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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.
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below congressional districts on your ballot.
Audrey Denney grew up in Central California, south of California's First Congressional District. According to campaign materials, she is running for Congress to represent Northern Californians’ values and vision by fighting for access to healthcare, addressing income inequality and discrimination, and ensuring that all humans are treated with dignity and respect.
Denney is a Senior Learning Designer, where she develops curriculum for agriculture companies and nonprofits to streamline institutional knowledge. Denney currently sits on the board of directors at Cristosal, an international human rights organization, and serves on Bidwell Presebyterian Church’s mission committee. Throughout her career, Denney has utilized her agriculture knowledge to help local farmers, as well as farmers in developing countries and other rural areas.
Denney is running against Doug LaMalfa (R), who is the incumbent and has held the seat since 2013. Other challengers include Rob Lydon (D), Gregory Cheadle (NPP), and Joseph LeTourneau IV (NPP). According to recent election results, it will be very difficult for a Democrat to win this seat. Denney is the progressive choice because of her track record of supporting and lifting up vulnerable populations, and her pledge represent her community by putting people over politics and special interests.
According to our analysis, Denney is a strong choice for progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-01
Brynne Kennedy and moved to Roseville, CA in 2019. According to campaign materials she is running for Congressional District 4 because she is disillusioned with partisan gridlock in Washington and government inefficiency.
Brynne Kennedy is the former CEO of Topia, an HR software company she founded to innovate the way companies relocate their employees. As CEO, she offered her employees paid parental leave as well as stock ownership. Through Topia, Kennedy also founded Mobility4All, a philanthropy initiative that relocates refugees and those fleeing poverty. She supports policies that ensure equal pay for women, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, and the protection and expansion of access to reproductive health services.
Kennedy is running against Tom McClintock (R) who is the incumbent and has held the position since 2009, as well as Julianne Benzel (R), Jamie Byers (R), Jacob Thomas (R), and Robert Lawton (NPP). According to recent election results, this is a very challenging race for Democrats to win. Though we are concerned that Kennedy remains markedly silent on immigration, her strong support for equality and women’s rights would move the district forward on those progressive issues and make her a strong choice in this race.
According to our analysis, Brynne Kennedy is the strongest choice for effective leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-13
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below State Assembly races on your ballot.
Elizabeth Betancourt is a longtime resident of the North State, and lives in Happy Valley. According to campaign materials, she is running for State Senate because she wants to bring her small business and environmental advocacy experience to Sacramento to provide more productive representation for District 1.
Betancourt has worked in the private and public sector throughout her career to provide leadership in resource management and planning. In a variety of positions, Betancourt has built her resume in the Sierra-Cascade region on issues surrounding forest resources and drinking water supplies. To fulfill her responsibilities, she has built collaborative relationships with a variety of stakeholders, including tribes, business and tourism advocates, environmental protection organizations, and water and timber companies. Betancourt has advocated for job creation and Native American Indian tribal empowerment, and was an integral part of the state’s response to the Carr Fire in 2018. As an active member of her community, Betancourt served a four year term as the Director of the Western Shasta Resource Conservation District Board, and on the Community Development Advisory Committee for the City of Redding. These opportunities allowed her to use her professional expertise to advocate for local funding distribution, projects, and rural values.
Betancourt is running against candidate Megan Dahle (R), who is the incumbent and has held the seat since 2019, as well as PK Dhanuka (NPP). According to recent election results, it's challenging for Democrats to win. Betancourt is the progressive choice because of her long history of advocating for environmental improvements, and working to find thoughtful compromises with a broad group of stakeholders.
According to our analysis, Elizabeth Betancourt is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-13
Frank Bigelow is the incumbent, having served as Assembly District 5 Representative since 2012. According to our analysis, Bigelow is likely to provide no progressive leadership in office
There is no progressive choice on the ballot. According to recent election results, it’s rare that Democrats win this seat. We encourage you to write in a candidate of your choice to show support for progressives in this district. Keep reading for progressive recommendations in other key races and on ballot measures where your vote can make a critical difference.
According to her campaign website, Jackie Smith of Rocklin, CA, is running for office in Assembly District 6 in order to advocate for environmental justice, affordable housing for the California workforce, and healthcare.
Smith serves as a Commissioner and Legislative Representative on the Placer County Older Adult Advisory Commission and is also a member of the California Alliance for Retired Americans. Her previous professional experience is largely oriented around technology, and she has also served on health-care oriented non-profit boards, including Sunburst Projects, and the Sacramento Rainbow of Commerce. Smith’s previous roles in her community indicate she will advocate for public health and inclusivity.
According to her campaign website, Smith is ready to advocate for the California workforce in regard to housing, education, healthcare, and stable retirement. That said, this position would be her first in public office.
Smith is running against Republican incumbent Kevin Kiley (R), who has consistently failed to fight corporate interests in favor of his constituents and has a lifetime score of 0 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of a legislator's progressive voting records. According to recent election results, it is challenging for Democrats to win this seat. Though the odds are against Smith, her recent endorsement by the California Labor Federation suggests that she has the momentum required to help inspire progressives in this race.
According to our analysis, Smith is the strongest choice for effective leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-13
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below State Senate races on your ballot.
Depending on where you live, you may have the below races on your ballot.
Why is this race important?
Pamela Dawn Swartz (D) is the only Democrat in this race. While we do not have sufficient information about this candidate to confirm her viability, we recommend supporting Swartz as a more progressive alternative to the current incumbent, Senator Brian Dahle (R).
Senator Dahle has represented District 1 in the State Senate since 2019, and previously served in the assembly. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Dahle has shown that he does NOT advocate for the needs of constituents or face down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians. He scored just 9 out of 100 on this year’s Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislator's progressive voting records. In summary, Senator Dahle is not serving his constituents with progressive solutions.
Swartz is also being challenged by Linda Kelleher (NPP). According to our analysis, Pamela Dawn Swartz has the potential to provide stronger progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-13
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 themselves.
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. Without question, 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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