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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.
Voting has changed in Orange County this year. The Voter’s Choice Act was enacted in the county to make voting more convenient. Changes include an expanded period of in-person early voting, every registered voter in the county will receive a vote-by-mail ballot, and every registered voter in the county is able to vote in-person at any Vote Center in their county. Have questions about the changes to voting in Orange County? Visit your county elections website.
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below congressional districts on your ballot.
Endorsed By: Stonewall Democratic Club, California Democratic Party, California Federation of Teachers, California Teachers Association, LA County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, National Union of Healthcare Workers, Orange County Democrats, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, SEIU CA, United Farm Workers
Representative Linda Sánchez is from Orange, CA, just south of the district. She is the incumbent, having served in Congress since 2003. According to campaign materials, Rep. Sánchez is running for re-election to improve the lives of families in her district by making Southern California a better place to live and work for everyone.
In Congress, Rep. Sánchez has advanced legislation to improve workplace safety, address cyber-bullying, and has worked to bring government and business together to bring good-paying jobs to her district. Rep. Sánchez sits on the Ways and Means Committee and the subcommittees on Oversight, Select Revenue Measures, and Social Security. Additionally, she serves as the Vice-Chair of LGBT Equality Caucus and was the former Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Prior to her election to Congress, she served as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer for the Orange County Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
Rep. Sánchez is being challenged by Michael Tolar (D). Challenger critiques of Sánchez include concerns about her sizable campaign donations from special interests and her inability to quickly enact large structural change. According to recent election results, Democrats usually win this seat.
Rep. Sánchez is the best progressive choice because of her positions of power in Congress, relationships with partners and her vision to advance progressive policies that improve the lives of people in her district. According to our analysis, Rep. Sánchez is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-28
Endorsed By: Stonewall Democratic Club, California Democratic Party, California Federation of Teachers, California League of Conservation Voters, Flip the West, LA County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, NARAL Pro-Choice California, National Union of Healthcare Workers, Orange County Democrats, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, SEIU CA, Sierra Club - LA Chapter
Representative Gil Cisneros, a veteran, is from Los Angeles. He is the incumbent, having served in Congress since 2019. According to campaign materials, Rep. Cisneros is running for re-election to ensure future generations have the same opportunities that were available to him through the Navy.
In Congress, Rep. Cisneros has advocated for quality education, stood up to the insurance and pharmaceutical industry to address high healthcare costs, and worked to bring good-paying jobs to his district. He currently sits on the House Committee on Armed Services and the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Prior to his election to Congress, he served in the United States Navy and was an education advocate.
Rep. Cisneros has progressive education and economic positions. That said, while we have concerns about some votes, like his vote against an amendment that would have allocated $5 million to combat vaccine misinformation.
Rep. Cisneros is being challenged by Young Kim (R) and Steve Cox (NPP). Though we do not agree with all of Rep. Cisneros’s votes, his community support and relationships with progressive partners, his progressive votes on healthcare and other issues make him a strong choice in this race.
Last updated: 2020-02-28
Rep. Lou Correa was born and raised in Anaheim, California. He is the incumbent, having first been elected to this position in 2016. According to campaign materials he is running to help families throughout Orange County live better lives and have a shot at the middle class.
During his tenure in Congress representing District 46, Rep. Correa has continuously worked to protect immigrants, refugees, and DREAMers through solutions such as providing legal counsel to those at risk of being deported, and demanding that more attention be paid to understanding and combatting domestic terrorism. Rep. Correa was recently appointed to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security and the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet. He also serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security and House Veterans Affairs Committee. With his recent appointments, Congressman Correa has the potential to be a strong voice in crafting laws governing immigration, and the enforcement of those laws by the Department of Homeland Security.
Rep. Correa first ran for office in 1996 and has held positions in the California State Assembly where he served three terms and represented the first District on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, where he was the first Democrat to be elected in nearly 20 years. He also served two terms in the California State Senate from 2006-20014.
Rep. Correa is being challenged by Pablo Mendiolea (D), James Waters (R), Will Johnson (NPP), and Ed Rushman (NPP). Challenger critiques of Correa include concerns about his sizeable campaign donations from the real estate industry. According to recent election results, Democrats typically safely win this seat as Rep. Correa did in 2018 and 2016.
Rep. Correa’s strong voice on immigration policy and complementary committee positions make him the strongest choice for progressive leadership in this District.
Last updated: 2020-02-05
Representative Alan Lowenthal is from Queens, NY, and moved to Long Beach, CA, in 1969. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2013. According to campaign materials, he is running for re-election to advocate for his community’s needs and to defend all of his constituents’ rights and dignity.
In Congress, Rep. Lowenthal has advanced initiatives to address climate change and pushed for adopting sustainable renewable energy. Throughout his tenure, he has also continuously fought for everyone’s human rights, increasing access to quality education, and reinvesting in the nation’s infrastructure. He currently serves on the House Committees on Natural Resources, and Transportation and Infrastructure, as well as seven subcommittees. Prior to his election to Congress, he served on the Long Beach City Council, in the California State Legislature, and as a psychology professor at California State University, Long Beach.
Rep. Lowenthal is being challenged by Peter Mathews (D), Jalen Dupree McLeod (D), John Briscoe (R), Sou Moua (R), and Amy Phan West (R). According to recent election results, Democrats usually win this seat. Rep. Lowenthal is the progressive choice because of his track record defending human rights and his leadership position in the fight against climate change.
According to our analysis, Rep. Lowenthal is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-28
Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva moved to Fullerton when she was two, attended Orange County public schools, earned her bachelor's degree from Fullerton College and UCLA, and her teaching credential from CSU Fullerton. Quirk-Silva defeated a Republican incumbent for this seat in 2012, but lost her bid for re-election in 2014 to Republican Young Kim. She ran again in 2016, defeated Kim, and has served in this seat since. According to campaign materials, Quirk-Silva is running to keep working on education, climate, and economic issues that affect the state of California.
In the State Assembly, Quirk-Silva authored a fee waiver bill that allows the homeless to receive an ID and a copy of their birth certificate without paying for them. Quirk Silva served as the Chair of the Assembly Jobs Committee and secured $23 million dollars for small businesses. Quirk-Silva currently sits on the Assembly Higher Education Committee and the Communications and Conveyance Committee. Prior to their election to the State Assembly, Quirk-Silva served on the Fullerton City Council starting in 2004 and was elected mayor in 2007.
Quirk-Silva generally votes progressive for bills that address California’s education system and climate change. That said, she has abstained from voting on policies that could help solve other issues including police transparency.
Quirk-Silva is being challenged by Cynthia Thacker (R). In 2019, Quirk-Silva scored a 49 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislator's progressive voting records. According to recent election results, Democrats can win this seat but it's often a close race. Though we disagree with some of Quirk-Silva’s decisions regarding police accountability, their strong base in a relatively recently flipped district supports progressive momentum and makes them the strongest choice in this race.
Last updated: 2020-02-21
Depending on where you live, you may have the below races on your ballot.
Endorsed By: Stonewall Democratic Club, California Democratic Party, California Federation of Teachers, California League of Conservation Voters, California Nurses Association, California Teachers Association, LA County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, NARAL Pro-Choice California, National Union of Healthcare Workers, Orange County Democrats, SEIU CA, Sierra Club California, Sierra Club - LA Chapter, United Domestic Workers
Josh Newman is a veteran from Orange County and currently resides in Fullerton, CA. According to campaign materials, he is running for State Senate to stand up for California by putting people and working families' needs over corporate interests.
Newman previously served as a State Senator, where he focused on advancing policies to improve veteran and mental health services, as well as initiatives to promote public education, jobs, and infrastructure improvements. Following the legislature's approval of a bill to repair the state’s aging transportation infrastructure in 2017, Senate Bill 1, Newman was singled out by a well-funded, hyper-partisan campaign that resulted in his recall. Prior to his election to the State Senate, he served as a United States Army officer, business owner, as well as a veteran and community activist.
Newman is running against Ling Ling Chang (R) who is the incumbent and has held the seat since 2018, and Joseph Cho, Ph.D. (D). Newman is the best progressive choice because of his track record of putting the people of California above politics.
According to our analysis, Newman is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-28
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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