By Courage California
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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.
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
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
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
Representative Mike Levin was raised in South Orange County and Los Angeles before moving away briefly for university and law school. He has returned to live in Orange County, where he currently represents District 49 in Congress.
Rep. Levin was elected to Congress in 2018 and he has been a champion on issues of sustainability and climate change. He is a member of the Natural Resources and Veterans Affairs Committees, as well as the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. He has sponsored legislation across a broad range of progressive issues, including electoral reforms, protection of voting rights, protection against discrimination, pay equity, and environmental protections. Prior to his election to Congress, Rep. Levin was a bold advocate for clean energy and sustainability in Orange County, San Diego, and beyond.
Rep. Levin is being challenged by Brian Maryott (R), a conservative businessman and mayor of San Juan Capistrano. Rep. Levin stands out as a strong progressive voice in Congress who has had significant impact in his first term. According to recent election results, this has been a tough race for Democrats to win, as Levin did in 2018. His strong progressive track record and ability to keep this flipped district make him the strongest 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 221, United Farm Workers
Scott Rhinehart is from West Virginia and has lived in Orange County for 16 years. According to campaign materials, he is running for State Assembly to be an advocate for his community and to increase access to economic opportunities, quality healthcare, and preserve the environment.
Rhinehart owns his own real estate brokerage. His firm provides programs for first time-buyers, seniors, and veterans, which help address the hardships middle-class families and small businesses face in today’s economy. Rhinehart has also worked as a political advocate, where he successfully helped beat the Briggs Initiative, an effort to ban members of the LGBTQ+ community from being employed in California’s public schools, and to increase investments for HIV and AIDS prevention.
Rhinehart is running against William “Bill” Brough (R) who is the incumbent and has held the seat since 2014. Other candidates include Chris Duncan (D), Laurie Davies (R), and Ed Sachs (R). According to recent election results, it's challenging for Democrats to win this seat. Rhinehart is the best progressive choice because of his track record of fighting for all American's rights and his vision of creating an economy that works for everyone, ensuring people have healthcare coverage and addressing issues of climate change.
According to our analysis, Rhinehart is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-24
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.
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