45th 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.

Congress, 30th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

Brad Sherman photo

Builds Power
Builds Progress

Representative Brad Sherman was born and raised in Southern California and lives in Sherman Oaks, a neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley. He is the incumbent and is currently serving his twelfth term in Congress. According to campaign materials, he is running for re-election to continue providing strong progressive leadership in Congress for the labor movement, human rights, animal rights, and the environment.  

As a congressional representative, Rep. Sherman has provided leadership in areas including fiscal policy and foreign relations and was among the first legislators to call for impeachment against the president in 2017 on the grounds of obstruction of justice. He is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Financial Services Committee. Prior to his election to Congress, he served on the California State Board of Equalization from 1991 to 1996. It is, however, important to note that Rep. Sherman has been called out by former aides for enabling a generally toxic workplace atmosphere, although he has not been accused of any specific abusive acts in or outside the workplace.

Rep. Sherman is being challenged by Courtney “CJ” Berina (D), Raji Rab (D), Brian Carroll (D), and Mark S. Reed (R), although none of them appear to meet our viability criteria. Despite the above concerns, Rep. Sherman stands out as the best choice because of his senior position in Congress, progressive voice, base of support in his district, and ability to successfully pass legislative reforms. 

Last updated: 2020-02-28

State Assembly, 45th District

Member of the State Assembly

Jesse Gabriel photo

Builds Power

Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel grew up in the Oak Park community in Ventura County and currently lives in the San Fernando Valley. He is the incumbent, having served as Assemblymember for the 45th District in the State Assembly since 2018. According to campaign materials, he is running for re-election to continue to advance the legislative priorities of the Democratic Caucus in the State Assembly.

Assemblymember Gabriel currently serves in the State Assembly, where he was appointed by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon to serve in the Assembly Leadership as Assistant Majority Whip. Prior to his election to the State Assembly, he worked as a constitutional rights and general litigation attorney. In this role, he sued the Trump Administration to protect Dreamers who were promised protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Assemblymember Gabriel is an advocate for stronger gun violence prevention, protection against hate crimes, and bringing jobs and innovation to the San Fernando Valley. That said, he has voted against key progressive bills on issues including criminal justice reform and worker protections.

Assemblymember Gabriel is running unopposed. Though we disagree with his stance on the issues above, his strong base of support and prominent position in the Assembly Leadership make him a strong choice in this race.

Last updated: 2020-02-29

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