Kern County

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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 Kern County? Visit your county elections website.


Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below congressional districts on your ballot.

21st Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

Terrence John (TJ) Cox photo

Rep. Cox was born in Walnut Creek, California and grew up in the Central Valley, the son of immigrants. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2019. According to campaign materials he is running to keep his seat to continue serving the working families of the Central Valley. 

In his first term in Congress, Rep. Cox has worked to secure funds for essential water infrastructure improvements in the Central Valley, to improve healthcare delivery and asthma treatment in rural communities, and to extend clean energy tax credits for business owners. He has also proposed legislation that could help dozens of cities in his district achieve safe drinking water standards, working closely with cities and environmental justice groups across the Valley to draft the bill. Rep. Cox currently chairs a subcommittee of the House Committee on Natural Resources. Prior to his election to Congress, Rep. Cox was an engineer and also created the Central Valley Fund, which raises money for projects located in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods throughout the Central Valley.

Rep. Cox has shown strong support for farmers, rural communities, and veterans in Congress. That said, he has at times voted in support of amendments that have the effect of weakening progressive legislation. 

Unfortunately, Rep. Cox isn’t without complications. His eyebrow-raising business history and practices have come under scrutiny and lawsuits have surfaced accusing Rep. Cox of committing fraud and owing money to investors.

Rep. Cox is being challenged by David Valadao (R), who he bested in 2018 by less than 1,000 votes (and has his own questionable financial history). He is also challenged by Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente (R) and Ricardo De La Fuente (D). According to recent election results, it's rare that Democrats win this seat as Rep. Cox did in 2018. His track record of fighting for Central Valley families and his strong base in a recently flipped district makes him the strongest choice in this race.

Last updated: 2020-02-28

23rd Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

Kim Mangone photo

Builds Power
Builds Progress
Builds Representation

Kim Mangone, a veteran, is from Lancaster, CA. According to campaign materials, Mangone is running for congress because she understands the leadership her district needs and is confident that her problem-solving skills will allow her to advance policies to benefit her community.

Kim Mangone is a United States Air Force veteran, aircraft mechanic, and retired systems engineer. While serving her country, Mangone developed innovative solutions to the problems she encountered and said she would apply those skills if elected. Mangone, a single parent, put herself through school while working full-time. The experience of balancing school, work, and child care has given her insight into the issues that many in her community experience and is what motivates her to become the district’s next representative.

Kim Mangone is running against Representative Kevin McCarthy (R), who is the incumbent and has been in congress since 2007. Mangone is the best progressive choice because of her vision to enact policies that help us achieve universal healthcare and her pledge to protect programs like social security from GOP attacks.

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

Last updated: 2020-02-13

State Assembly

Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below State Assembly races on your ballot.

State Assembly, 26th District

Member of the State Assembly

Drew Phelps photo

Drew Phelps is a fourth generation Tularean. According to campaign materials, he is running for Assembly District 26 to offer transparent leadership and tailored solutions to the issues that affect Tulare, Inyo and Kern counties.

Phelps works in land use and project manager for Granville Homes, a Valley-based residential development company that builds energy efficient homes for local working and middle-class families. He has advocated for justice as a journalist and a grassroots organizer for Citizens for Hospital Accountability. Phelps’s commitment to community health goes beyond holding providers accountable. He served as the Director of Grant Oversight with the Manuel Torrez Family Resource Center, bringing in funding for the Center’s “Healthy Families, Happy Kids” initiative, as well as helping organize the program’s annual mobile health clinic and fair.

Phelps is running against incumbent Devon Mathis (R), who has held the seat since 2014 and scored a 0 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislator's progressive voting records. According to recent election results, this is a challenging seat for Democrats to wins. Phelps, however, is a notable progressive choice because of his strong and tangible goals for Tulare’s future, and the impact he’s had on his community so far, without yet holding a public office.

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

Last updated: 2020-02-13

State Assembly, 32nd District

Member of the State Assembly

Rudy Salas photo

Rudy Salas is the Democratic incumbent, having served as the Representative for Assembly District 32 since 2012. 

In the State Assembly Salas is currently the chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee and serves on the Agriculture, Governmental Organization, Veterans Affairs and Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committees. He is also the chair of the Select Committee on Early Childhood Development. 

Salas has supported improving access to healthcare in rural areas, voted for overtime wages for farmworkers, and supported resolutions calling out deceptive practices being used by ICE. He also voted for SB 54, California Values Act, which barred state and local data and resources from being used to assist federal immigration enforcement. 

That said, Salas has a poor track record on issues relating to environmental protection and climate change. He has also opposed criminal justice reform efforts, including efforts to give judges more say over sentencing and drug sentencing reform. 

While Assemblymember Salas has a poor track record on progressive issues, and only scored 12 out of 100 on this year’s Courage Score, he is running against a Republican, Todd Cotta, in the primary. While we disagree with Salas on his lack of support on the issues mentioned above, Salas is the most progressive choice in this race. That said, we encourage more progressive candidates, that will better reflect this community’s needs, to run in future cycles. 

Last updated: 2020-02-21

State Assembly, 36th District

Member of the State Assembly

Johnathon Ervin photo

Builds Progress
Builds Representation

Johnathon Ervin, a veteran, is from Flint, MI, and has lived in the Antelope Valley for 17 years and currently resides in Lancaster, CA. According to campaign materials he is running for Assembly because his “district needs someone that is ready to fight for them.”

Ervin is an Engineering Manager and serves in the United States Air Force Reserve, where he cultivates innovation while serving his country. Prior to being honorably discharged in 2007, he was in the United States Air Force for 10 and a half years. While enlisted, he completed two degrees in Electronics and Technology. Ervin has also worked as a Planning Commissioner for Lancaster, CA, and a School Board member on Muroc Joint Unified School District.

Ervin is running against Tom Lackey (R) who is the incumbent and has held the seat since 2014, as well as Lourdes Everett (D), Steve Fox (D), Diedra Greenaway (D), Ollie McCaulley (D), Eric Ohlsen (D), Michael Rives (D). According to recent election results, this is a challenging seat for Democrats to win. Ervin, though, is a notable progressive choice because of his strong vision to create good-paying jobs by incentivizing the current aerospace industry to expand, as well as investing in revitalizing the community's infrastructure. Furthermore, he pledges to fight to increase access to quality healthcare, invest in public education, and to preserve the environment.

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

Last updated: 2020-02-13

Statewide Ballot Measures

Proposition 13

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