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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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Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below congressional districts on your ballot.
Representative Raul Ruiz grew up in Coachella, CA, and currently resides in La Quinta, CA. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2013. According to campaign materials, he is running to fulfill his pledge to serve his community and address the issues his district faces by being a strong advocate in Washington.
In Congress, Rep. Ruiz has utilized his knowledge as an emergency physician to make the case to save programs such as Medicare and Social Security. Furthermore, he has been a strong advocate for veterans, and a voice of opposition against the influence of special interests in Washington. Rep. Ruiz currently serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee and sits on three additional subcommittees. Prior to his election to Congress, he worked as an emergency physician in the Coachella Valley and was the founder and director of the Coachella Valley Healthcare Initiative, where he successfully brought together members of his community to improve access to healthcare and address public health issues.
Rep. Ruiz has progressive positions when it comes to preserving the environment and ensuring access to affordable, quality healthcare. That said, he has voted against key progressive bills pertaining to military spending and other issues involving trade and earlier votes on the impeachment of the President.
Rep. Ruiz is being challenged by Erin Cruz (R), Patrice Kimbler (R), and Milo Stevanovich (R). According to recent election results, Democrats usually win this seat. Though we disagree with Rep. Ruiz’s votes on military spending, trade, and impeachment, his relationships with partners and position of power in Congress supports progressive momentum and makes him a strong choice in this race.
Last updated: 2020-02-05
Why is this race important?
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
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
Jerry Carlos has been a resident of Lake Elsinore since 1999 and worked in the district in the 1970s. While we do not have sufficient information about this candidate to confirm his viability, we recommend supporting Carlos as a potentially progressive candidate running for this open seat.
Carlos has run for office in the past, running on a platform of expanding educational and recreational opportunities for city residents, as well as promising to include residents in the policy decision making process. Carlos has worked in public service in law enforcement, fire department administration, and recreational services. He has also worked as a tennis coach in local public schools and is a small business owner.
Carlos is running against Steve Manos (R), Nick Pardue (R), Kelly Seyarto (R), and Jeremy Smith (R) for this open seat. According to recent election results, it's a long shot for a Democrat to win this seat.
According to our analysis, Jerry Carlos has the potential to provide strong progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-04
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.
Joy Silver is from Pennsylvania and has lived in Palm Springs since 2007. According to campaign materials she is running for State Senate because she was motivated after the 2016 Presidential election to use her experience in the healthcare and housing industries to fight for equity in her community.
Silver helped found Courageous Resistance of Palm Springs, a grassroots organization that was established to push back against the Trump administration’s immigration policies and their efforts to ease gun violence prevention legislation across the country. Throughout her career, she has worked to improve healthcare access, and to increase funding for affordable housing. Silver has emphasized sustainable growth and environmental protections, and has spoken out against the gas tax repeal effort. Under this platform, Silver came within 3% of flipping State Senate District 28 in the 2018 election. She lost the race to the incumbent, but was endorsed by Courage Campaign in her bid for the seat. Since that time the incumbent has accepted a position with Trump’s Department of Labor, prompting this special election.
Joy Silver is running against Elizabeth Romero (D), John Schwab (R), and Melissa Melendez (R) in this open race. According to recent election results, it's rare that Democrats win this seat, but Silver lost only narrowly in 2018. Silver stands out as the progressive choice because of her diverse track record of working for healthcare reform, social justice, and affordable housing.
According to our analysis, Joy Silver is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-01-30
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. 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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