict campaign contributions, and essentially eliminate Political Action Committees.
Jerry McNerney is running against William Martinek (R) and Antonio Amador (R). According to recent election results, Democrats can win this seat but it's often a close race. Though we disagree with McNerney’s often punitive stances on immigration, as well as calls for increased funding for law enforcement and surveillance at the border, his position in Congress helps to advance progressive policies on issues such as climate change and makes him the strongest choice for in this race.
Last updated: 2020-02-25
Representative Mark DeSaulnier is from Lowell, MA, moved to California in the early 1970s and currently resides in Concord, CA. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2015. According to campaign materials, he is running for re-election to continue to promote progressive values and work to create a more just and equal country.
In Congress, Rep. DeSaulnier has advanced initiatives to reform government, support labor, improve transportation, protect the environment, and improve public safety. He sits on the House Committees on Education and Labor, Oversight and Reform, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Rules, as well as an additional six subcommittees. Prior to his election to Congress, Rep. DeSaulnier served on the Concord City Council, California State Assembly, and California State Senate, where he successfully worked to improve local roads and highways, address homeowner foreclosures, and fought against the abusive practices with prescription drugs.
Rep. DeSaulnier is being challenged by Michael Kerr (G) and Nisha Sharma (R). Rep. DeSaulnier is the best progressive choice because of his track record of consistently advocating for the needs of constituents.
According to our analysis, Rep. DeSaulnier is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-13
Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D) is the incumbent, having served as Assembly District 11 Representative since 2013. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Assemblymember Frazier has shown that he does NOT advocate for the needs of constituents or face down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians. Frazier scored a shocking 15 out of 100 on this year’s Courage Score, our annual analysis of a legislator's progressive voting records.
Assemblymember Frazier is running unopposed. We here at Courage encourage you to write in a candidate of your choice to show support for progressives in this district. Keep reading for progressive recommendations in other key races and on ballot measures where your vote can make a critical difference.
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below State Senate races on your ballot.
Senator Bill Dodd (D) is the incumbent, having served as Senator for the district since 2013. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Senator Dodd has shown that he does NOT advocate for the needs of constituents or face down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians. Dodd scored a shocking 57 out of 100 on this year’s Courage Score, our annual analysis of a legislator's progressive voting records.
Senator Dodd is running unopposed. Courage California encourages you to write in a candidate of your choice to show support for progressives in this district. Keep reading for progressive recommendations in other key races and on ballot measures where your vote can make a critical difference.
Last updated: 2020-02-21
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
Board of Supervisor Races
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below county races on your ballot.
Diane Burgis lives in Oakley with her family and has lived in Contra Costa County for most of her life. She has served as the Supervisor for District 3 for three years. According to campaign materials she is running for re-election to continue advocating for responsible environmental stewardship, improved transportation infrastructure, and effective delivery of county services.
As the Supervisor for the County’s largest geographic district, Diane serves on over two dozen committees including the 2020 Census, the Delta Protection Commission, and the Contra Costa County Family Justice Center. Before her election to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, she served in the East Bay Regional Park District as the Ward 7 Director. While there, she managed a $205 million budget for over 120,000 acres in both Alameda and Contra Costa County.
Diane Burgis is running against Paul Seger, who serves on the Board of Directors for the Diablo Water Project. Despite Paul Seger’s seemingly progressive agenda, Diane Burgis' notable strong support from local officials and organizations make her the stronger candidate.
According to our analysis, Diane Burgis 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.
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