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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.
Voting has changed in Sacramento County this year. The Voter’s Choice Act was enacted in the county to make voting more convenient. Changes include an expanded period of in-person early voting, every registered voter in the county will receive a vote-by-mail ballot, and every registered voter in the county is able to vote in-person at any Vote Center in their county. Have questions about the changes to voting in Sacramento County? Visit your county elections website.
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below congressional districts on your ballot.
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
Why is this race important?
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
Why is this race important?
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 a legislator's progressive voting record. Based on our Courage Score analysis, McCarty has consistently shown great courage, advocating 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: 2020-02-21
Courage Score: https://www.couragescore.org/people/kevin-mccarty/
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.
City Council Races
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below races on your ballot.
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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