Reelect State Assemblymember Marc Berman to keep AD-23 on the right track for progress.
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 23rd Assembly District includes parts of San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. Republicans typically hold this district. Of the registered voters in this district, 14% are Republican and 54% are Democrat, and the district’s demographic breakdown is 9% Latino, 26% Asian, and 2% Black. After the 2021 redistricting process, AD-23 is 2% less Democratic than it was during the 2020 general election cycle. The most recent election results show that AD-23 voted for Joe Biden for president in 2020 by 59 points and Gavin Newsom for governor in 2018 by 49 points.
Republican Assm. Jim Patterson has held the AD-23 seat since 2012. Since redistricting, Assm. Patterson is running in the newly created AD-8, which includes portions of the former AD-23. With the newly drawn AD-23 now open, there are two candidates running for the seat, including Democrat Incumbent Representative Marc Berman and Republican Tim Dec. Assm. Berman’s campaign has raised $467,000, and has received donations from police, fossil fuel, corporate PAC, and real estate interests. Dec’s campaign has raised $1,000 from a single individual donor.
Assm. Berman, an attorney, is from Palo Alto. According to campaign materials, he is running for reelection to continue to bring legislative reform to his constituents on issues related to education access and climate change. Assm. Berman has represented AD-24 since 2016, and won his 2020 reelection against Republican Peter Ohtaki by 46 points.
Assm. Berman’s priorities for AD-23 this year have included 35 bills about election protections, education, and energy and pollution. Of those, 10 have been chaptered into law, 21 are in committee, and 4 have died. He currently chairs the Business and Professions Committee, and the Subcommittee on the Master Plan for Higher Education in California. He also sits on the Governmental Organization, Insurance, and Transportation committees. He scores a Lifetime CS of 94 out of 100 on Courage Score, our annual analysis of legislators’ progressive voting records. Based on our Courage Score analysis, Assm. Berman has supported the most progressive bills that made it to a vote. That said, he failed to support AB 1505, which would empower local districts to evaluate charter-school applications based on economic-impact criteria. This is not surprising, considering he has previously accepted campaign donations from California Charter Schools Association Advocates for Great Public Schools. Additionally, Assemblymember Berman voted to support AB 1366, which would eliminate critical oversight of telecom companies. He has also accepted campaign donations from Verizon, one of the largest telecom providers, in the past.
Prior to his election to the State Assembly, Assm. Berman served as an elected member of the Palo Alto City Council, supporting significant improvements to the city’s infrastructure and public safety. Prior to his public service, he was an attorney in private practice and worked with a STEM-focused nonprofit organization, Silicon Valley Education Foundation. Assm. Berman is a longtime supporter of voting rights and reform. During law school, he worked as a summer analyst with the Voting Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and was an author of the Assembly bill that made California a permanent vote-by-mail state.
Assm. Berman’s office has been named in a workplace-harassment complaint that was made by a former staffer. The complaint alleged that a supervisor in his Los Altos office consistently made sex-based comments and advances toward female staffers, and provided preferential support to one female member of the staff. Assm. Berman made no staffing changes as a result of the complaint, and has failed to publicly work toward reforming the state legislative workplace complaint process.
Assm. Berman has the endorsement of some progressive groups in the district. Based on our analysis, Assm. Berman’s track record and policy positions demonstrate that he will continue to be a progressive champion for the constituents of AD-23, will govern effectively in the best interest of this diverse district, and should also be held accountable for any failures in leadership.