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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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51st Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

Juan Carlos Vargas photo

Builds Power
Builds Representation


Representative Juan Carlos Vargas was born and raised in California's 51st congressional district, which he was first elected to in 2012. 

Vargas’ district includes Imperial county and the southern part of San Diego county along the U.S-Mexican border. To address local concerns about cross-border pollution, particularly of waterways, Vargas supported the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA), specifically citing the $300 million that will be allocated to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Border Water Infrastructure Program (BWIP). He has been an advocate for action on climate change, and is one of the co-sponsors of House Resolution 109, which calls on the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal. 

Vargas has been critical of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, including the wall at the border, the Migrant Protection Protocols, and the deportation of veterans. He urged Democrats to take a strong stance against Trump’s efforts to divert Pentagon funds to build a border wall. Recently, he called for investigations in to efforts by Customs and Border Protection to send asylum seekers to Mexico by issuing documents for fake court hearings. He has also sponsored legislation that would allow Dreamers to apply for FHA loans, which HUD currently denies.  

Courage California (then known as Courage Campaign) was deeply involved in the fight for the Homeowner Bill of Rights in 2012, a critical piece of state legislation to protect homeowners from predatory lending practices by mortgage lenders. Then Senator Vargas played a key role as head of the Banking Committee in the California Senate, prior to his election to Congress. Unfortunately, Vargas repeatedly attempted to protect Wall Street from accountability. However, after heroic organizing with our partners at ACCE (Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment), he stepped down as committee chair, which eventually allowed for the landmark bill to pass. This gives us great pause about Rep. Vargas’ commitment to progressive governance.

Representative Vargas is running against Juan M Hidalgo Jr. (R). While we have major concerns about Vargas and encourage a more progressive candidate to run against him in a future election cycle, there is no question that he is preferable to a Republican given his record, particularly on issues such as climate change and immigration. 
 

Last updated: 2020-02-13


State Assembly, 56th District

Member of the State Assembly

Eduardo Garcia photo
Democrat

Builds Power
Builds Progress
Builds Representation


Eduardo Garcia is a lifelong resident of the Coachella Valley and currently lives in Coachella. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2015. According to campaign materials, Assemblymember Garcia wants to continues to champion healthcare, and environmental and economic development for the Coachella and Imperial Valleys.

Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia has authored several critical pieces of legislation. In 2016, he authored a landmark bill that mandates the reduction of emissions, improves oversight of the Air Resources Board, and lays the groundwork to ensure future policies prioritize investments in the disadvantaged communities most affected by pollution. He currently chairs the Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy, and the Select Committee on Renewable Energy Development and Restoration of the Salton Sea. Prior to his election to the State Assembly, he served as Coachella’s first elected mayor.

Eduardo Garcia is being challenged by America Figueroa (R), a vocal anti-LGBTQ+ parents’ rights activist. In 2019, he scored a 92 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Eduardo Garcia has consistently shown great courage advocating for the needs of constituents and facing down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians.

According to our analysis, Eduardo Gacia is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-24


Statewide Ballot Measures

Proposition 13

VOTE YES

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.