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Maria Cadenas is listed in the Progressive Voters Guide below. 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.

Maria Cadenas photo
Democrat
Maria Cadenas

Builds Power
Builds Progress
Builds Representation



Maria Cadenas was born in Mexico, and moved to California with her family when she was 11. According to campaign materials she is running for State Senate because she wants to find innovative solutions to problems that plague our communities socially and environmentally.

Cadenas currently supports families through her work with Santa Cruz Community Ventures, which provides a variety of social supports, including seeking to create a college savings account for every child born in Santa Cruz County, reducing college debt, and providing resources for immigrant families. Cadenas does this work to ensure that vulnerable members of her community have access to crucial resources. She has worked as the Associate Director of the ACLU of Wisconsin, fought to protect LGBTQ+ youth as the Executive Director of the Cream City Foundation, and supported career pipeline development through her work with Driscoll. Each of these roles have provided Cadenas with the opportunity to provide access and opportunity to underserved populations.

Cadenas is running against John Laird (D), John Nevill (D), and Vicki Nohrden (R) for this open seat. According to recent election results, Democrats usually win this seat. Cadenas is a noteworthy progressive choice because of her demonstrated interest in complex progressive issues like reducing college debt, supporting the LGBTQ+ community, and working to provide resources to immigrant families.

According to our analysis, Maria Cadenas is a strong choice for progressive leadership in office.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-27


Senate District 17th

Senate District 17th

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Congress

Depending on where you live, you may have one of the below congressional districts on your ballot.

18th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

Anna Eshoo photo
Democrat

Builds Power
Builds Progress
Builds Representation


Rep. Eshoo was born in Connecticut, and moved to California after high school. She is the incumbent, having served in Congress since 1993; after the 2012 redistricting the district was renumbered from the 14th to the 18th. Her campaign materials highlight her commitment to gun violence prevention, taking action on climate change, protecting the Affordable Care Act, ensuring net neutrality, as well as immigration reform.

In Congress Eshoo has worked to pass legislation to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions, lower prescription drug prices, and authored an op-ed with Rep. Adam Schiff on the need to reduce American dependence on drugs produced overseas. She supports universal healthcare, but has stopped short of supporting Medicare for All, citing concerns about how it would be funded. She has opposed Trump’s immigration policies, including the Muslim ban, detention centers, the border wall, separating families at the border and making it harder for immigrants to obtain public services, like food stamps. She has fought to protect net neutrality, end robocalls, and worked with Rep. Lofgren on new data and privacy protections.

Eshoo is being challenged by Rishi Kumar (D), Bob Goodwyn (L), Richard Fox (R), and Phil Reynolds (R). According to our analysis, Eshoo is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in office.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-18


19th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

Zoe Lofgren photo
Democrat

Builds Power
Builds Progress
Builds Representation



Rep. Lofgren was born and raised in the Bay Area, and attending Stanford and Santa Clara Law School. Lofgren is the incumbent, having served in the House of Representatives since 1995. According to campaign materials she is running for re-election to protect dreamers, end gun violence, protect the free and open internet, and getting dirty money out of politics.

In Congress, she helped pass the DREAM Act of 2019 (and 2010), and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act in the House. She has opposed the Trump administration's immigration policies, and has called for an end to the detention centers, and for foreign aid to end the instability in Central America that leads to people fleeing their homes. As the representative for the heart of Silicon Valley, she has been active on Internet and technology issues. She fought the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), NSA surveillance of Americans, and recently introduced the Online Privacy Act. Lofrgen has been a strong supporter of women’s rights, abortion protections, LGBTQ equity and has led the implementation of the House of Representatives' mandatory anti-harassment and anti-discrimination trainings.

Prior to her role as Congresswoman, she was an immigration lawyer, taught at Santa Clara Law School, and served as Staff Assistant to Congressman Don Edwards.

Lofgren is being challenged by Ivan Torres (D), Justin Aguilera (R), Ignacio Cruz (R), and Jason Mallory (NPP).

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

Last updated: 2020-02-17


24th Congressional District

Member of the House of Representatives

Salud Carbajal photo
Democrat

Builds Power
Builds Progress
Builds Representation



Representative Salud Carbajal, a veteran, was born in Mexico and emigrated as a child with his family to Arizona and later Oxnard, CA. After high school, Carbajal attended the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) and went on to obtain his Master's Degree in Organizational Management from the Fielding University. Carbajal spent eight years in the United States Marine Corps, including active duty during the 1991 Gulf War.

Carbajal was elected to the 24th District in 2017 after serving on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors for 12 years. According to campaign materials, he is running for reelection on a platform that promotes a robust Central Coast through investments in infrastructure and housing, renewable energy and environmental protections, and workforce development.

Salud serves on the House Committee on Armed Services, the House Committee on Agriculture, and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where he was elected to serve as the Vice Chair. As part of his commitment to renewable energy, Salud’s first act in Congress was to introduce the California Clean Coast Act, which would ban future offshore oil and gas drilling on California’s coast. He also secured $1 million for the Santa Barbara Veterans Treatment Courts and has introduced legislation to combat veteran homelessness.

Representative Carbajal is being challenged by Andy Caldwell (R), a conservative radio host, and Kenneth Young (NPP). Based on our analysis, Rep. Salud Carbajal has consistently demonstrated a commitment to progressive issues, from protecting the environment to ensuring DACA protections remain in place.

According to our analysis, Rep. Carbajal is the strongest choice for progressive leadership in this district.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-05


State Senator, 17th District

Member of the State Senate

Maria Cadenas photo
Democrat

Builds Power
Builds Progress
Builds Representation



Maria Cadenas was born in Mexico, and moved to California with her family when she was 11. According to campaign materials she is running for State Senate because she wants to find innovative solutions to problems that plague our communities socially and environmentally.

Cadenas currently supports families through her work with Santa Cruz Community Ventures, which provides a variety of social supports, including seeking to create a college savings account for every child born in Santa Cruz County, reducing college debt, and providing resources for immigrant families. Cadenas does this work to ensure that vulnerable members of her community have access to crucial resources. She has worked as the Associate Director of the ACLU of Wisconsin, fought to protect LGBTQ+ youth as the Executive Director of the Cream City Foundation, and supported career pipeline development through her work with Driscoll. Each of these roles have provided Cadenas with the opportunity to provide access and opportunity to underserved populations.

Cadenas is running against John Laird (D), John Nevill (D), and Vicki Nohrden (R) for this open seat. According to recent election results, Democrats usually win this seat. Cadenas is a noteworthy progressive choice because of her demonstrated interest in complex progressive issues like reducing college debt, supporting the LGBTQ+ community, and working to provide resources to immigrant families.

According to our analysis, Maria Cadenas is a strong choice for progressive leadership in office.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-27


John Laird photo
Democrat

Builds Power
Builds Progress
Builds Representation



John Laird is from Vallejo and is a long-time resident of Santa Cruz. According to campaign materials he is running for State Senate to build on his long history of public service and activism by providing leadership on local environmental issues and pushing for continued social reforms.

Laird has recently completed eight years of service as the California Secretary for Natural Resources, which he did because of his strong interest and experience in advocating for environmental issues. Over the course of his career, Laird has been a leading voice on environmental issues, including advocating for the establishment of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, addressing the dwindling water supply, and responding to the frequent wildfires. Prior to his Secretarial appointment, Laird served two terms as the Mayor of Santa Cruz, sat on the Santa Cruz City Council, was the Executive Director of the Santa Cruz AIDS Project, taught environmental policy at UC Santa Cruz, and held a seat in the State Assembly for three terms. Laird was prolific in the Assembly, authoring 82 bills that were signed into law.

Laird is running against Maria Cadenas (D), John Nevill (D), and Vicki Nohrden (R) for this open seat. According to recent election results, Democrats usually win this seat. Laird is a noteworthy progressive choice because of his track record of public service, and his commitment to important regional issues like environmental protections and education reform.

According to our analysis, John Laird is a strong choice for progressive leadership in office.
 

Last updated: 2020-02-27


Statewide Ballot Measures

Proposition 13

VOTE YES

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.