44th Assembly District

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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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Congress, 26th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

Julia Brownley  photo

Builds Power
Builds Representation

Representative Julia Brownley is from Aiken, SC, and currently resides in Thousand Oaks, CA. She is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2013. According to campaign materials, she is running for congress to advocate for the needs of her constituents and defend the civil rights of all Americans.

In Congress, Rep. Brownley has worked to bring down high healthcare costs, fought to make higher education more affordable, preserve the environment, ensure that veterans receive the care and services they deserve, and defend Social Security and Medicare from Republican attacks. Rep. Brownley currently sits on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and in 2019 received an appointment to the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis due to her leadership on environmental preservation. Prior to her election to Congress, she served in the State Assembly and the Santa Monica-Malibu school board.

Rep. Brownley supports progressive environmental, healthcare, and education policies. That said, she has been silent on other progressive issues, and has cast unfavorable votes that increased funding to Immigration and Custom Enforcement, failed to extend paid family leave for federal employees, and rejected measures to limit federal employers from discriminating against job applicants with a criminal history.

Rep. Brownley is being challenged by Enrique Petris (D), Robert L. Salas (D), and Rounda Baldwin-Kennedy (R). Even though we don’t agree with all the votes cast by Rep. Brownley on the issues mentioned above, her relationships with progressive partners and support in her district helps to advance progressive policies, which makes her a strong choice in this race.

Last updated: 2020-02-28

State Assembly, 44th District

Member of the State Assembly

Jacqui Irwin photo

Builds Power
Builds Representation

Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin currently resides in Thousand Oaks, CA. She is the incumbent, having served in this position since 2014. According to campaign materials, she is running to keep her seat to continue to create jobs, ensure her community is safe, and advocate for fiscally responsible governance.

In the State Assembly, she has advanced legislation to increase funding for education, mental health services, expand consumer protections, and address sexual harassment in the workplace. Irwin currently serves as Chair of the Veteran Affairs Committee and the Cybersecurity Select Committee, as well as sits on three additional committees. Prior to her election to the State Assembly, she worked as an engineer and served as Mayor of Thousand Oaks.

Irwin has progressive positions as it pertains to education, consumer protections, and increasing access to mental health services. That said, she has voted against key progressive bills on criminal justice reform, labor rights, and increasing access to affordable housing.

Irwin is being challenged by Denise Pedrow (R). Irwin has a lifetime score of 46 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of a legislator’s progressive voting record. According to recent election results, Democrats can win this seat but it's often a close race. Though we disagree with Irwin’s votes on the issues named above, and know that a stronger progressive candidate would more accurately represent the 44th district, Irwin is the most progressive candidate on the ballot. That said, we encourage more progressive candidates, that will better reflect this community’s needs, to run in future cycles.

Last updated: 2020-02-29

State Senate

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

State Senator, 19th District

Member of the State Senate

Monique Limón photo

Builds Power
Builds Progress
Builds Representation

Monique Limón is a lifelong resident of Santa Barbara. According to campaign materials, she is running for State Senate because she understands the values of the region and will use her public service experience to advocate for environmental protection, educational reforms, and improved healthcare access.

Limón is a member of the California State Assembly, where she uses her understanding of her community to establish meaningful legislation to positively impact educational outcomes and environmental protections. She acted as the Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Natural Disaster Response, Recovery, and Rebuilding, and worked to improve emergency communication and fire prevention. Prior to serving in the Assembly, Limón served two terms on the Santa Barbara Unified School Board, and acted as the Assistant Director for the McNair Scholars program at UCSB.

Limón is running for this open seat against Gary J. Michaels (R), and Anastasia Stone (NPP). In 2019 she scored a 90 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of a legislator's progressive voting records. According to recent election results, Democrats can win this seat but it's often a close race. Limón is the most progressive choice because of her track record of championing education reform, working toward stronger environmental protections, and pushing for improved emergency responses.

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

Last updated: 2020-02-24

State Senator, 27th District

Member of the State Senate

Henry Stern photo

Builds Progress

Senator Henry Stern is a sixth-generation Californian and native of this district. He is the incumbent, having served in the State Senate since 2017. According to campaign materials, he is running for re-election to continue to be a voice for common sense policy that uplifts families and neighborhoods through community-driven, local policy solutions.

In the State Senate, Senator Stern has pushed for community-based resilience solutions that protect families and has authored legislation to empower communities to take a local approach to fight human trafficking. He currently chairs the Senate Elections Committee. Prior to his election to the State Senate, he worked with businesses to construct clean energy projects, co-founded a technology incubator, and taught civics classes.

Senator Stern is being challenged by Houman Salem (R). Based on our Courage Score analysis, Senator Stern has consistently shown courage advocating for the needs of constituents and facing down corporate lobbyists and interest groups that exploit Californians.

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

Last updated: 2020-02-28

Statewide Ballot Measures

Proposition 13

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.

Last updated: 2020-03-02