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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 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
Endorsed By: Stonewall Democratic Club, Bend The Arc (PAC), California Democratic Party, California Federation of Teachers, California League of Conservation Voters, California Teachers Association, Democracy for America, Flip the West, NARAL Pro-Choice California, National Union of Healthcare Workers, Orange County Democrats, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, SEIU CA, Sierra Club - LA Chapter
Representative Katie Porter is from Fort Dodge, IA, and now resides in Irvine, CA. She is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2019. According to campaign materials, she is running for re-election to hold Republicans and their special interests in Washington accountable.
In Congress, Rep. Porter has played an instrumental role in advancing reforms that have helped American families have a fair economic opportunity by helping pass legislation to fight against abusive credit card fees. Towards the end of 2019, she gained a position on the Committee on Oversight and Reform due to her expert questioning style in Congressional hearings. She also sits on the Committee on Financial Services where she serves on the Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions, as well as the Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets subcommittees. Prior to Rep. Porter’s election to Congress, she was a law professor at UC Irvine and a consumer rights advocate, where she defended working families against predatory banking practices.
Rep. Porter is running against Greg Raths (R), Don Sedwick (R), Lisa Sparks, Rhonda Furin (R), Christopher J. Gonzales (R), Peggy Huang (R). According to recent election results, it's rare that Democrats win this seat. Porter's ability to flip this seat, her pledge to always put working-class families first, and her relationships with progressive partners, help to build progressive momentum and makes her the 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
Endorsed By: California Democratic Party, California Federation of Teachers, California Nurses Association, California Teachers Association, NARAL Pro-Choice California, National Union of Healthcare Workers, Orange County Democrats, SEIU CA, Sierra Club California, Sierra Club - LA Chapter, United Domestic Workers
Melissa Fox is from Orange County and currently resides in Irvine, CA. According to campaign materials, she is running for Assembly to be the leader her district needs to represent their interests and values in the capital.
Fox currently serves on the Irvine City Council and on the board of the Orange County Fire Authority, where she strives to improve the quality of life and safety of those in her community. Fox has also served as Chair of the Irvine Community Land Trust, Vice Chair of the Orange County Great Park, and was the founder of The Fox Firm. Through these positions she has increased access to affordable housing, successfully represented businesses in court, and fought fraudulent activities.
Fox is running against Steven “Steve” Choi (R), who is the incumbent and has held the seat since 2016, as well as Eugene Fields (D), and Benjamin Yu (R). According to recent election results, it's difficult for Democrats to win this seat. Fox is the best progressive choice because of her vision to enact progressive policies that will grow the middle-class, preserve the environment, addressing public safety concerns, and hold government accountable.
According to our analysis, Fox is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-24
There are two well-qualified candidates in this race who have received broad support from progressive advocates and leaders: Katrina Foley and Dave Min. After extensive research, we believe both are good choices. Read the full descriptions of each candidate to find the candidate who best fits your values and priorities for State Senate District 37.
Dave Min is a California native and longtime resident of Irvine. According to campaign materials he is running for State Senate District 37 because he wants to continue to build on the foundational ideal of American innovation, as well as to improve economic equity, environmental progress, and public education.
Min is a Law Professor at UC Irvine and has focused his research on building an economy that works for people of all backgrounds. Min spent his early career working for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to break up fraud operations, was a senior policy advisor to Senator Chuck Schumer, and served as the Deputy Staff Director on the Joint Economic Committee. This Congressional work was a reflection of his commitment to establishing a policy that allows markets to operate more fairly for everyone.
Dave Min is running against John Moorlach (R), who is the incumbent and has held the seat since 2015, and Katrina Foley (D). According to recent election results, it's challenging for Democrats to win this seat.
According to our analysis, Dave Min would be a strong choice in this purple district.
Last updated: 2020-02-27
Katrina Foley is a Democrat who is serving her second term as mayor of Costa Mesa, in Orange County. She is running on a platform to address the homeless crisis, climate change, education, and healthcare.
Foley previously served on Costa Mesa's City Council and Newport Mesa Unified School District Board of Trustees from November 2010 to November 2014. She is an attorney and owns her own practice, The Foley Group.
During her tenure as mayor, Foley ended a lawsuit that followed attempts to enforce anti-encampment laws by agreeing to build a 50 person homeless shelter. A temporary shelter was constructed, and a permanent one is being built near John Wayne Airport. On her campaign site, Foley has stated she would push for renewable energy, Community Choice Energy, and more electric car charging stations, particularly in low-income areas, and better fuel efficiency standards. While campaigning, Foley has spoken against Schools & Communities First, a November 2020 statewide ballot measure to increase funding for schools and other local government services by reforming California's broken commercial property tax system. We strongly disagree with her position. (Please note: Schools & Communities First will not affect the residential property tax system.)
Foley has support from other elected leaders in Orange County as well as labor organizations such as the California Labor Federation, the Orange County Labor Federation (OCLF), the Orange County Employees Association (OCEA) and the California State Council of Laborers (LiUNA), among others. She is also endorsed by EMILY's List and NARAL Pro-Choice America.
According to our analysis, Katrina Foley would be a strong choice in this purple district.
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