Reelect State Assemblymember James Ramos to maintain democratic leadership in AD-45.
State assemblymembers represent and advocate for the needs of their district constituents at the California State Capitol. They are responsible for creating, debating, and voting on legislation that addresses issues within their district.
The California State Assembly has 80 districts. Each represents a population of at least 465,000 Californians. Representatives are elected to the Assembly for a two-year term. Every two years, all 80 seats are subject to election. Members elected before 2012 are restricted to three two-year terms (six years) in the Assembly. Those elected in or after 2012 are allowed to serve 12 years total across both the state Senate or the Assembly. This term, Democrats currently hold a two-thirds supermajority of 56 seats in the California State Assembly, while Republicans hold 19 seats. One seat is held by an Independent and four seats are currently vacant.
California’s 45th Assembly District includes parts of San Bernardino County. Democrats typically hold this district. Of the registered voters in this district, 22% are Republican and 48% are Democrat, and the district’s demographic breakdown is 55% Latino, 5% Asian, and 16% Black. After the 2021 redistricting process, AD-45 is 13% more Democratic than it was during the 2020 general election cycle. The most recent election results show that AD-45 voted for Joe Biden for president in 2020 by 31 points and Gavin Newsom for governor in 2018 by 28 points.
There are two candidates running for this seat: Democrat Incumbent Assemblymember James Ramos and Republican Joe Martinez. Assm. Ramos’s campaign has raised $846,000 and has received donations from police, fossil fuel, real estate, and corporate PAC interests. Martinez’s campaign has raised $5,000 and is entirely self-funded.
Assm. Ramos, a public official, has lived on the San Manuel Indian Reservation in San Bernardino all his life. He is a member of the Serrano/Cahuilla tribe and was the first Native American to be elected to the State Assembly. According to campaign materials, he is running for reelection to continue his work on a variety of initiatives, including suicide prevention and public safety funding. Prior to redistricting, Assm. Ramos represents AD-40, and won his 2020 reelection for that seat against Republican Jennifer Tullius by 16 points.
Assm. Ramos’s priorities for AD-40 this year have included 46 bills about mental health, child welfare, education, and public safety. Of these, nine have been chaptered into law, 11 have died, and most others remain in committee. He currently sits on six committees, including Budget and Governmental Organization. He serves as the chair of the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, the Select Committee on Native American Affairs, and the Select Committee on Youth Homelessness in San Bernardino County. He scores a Lifetime CS of 18 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Assm. Ramos has supported very few progressive bills that made it to a vote. This cycle, he has failed to cast a vote on legislation related to housing transparency and accountability, racial and criminal justice reform, public banking, environmental protections, and worker protections. He has also voted against bills that aimed to reduce the profiling and harassment of sex workers, decouple gang allegations from other charges at trial, and prohibite single-use packaging in retail.
Prior to his election to the State Assembly, Assm. Ramos served his community in a variety of leadership roles. He has been a member of the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors since 2012, where he has served as chair, and was a member of the San Bernardino Community College Board of Trustees. Ramos was appointed to serve on the State Native American Heritage Commission and to the State Board of Education. As a lifelong resident of the native community, he has also served as chair of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, and has been a committed steward of California’s Indian culture. He grew up in an impoverished region of San Bernardino County, and has been a longtime supporter of anti-bullying, youth mental-health support, and suicide-prevention efforts.
Assm. Ramos has the endorsement of some progressive groups in the district, including California Labor Federation. He has also received the endorsement of some elected leaders in the state, including Senator Alex Padilla and State Senator Connie Leyva. However, he has also received the endorsement of many police organizations, and has received donations from a variety of problematic funders, including Edison International, PG&E Corporation, Peace Officers Research Association of California, and California Real Estate PAC. Given his voting record and these associations, it is critical that voters continue to hold him accountable, to ensure that his legislative efforts remain in the best interests of the district and constituents. Based on our analysis, Rep. Ramos’s track record and policy positions demonstrate that he will continue to be a representative leader for the constituents of AD-45 and will govern effectively for this diverse district if he is subject to increased community accountability.