Sacramento County

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Congress

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

3rd Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives


Representative John Garamendi was first elected to Congress in a special election in 2009 and was re-elected to the seat in 2010. California’s subsequent redistricting shifted most of the district to California’s 3rd District, a seat which Garamendi has held since.

Prior to his election to Congress, Rep. Garamendi served in numerous public offices. He was elected to the California legislature in 1974 and went on to successfully run for California’s Insurance Commissioner in 1990. He was Appointed Deputy Secretary of the Interior in 1995 by then President Bill Clinton, and was elected California Lieutenant Governor in 2007 before his run for Congress. 

Rep. Garamendi strongly supports strengthening the Affordable Care Act, protecting access to healthcare in rural areas, and efforts to reduce prescription drug prices, including allowing Medicare to directly negotiate drug prices. He also supports bold action on climate change including the adoption of zero-emission vehicles, green infrastructure investments, and investments in renewable energy. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, he has worked to push the military to be a leader on climate change. He’s been active in efforts to protect the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, including working to pass legislation to designate it as California’s first National Heritage Area Act. While he expressed concerns about the Green New Deal, he ultimately signed on as a co-sponsor of the House Resolution. 

Rep. Garamendi has long supported nuclear nonproliferation, and has co-sponsored legislation to require separate authorizations from Congress in order to utilize nuclear weapons, and legislation to prohibit the research, development, production and deployment of low-yield nuclear warheads.

Rep. Garamendi is challenged by Sean Feucht (R), and Tamika Hamilton (R). The 3rd Congressional District has been a swing district, though it has been leaning more Democratic in the last few election cycles. Rep. Garamendi has strong support from labor, environmental and social justice organizations in the district.

Rep. Garamendi is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.

 

Last updated: 2020-02-05


6th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives


Representative Doris Matsui was born in the Poston War Relocation Center in Arizona; her parents had been forced from their homes in the Central Valley and met in the camp. Her family relocated back to the Central Valley, where Matsui was raised. She attended the University of California at Berkeley, where she met her husband, the late Congressman Bob Matsui. After his unexpected passing in 2005, she ran for his seat in a special election, which was then California’s 5th District, and won. The 2010 redistricting shifted her to the present 6th District; regardless, she has won every election since by comfortable margins.

Matsui serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and four subcommittees. Matsui has long campaigned on improving education, supporting green and renewable energies, and expanding access to healthcare. She has criticized the Trump administrations’ attacks on the EPA, and California's own efforts to combat air pollution and maintain CAFE standards. She supports tax incentives for clean energy, including loans for homeowners to retrofit homes and grants to modernize electrical grids.

She is a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act, and has fought for comprehensive mental health reforms. In 2014, she sponsored and helped pass helped the Excellence in Mental Health Act, which funded community behavioral health clinics in pilot states.

Matsui has also become increasingly outspoken against the Trump administration's fear mongering, and discriminatory immigration and detention policies. After visiting a detention processing center in McAllen, Texas, the Congresswoman wrote an op-ed stating she was “sickened” by the conditions, and called for “wholesale reform” that includes investment in Central American nations, ending the separation of families at the border, and ending the role of private prisons at the border.

Rep. Matsui is challenged by Benjamin Emrad (D), Chris Bish (R), Sherwood Ellsworthy, and Haisty, Jr. (R). Matsui stands out as the best progressive choice because of her commitment to progressive values and vision for a healthier, more just and vibrant future.

According to our analysis, Matsuiis the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-05


7th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives


Dr. Ami Bera was first elected to California’s 7th Congressional District in 2012, defeating Republican incumbent Dan Lungren after redistricting. Rep. Bera was born and raised in southern California, and earned his B.S. and M.D. from the University of California, Irvine. He moved to the Sacramento area in the mid 1990s and currently lives with his family in Elk Grove. As a doctor, improving access to health care and reducing prescription drug costs have been central to Rep. Bera’s platform, as has protecting Medicare and Social Security. 

Prior to his election to Congress, Rep. Bera served as Sacramento County’s Chief Medical Officer, and was a clinical professor and associate dean for admissions at the University of California, Davis. 

In the House, Rep. Bera currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology; he is also the Chair of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. 

Rep. Bera has been a strong proponent of women’s issues, including improving early access to healthcare, protecting reproductive choice, increasing funding for Title X and the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. He has fought the Trump administrations roll backs of clean air and water regulations, and supports investments in renewable, green energy, but is not a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal resolution. After California’s devastating wildfires, he co-sponsored legislation to improve the resilience of electrical grids. He’s stated his support of publicly owned utilities but has not specifically called for public ownership of PG&E. He supported the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which, among other reforms, would allow Health & Human Services to negotiate the cost of 250 drugs for Medicare recipients. While he supports a path to universal healthcare, he has not supported Medicare for All plans.  

Rep. Bera is running against Jeff Burdick (D), Jon Ivy (R), Buzz Paterson (R), and Chris Richardson (G). The district is a battleground district that can be tough for Democrats to win; the margin of victory was often less than 3% for Bera. While Rep. Bera is more conservative on some issues, this seat is a must-keep for Democrats, and his support on other key progressive issues is vital. Rep. Bera is the best choice for a progressive voice in this race. 
 

Last updated: 2020-02-01


9th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives


Jerry McNerny is from New Mexico and has lived in California since 1990. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2007. According to campaign materials, he is running for re-election to continue to be an independent voice for the 9th District. 

Jerry McNerney currently serves in the House of Representatives, where he has written and passed laws that include the better treatment of veterans returning home with traumatic brain injury, as well as improved training for new green jobs and increased investment in infrastructure for electric vehicles. He currently serves on the Committee on Energy and Commerce as well as the Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Prior to his election to Congress, he worked as a renewable energy engineer and founded a company that manufactures wind turbines.

Jerry McNerney has introduced a proposed amendment to the Constitution that would limit funding for candidates and ballot measures from direct donations from individual citizens, restrict campaign contributions, and essentially eliminate Political Action Committees. 

Jerry McNerney is running against Marla Livengood (R) and Antonio Amador (R). According to recent election results, Democrats can win this seat but it's often a close race. Though we disagree with McNerney’s often punitive stances on immigration, as well as calls for increased funding for law enforcement and surveillance at the border, his position in Congress helps to advance progressive policies on issues such as climate change and makes him the strongest choice for in this race.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-13


State Assembly

Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below State Assembly races on your ballot.

State Assembly, 6th District

Member of the State Assembly

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Jackie Smith
Democrat
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Builds Progress

Builds Representation


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


State Assembly, 7th District

Member of the State Assembly


Kevin McCarty has lived in Sacramento all his life. He is the incumbent in this Assembly District primary and has served in this position since 2014. According to campaign materials McCarty is running for re-election to continue his work in public education.

In the State Assembly, McCarty has made historic investments in public education, early childhood education, career technical education, and helped increase the number of students enrolled in California’s Community College, CSU and UC systems. He currently serves as Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance, which oversees the largest component of California’s multi-billion dollar budget. Prior to his election to the State Assembly, McCarty served on the Sacramento City Council from 2004 to 2014. There, he wrote bills on innovative youth programs and gun violence prevention legislation and advocated for tenants’ rights and environmental justice.

McCarty is running unopposed and has a lifetime Courage Score of 96 out of 100, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting record. Based on our Courage Score analysis, McCarty has consistently shown great courage in standing up for the needs of constituents and facing down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians and is a strong choice for progressive leadership in office.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-05


State Assembly, 8th District

Member of the State Assembly

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Ken Cooley
Democrat
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Builds Power


Cooley moved to East Sacramento County community of Rancho Cordova in 1977 and has served in various public offices there since 2002. Cooley is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2012. According to campaign materials, Cooley is running to keep his seat to address California’s homelessness crisis and to continue his work on behalf of foster youth.

Cooley currently serves as Chair of the Select Committee on Foster Care, where he has focused on increased visibility for the needs of children and caretakers in the foster care system. Prior to his election to the State Assembly, Cooley was a Rancho Cordova founding town council member, where he served for 10 years.

Cooley identifies as a fiscal conservative on his campaign site and has Cooley abstained from and even voted against specific policies that could protect tenants’ rights, promote gun violence prevention legislation and curb climate change.

Cooley is being challenged by Republican Cathy Cook. In 2019 Cooley scored a 27 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislator's progressive voting records. According to recent election results, Democrats usually win this seat. Though we disagree with many of Cooley’s votes, his strong base and endorsements, combined with the lack of more progressive candidates on the ballot, make him the strongest choice in this race.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-05


State Assembly, 9th District

Member of the State Assembly

Tracie Stafford photo
Tracie Stafford
Democrat
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Builds Power

Builds Progress

Builds Representation

Courage Endorsed



Tracie Stafford is a 53 year old resident of Elk Grove, born to a single mother and orphaned at the age of 12 along with her 4 siblings. She is the first in her family to earn a college degree. According to Stafford, she is running to end corporate-dominated politics and to give a voice to the unheard, under-served and disenfranchised.

Stafford is a community leader, an elected assembly district delegate, and was appointed by the governor as Chair of the city of Sacramento’s small business board. Stafford supports legislation that closes the gender and racial wage gap while ensuring that women, the LGBTQ+ community and people of color are provided with equal opportunities in the workplace. She will work closely with labor to ensure that workers are being treated justly and with dignity regarding pay, benefits, and access to promotions.

Stafford’s commitment to justice and equity is fueled by her personal experiences with poverty, discrimination, child abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence. She plans to advocate to preserve confidential, unrestricted access to affordable, high quality, culturally sensitive health care services, including the full range of reproductive services, contraception and abortion, without requiring guardian, judicial, parental, or spousal consent or notification.

Stafford brings a strong track record and deep relationships in progressive politics and public service. Among many other roles and affiliations, Stafford has served as President of the Women Democrats of Sacramento County, as Political Action Chair for the Sacramento NAACP, and as a founder of Indivisible Women of California.

Stafford is challenging incumbent Jim Cooper (D), who has consistently opposed progressive priorities by siding with corporate lobbyists and failing his constituents on many issues include the environment and worker protections. Other candidates include Mushtaq Tahirkheli (D), and Eric Rigard (R). Stafford is the strongest choice in a crowded field because of her track record as a progressive champion for the underserved and disenfranchised, and as an advocate for her region’s priorities in the Democratic Party.

Voting for Stafford is an opportunity to elect a legislator who will accurately represent the perspective and priorities of her district in Congress. Courage California strongly endorses Tracie Stafford for State Assembly.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-13


State Assembly, 11th District

Member of the State Assembly

No Good Choices


Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D) is the incumbent, having served as Assembly District 11 Representative since 2013. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Assemblymember Frazier has shown that he does NOT stand up for the needs of constituents or face down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians. Frazier scored a shocking 15 out of 100 on this year’s Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislator's progressive voting records.

Assemblymember Frazier is running unopposed. We here at Courage 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.
 

State Senate

Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below State Senate races on your ballot.

State Senator, 1st District

Member of the State Senate

Pamela Dawn Swartz photo
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Builds Progress

Builds Representation



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


State Senator, 3rd District

Member of the State Senate


Senator Bill Dodd (D) is the incumbent, having served as Senator for the district since 2013. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Senator Dodd has shown that he does NOT advocate for the needs of constituents or face down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians. Dodd scored a shocking 57 out of 100 on this year’s Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislator's progressive voting records.
 
Senator Dodd is running unopposed. Courage California encourages 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.

Last updated: 2020-02-13


State Senator, 5th District

Member of the State Senate


Susan Eggman is from Turlock, CA, just south of State Senate District 5, and currently resides in Stockton, CA. She is the incumbent in this race. According to campaign materials, she is running for State Senate to fight for her community’s right to clean water, ensure that veterans receive the care they have earned, and increase access to quality education throughout the Central Valley.

Eggman advocates for her community's needs in the state capitol. As an assembly member, she’s led the project to develop a California State University in Stockton, has challenged delays in establishing the French Camp CA Medical Clinic, and has been an ongoing voice of opposition towards the proposal to develop tunnels through the San Joaquin Delta. Prior to becoming a state legislature, Eggman worked as a social worker focused on addressing issues pertaining to substance abuse, and also served in the Stockton City Council and the United States Army as a combat medic.

Eggman is running against Mani Grewal (D), Jesús Andrade (R), Kathleen Garcia (R), and Jim Ridenor (R). In 2019, as an assembly member, Eggman scored 86 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of a legislator's progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Eggman has consistently shown great courage advocating for the needs of constituents and facing down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians.

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

Last updated: 2020-02-13


Statewide Ballot Measures

Proposition 13

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Vote Yes On Prop 13
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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.

City Council Races

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

Sacramento City Council

Sacramento City Council, District 4



Katie Valenzuela has lived in Sacramento for 10 years. According to campaign materials she is running for Sacramento City Council to build on her family’s legacy of community service by using her advocacy and organizing experience to effect change for District 4 constituents.

Valenzuela is an activist and advocate, and currently serves as the Policy & Political Director for the California Environmental Justice Alliance. She does this work to identify the systemic barriers to health and prosperity that face her community, and to find solutions to those issues through the amplification of local voices. Valenzuela was instrumental in forming the Sacramento Urban Agriculture Coalition, which was used to advocate for policies around the growing and selling of food, and the Sacramento Community Land Trust. She was eventually appointed to the California Environmental Justice Committee. Valenzuela has worked in a civil rights law firm, at the State Capitol for the Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change Policies, and as a private consultant. Her efforts have consistently been focused on providing community groups with the resources to influence the policies that impact them.

Valenzuela is running against Steve Hansen, the incumbent who has held the seat since 2012. Valenzuela stands out as the progressive choice because of her track record of working to advocate on homelessness and housing, and to empower local communities to work in support of diverse policy changes that eliminate systemic barriers to access.

According to our analysis, Katie Valenzuela is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-12


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