61st Assembly District

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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.

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Congress

Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below congressional districts on your ballot.

41st Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

Mark Takano photo
Democrat

Builds Power
Builds Progress
Builds Representation



Representative Mark Takano is from Riverside, CA. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2013. According to campaign materials, he is running for re-election to continue to fight for his district’s progressive priorities and be an advocate for veterans, seniors, students, local businesses and hardworking families.

In Congress, Rep. Takano has authored and advanced legislation to limit for-profit colleges’ abusive practices, protect veterans earned benefits, and increase access to vocational training programs. He currently serves as Chairman on the Veterans' Affairs Committee, and sits on the Education and Workforce Committee, as well as four additional subcommittees. Prior to his election to Congress, Rep. Takano served on the Riverside Community College District’s Board of Trustees, where he increased access to higher education and job skills training programs for adults seeking new careers. Furthermore, Rep. Takano’s public service in the Riverside community includes positions on the Community Advisory Board of the Children’s Spine Foundation, as well as the mayor of Riverside’s Task Force on the Digital Divide, and he served as Chairman for the Asain Pacific Islander Caucus of the California Democratic Party.

Rep. Takano is being challenged by Grace Williams (D) and Aja Smith (R). Rep. Takano stands out as the best progressive choice because of his track record of public service in Riverside county and his reputation of successfully advancing his district’s progressive priorities.

According to our analysis, Rep. Takano is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.

Last updated: 2020-02-05


42nd Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

William “Liam” O'Mara photo

Builds Power
Builds Progress



William “Liam” O'Mara resides in Lake Elsinore, CA. According to campaign materials, he is running for Congress to advocate for his community’s needs and to fight for an America that benefits all, not just those at the top.

O’Mara is a history professor at Chapman University, where he works to spread knowledge and share his expertise, as well as learn from his students about the difficult experiences people face in today’s society. He put himself through college and pursued a Ph.D. in history while working as a cook, longshoreman, and in technology.

O’Mara is committed to enacting progressive policies such as Medicare for All so that people have access to quality healthcare regardless of financial circumstances, paid sick and family leave to provide stability when people experience unexpected situations, a $15 minimum wage, and tuition free public college so that people have access to learn the necessary skills for a job in today’s economy.

O’Mara is running against Ken Calvert (R), who is the incumbent and has held the seat since 1993, as well as Regina Marston (D). According to recent election results, it's rare that Democrats wins this seat.

According to our analysis, O’Mara is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-03


State Assembly, 61st District

Member of the State Assembly

Jose Medina photo
Democrat

Builds Power
Builds Representation


Assemblymember Jose Medina has been a resident of Riverside County for over 30 years, having received both his undergraduate degree, master's degree, and teaching credentials from UC Riverside. Medina is the incumbent and has served in this office since 2012. According to campaign materials, Medina is running for re-election to continue his efforts to provide affordable, quality higher education to California students.

During his time in the Assembly, Medina has authored a number of bills that provide financial assistance to students in need—including those with DACA status and those who are homeless. Medina currently serves as chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education. Prior to his election to the State Assembly, Medina was a teacher in the Riverside Unified School District, where he was also a member of the Riverside City Teachers Association and the state council of the California Teachers Association (CTA). Additionally, he served three terms on the Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees and had previously been elected to the Jurupa Unified School District Board of Education. 

Medina’s commitment to progress is reflected in the bills he’s authored surround Californian’s access to affordable, quality higher education. That said, he’s abstained from voting on some progressive bills that address climate change and corporate transparency.

Medina is running against Ali Mazarei (R). According to recent election results, Democrats usually win this seat. Though we disagree with Medina abstaining from voting on issues having to do with corporate transparency and climate change, his commitment to education supports progressive momentum and makes him the strongest choice in this race.

Last updated: 2020-02-21


State Senator, 31st District

Member of the State Senate

Richard Roth photo
Democrat

Builds Power



Richard Roth is from Columbus, Ohio and moved to Riverside in 1978. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2012. According to campaign materials he is running to keep his seat to continue to build on his military and legal career by working on budget and healthcare issues in the legislature.

In the State Senate, Roth has worked on legislation to improve funding for a public medical school in Riverside and transportation improvements, to provide protection for the Mojave, to expand access to higher education in underserved communities, and to support K-12 mental health services. Roth currently serves as Chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Education, and the Vice-Chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee. He also serves on an additional 10 policy committees, including Rules, Transportation, Veteran’s Affairs, Budget & Fiscal Review, and Housing. Prior to his election to the State Senate, Roth served in the JAG Corps and the Air Force Reserves, acting as a reserve judge advocate and reaching the rank of Major General before his 2007 retirement. As an attorney, Roth practiced labor and employment law in private practice and has taught law at UC-Riverside. As a community member, Roth served as the Chairman of the Board of the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, and President of the Monday Morning Group. He has been an active board member with several legal organizations and worked with the Parkview Community Hospital and the Riverside Art Museum.

Roth has progressive positions on education funding, healthcare, and transportation infrastructure. That said, he has voted against several progressive bills, including tenant housing protections and prohibiting biometric data being recorded by police body cameras.

Roth is running unopposed in this race. This year, he scored 58 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting record. According to recent election results, Democrats can win this seat but it's often a close race. Though we disagree with Roth’s stance on the issues listed above, his long record of public service and strong base in a difficult to win district supports progressive momentum and makes him a strong choice in this race.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-21


Statewide Ballot Measures

Proposition 13

VOTE YES

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.