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.
Have questions about voting in Sonoma County? Visit your county elections website.
Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below congressional districts on your ballot.
Representative Jared Huffman is from Independence, MO, and currently resides in San Rafael, 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 advocate for his district and advance initiatives that preserve the environment and address climate change.
In Congress, Rep. Huffman has represented his district well in their time of need. Following the fires in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, he successfully worked to secure federal disaster relief funds. Furthermore, he has led the fight for environmental preservations and restoration projects, such as defending the dam removal project to reduce greenhouse gases on Klamath River, and securing permanent protections for the Mendocino Coast’s Stornetta Public Lands National Monument. Rep. Huffman currently sits on the Natural Resources and Transportation Committee, the Infrastructure Committee, and serves as Chair on the Water, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee. Prior to Rep. Huffman’s election to Congress, he served in the California State Assembly where he implemented landmark water reforms and advanced other progressive pieces of legislation focused on the environment and incentivizing corporate social responsibility.
Rep. Huffman is being challenged by Rachel Moniz (D), Dale Mensing (R), Charles "Wally" Coppock (AI), and Melissa Bradley (G). Rep. Huffman is the best progressive choice because of his track record of solving issues critical to the district and his commitment to enacting legislation to address climate change.
According to our analysis, Rep. Huffman is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
Last updated: 2020-02-13
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.
Representative Jim Wood moved to Northern California in 1987. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2014. According to campaign materials he is running for re-election because he wants to continue to improve environmental protections, economic development, and health care.
In the State Assembly, Rep. Wood authored several key bills to address healthcare, the environment and immigration. His “Pay to Delay” bill prevents drug companies from delaying production of generic drugs. He voted to end transporting oil to the state from oil from offshore drilling facilities, to provide information to residents potentially impacted by pollution in their language, and to protect personal data from being used to deport Californians. He currently chairs the Assembly Health Committee. Prior to his election to Assembly District 2, he served two terms as mayor of Healdsburg.
Rep. Wood is being challenged by Charlotte Svolos (R). He has scored a lifetime 82 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of a legislator's progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Rep. Wood has shown some willingness to advocate for the needs of constituents and face down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians. That said, his fierce opposition to Medicare-for-All, and his role in undermining the single-payer health care movement in California are of grave concern.
According to our analysis, Rep. Wood is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office, particularly given the positions of the only other candidate on the ballot.
Last updated: 2020-02-21
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 Marc Levine lives in Marin County with his wife and twin daughters. He is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2012. According to campaign materials, he is running for re-election to improve California's schools, preserve the environment, advocate for a sustainable government budget, and maintain an economy that welcomes innovation.
In the State Assembly, Levine has helped increase investments for public education, supported measures to increase access to higher education, created incentives to promote sustainable practices for environmental preservation, and lifted up policies that increase access to affordable housing. Courage has criticized Levine in the past for accepting money from Big Oil investors and prioritizing the interests of real-estate developers over environmental protection. He has a lifetime “B” grade (83 out of 100) on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislator's progressive voting record. In deep-blue Marin County, that’s not good enough, particularly since he received an unacceptable “C” grade in both 2016 and 2017.
Levine currently serves as Chair of the Select Committee on International and Regional Agreements and sits on the committees on Agriculture, Higher Education, Rules, as well as Water, Parks, and Wildlife. Prior to his election to the State Assembly, Levine served on the San Rafael City Council where he gained a reputation for a proactive approach to environmental issues on a local level. Prior to taking any public office, Levine earned his Master’s Degree in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School, and later developed technology for human rights organizations all over the world.
Levine is being challenged by Ted Cabral (D), Veronica “Roni” Jacobi (D), and Ron Sondergaard (R). Neither of the two Democrat challengers met our viability criteria detailed on the Methodology page. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Levine has done a decent job standing up for the needs of constituents and facing down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians, but has room for improvement. Given the make-up of his district, improvement should be expected.
According to our analysis, Levine is the best choice for progressive leadership in this district, although a viable progressive challenger would deserve a close look.
Last updated: 2020-02-27
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.
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
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.
City Ballot Measures
Depending on where you live, you may have the below city measures on your ballot.
Vote YES on Measure H, Income-Restricted Housing for Rent or Sale Ordinance
This measure, sponsored by Healdsburg Vice Mayor Leah Gold and City Council member Shaun McCaffery, modifies the city’s Growth Management Ordinance to create more ways for people to access affordable housing. Back in 2018, Measure P allowed an average of 50 units of income-restricted multi-family rental housing to be built per year. Measure H would simply allow those units to also be offered for sale, not just rental, so some of these units could be included in new for-sale developments.
In both cases, the units must be affordable to families earning below 160% of Sonoma county’s average median income. The idea is that the City Council will require these affordable units to be included in proposed developments, where they can give local residents and employees preference in buying or renting the units and require they be used as primary residences only. None of these affordable units cost taxpayers anything, nor do they use any public funds designated for affordable housing programs -- they are financed by developers and, like all units, subject to review by the city for zoning and design.
Vote YES on Measure H.
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