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.
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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
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
Ammar Campa-Najjar was born and raised in San Diego. According to campaign materials he is running to represent District 50 in Congress to fight for real ethics and campaign finance reform, while protecting an individual’s right to personal health, safety, and economic dignity.
Campa-Najjar has served in a White House position in the Executive Office of the President, at the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and at the U.S. Department of Labor, where he led the Office of Public Affairs for the Employment and Training Administration. His first work experience was as a church janitor to help contribute to his family’s economic security. Through his professional experiences, Campa-Najjar has helped to promote the economic growth of more than 4 million Latinx-owned small businesses, expanded aid for farm workers, launched youth summer jobs programs, and advanced veteran employment opportunities.
This is Campa-Najjar’s second attempt at running for Congressional District 50. In 2018, Campa-Najjar came in second, after what was widely described as an ugly, racist congressional campaign in which Campa-Najjar was smeared by Representative Duncan Hunter, as well as Hunter’s father, a former congressman. Rep. Hunter has since resigned after pleading guilty to conspiracy to misuse campaign funds.
Camapa-Najjar’s campaign has decent childcare, education, and campaign finance reform positions. That said, in this second attempt at running for Congressional District 50, Campa-Najjar has fallen short on advocating for large structural healthcare reform, has said that we would have abstained from voting on impeachment, and has even claimed that he will be a conservative voice for his district.
Challengers include Brian Jones (R), Carl DeMaio (R), Darrell Issa (R), Helen Horvath (NPP), Henry Ota (NPP), Jose Cortes (Peace and Freedom), Lucinda Jahn (NPP), Marisa Calderon (D), and Nathan Wilkins (R). One notable challenger is former House Congressmember Republican Darrell Issa, who was in office from 2001 to 2019. While in office, Issa played a prominent role in GOP-led investigations of the Obama administration in his role as chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. Rep. Issa is currently attracting attention for his troubling campaign advertising strategy, which has been criticized for attempting to use another challenger’s sexual orientation against him.
According to recent election results, it's very challenging for a Democrat to win this district. Though we disagree with Campa-Najjar’s healthcare and impeachment stances, as well as his self-proclaimed conservative title, in this crowded field, Campa-Najjar stands out as the best choice because of his commitment to public service, his campaign’s comprehensive policy platform, and his proven ability to compete in his district.
According to our analysis, Ammar Campa-Najjar is the strongest choice for Congressional District 50 and deserves your vote.
Last updated: 2020-02-28
Elizabeth Lavertu lives in Spring Valley, CA. According to campaign materials she is running for State Assembly because she wants to reinvest taxes in the community to improve schools, infrastructure, healthcare, and affordable housing.
Elizabeth Lavertu is a Co-Chair of the Spring Valley Community Planning Group, where she uses the position to improve roads and other infrastructure and bring economic development to the community. In this role, she has been an advocate for preserving arts programs in schools, and raised over $100,000 for an outdoor fitness circuit at the Jamacha Elementary School. She has also vocally opposed the Cottonwood Sand Mine developments over concerns about the health impacts to students and residents nearby.
Lavertu is running against candidate Randy Voepel (R), who is the incumbent and has held the seat since 2016. According to recent election results, it's rare that Democrats win this seat. Elizabeth Lavertu is the best the progressive choice because of her commitment to universal healthcare, quality education and a living wage.
According to our analysis, Elizabeth Lavertu is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-21
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
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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