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 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
Representative Mike Thompson is from St. Helena, CA. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 1999. According to campaign materials, he is running for re-election because he understands how to bring people together to solve his district’s needs.
In Congress, Rep. Thompson has advanced efforts to rebuild the middle-class, increase access to healthcare, ensure seniors and veterans aren’t left behind and preserve the environment. He currently sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, as well as the Health Subcommittee and serves as Chair of the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee. Prior to his election to Congress, he worked in the California State Senate and the United States Army, where he was recognized with a purple heart for his service.
Rep. Thompson has progressive positions when it comes to gun safety legislation and increasing access to affordable healthcare. That said, he has unfavorable positions when it comes to immigration and is a member of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition.
Rep. Thompson is being challenged by Jason Kishineff (D), John Wesley Tyler (D), and Scott Giblin (R). According to recent election results, Democrats usually win this seat. Though we disagree with Rep. Thompson's stances on immigration and his affiliation with the Blue Dog Coalition, his relationships with partners, his position of power in Congress, his progressive position on issues like gun safety, and his Democratic opponents' lack of viability makes Thompson the strongest choice in this race.
Last updated: 2020-02-18
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below State Assembly races on your ballot.
Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry grew up in Yolo County and lives in Winters, CA. She is the incumbent, having served as Assemblymember for the 4th District in the State Assembly since 2016. According to campaign materials, she is running for re-election to continue to be a fierce advocate for Democratic values and for the small cities and towns that make up District 4.
During her tenure, Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry has worked to serve the interests of rural residents, farmers and agricultural workers, and local government. She has authored successful legislation to protect small family farm homesteads, improve the quality of recycling programs by local governments, and to improve voter registration in counties throughout the state. Through her efforts, she helped establish the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument to protect environmental lands across five counties. In the Assembly, Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry currently chairs the Local Government Committee and the Select Committee on Wine. She also currently serves as Chair of the Yolo Housing Commission, Vice-Chair of the Yolo County Water Association, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Council of Governments. Prior to her election to the State Assembly, Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry served as the first woman Mayor of Winters.
Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry is being challenged by Sophia Racke (D) and Matthew Nelson (R). Based on Courage Score, our annual analysis of a legislator's progressive voting records, Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry has a mixed record advocating for the needs of constituents and facing down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians. In 2019, she scored a 90 out of 100 on Courage Score. That said, in 2017, she received a 79, and in 2018, she received a 61. According to our analysis, Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office, although we will continue to closely watch her voting record.
Last updated: 2020-02-21
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 advocate 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 a 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.
Assemblymember Tim Grayson has lived in the East Bay for nearly 20 years. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2017. According to campaign materials, he is running to keep his seat to continue to prioritize safe and secure neighborhoods in his district.
In the State Assembly, Assemblymember Grayson is currently working on passing a cap on interest rates on consumer loans that target financially vulnerable families with unaffordable loans that they cannot repay. He has also authored legislation that aims to increase transparency and accountability in the University of California system and to streamline the development of areas affected by military base closures into commercial and residential areas. Assemblymember Grayson currently serves as Chair of the Select Committee on Streamlining Services for Victims of Interpersonal Violence, and is a member of committees including Banking and Finance, Business and Professions, and Insurance. Prior to his election to the State Assembly, he served as Concord Councilmember and Mayor, and founded the Family Justice Center to support victims of domestic violence, child and elderly abuse, and human trafficking in the Concord area. He also worked as the City of Concord’s police chaplain directly working with survivors of violent crimes, their families, and first responders.
Assemblymember Grayson has helped to protect consumers and victims of domestic violence, child and elderly abuse, and human trafficking. He has also supported key legislation that strengthens the rights of formerly incarcerated people. That said, he often votes against or abstains from key progressive bills that address the needs of those very same communities, leading to a mixed track record on progressive legislation.
Assemblymember Grayson is being challenged by Janell Proctor (R) and Cassandra Devereaux (PFP). According to recent election results, Democrats usually win this seat. Though we question Assemblymember Grayson’s lack of support for key progressive legislation and would encourage him to use his close relationship with the police to push for criminal justice reforms, his strong base in District 14 and commitment to protecting Californians in a variety of ways makes him the strongest choice for progressive leadership in this race.
Last updated: 2020-02-05
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 a 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: 2020-02-21
Board of Supervisor Races
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below county races on your ballot.
K. Patrice Williams moved to Solano County over 20 years ago and lives in Fairfield with her son and husband. According to campaign materials, her goals as Supervisor are to effectively fund solutions to homelessness and build more affordable housing, repair streets and roads, and create a regional parks system for Solano County.
K. Patrice has worn many professional hats, including working a tech startup and as an attorney for low-income tenants facing eviction. Currently, she runs the employment consulting firm she founded. Her civic involvement also spans a range of issues: she served as public policy commissioner for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, volunteers with “Solano Seniors Count,” a group of citizens aiming to protect senior services, and founded the Solano County chapter of Black Women Organized for Political Action.
K. Patrice is challenging incumbent, Monica Brown, who has held the seat since 2016. K. Patrice Williams is the noteworthy progressive choice because of her proven commitment to marginalized communities and her vision for an economically empowered Solano County.
According to our analysis, K. Patrice Williams is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-27
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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