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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.
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
Rep. Harley Rouda has lived in California since 2007 and is a resident of Laguna Beach. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2019. According to campaign materials, Rep. Rouda is running for re-election to be a Congressional representative who is accessible and unifying, and to provide leadership that is puts country over party and service above self.
In Congress, Rep. Rouda has authored legislation to protect vulnerable coastal communities impacted by the climate crisis, ensure fair lending to LGBTQ-owned businesses, and to hold manufacturing polluters accountable for water contamination. He currently serves as Chair of the Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on Environment. Prior to his election to Congress, Rep. Rouda worked as a lawyer and was an active supporter of Orange County charities working to address issues including domestic violence and homelessness.
Rep. Rouda is being challenged by John Thomas Schuesler (R), Michelle Steel (R), Richard Mata (AI), Brian Burley (R), and James Brian Griffin (R). According to recent election results, it's rare that Democrats wins this seat, as Rep. Rouda did in 2018. In fact, he is the first Democrat to win since the district was created in 1992.
Rep. Rouda’s track record of fighting for important environmental protections, his work to protect communities under attack, and his strong base in the district he managed to flip in 2018 make him the strongest choice for progressive leadership in this race.
Last updated: 2020-02-28
Diedre Nguyen is from Saigon, Vietnam, and has resided in Garden Grove, CA since 1995. According to campaign materials, she is running for Assembly to represent her community’s working class interests by fighting to increase access to economic opportunities.
Diedre Nguyen is a member of the Garden Grove City Council and a Laboratory Cancer Scientist, which she does to advance cancer research, improve access to quality education, spur local business growth, increase job opportunities, and address public safety concerns. Diedre Nguyen has also served on the boards of the Lunar New Year TET Parade, Vietnamese Young Marines, and as Vice-Chair of the Hurricane Haiyan Philippines Fundraiser, and has been appointed to various other Vietnamese community positions where she successfully worked to bring her community together to solve issues and promote diversity.
Diedre Nguyen is running against Tyler Diep (R), who is the incumbent and has held the seat since 2018, as well as Bijan Mohseni (D) and Janet Nguyen (R). According to recent election results, it's challenging for that Democrats to win this seat. Diedre Nguyen is the best progressive choice because of her track record of community service in the Garden Grove community, as well as her vision to fight for an economy that works for everyone in her district, not just those at the top.
According to our analysis, Diedre Nguyen is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-24
Depending on where you live, you may have the below races on your ballot.
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
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