California’s Largest Progressive Organization Unveils New Report Card Holding CA Legislators Accountable to their Constituents
CALIFORNIA -- Today, Courage California (formerly Courage Campaign), the largest progressive organization in California, in partnership with Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Action and Indivisible CA: StateStrong, announced the release of its fifth annual Courage Score at a press conference at the State Capitol in Sacramento. Courage Score is an annual report card that grades California state legislators on how courageously they have represented their constituents against the corporations that seek to exploit them.
Legislators were evaluated on how they voted on 60 bills from the 2019 session -- selected based on a survey of 105 progressive ally organizations -- and the extent to which the legislator’s voting record is an accurate reflection of the values of their constituents. Representatives who received a grade of D or F and objectively voted in ways that did not reflect their constituent’s values are featured in the Courage Score “Hall of Shame,” whereas those who prioritized the values of their progressive constituents are named to the Courage Score “All-Star” team.
SEE THE 2020 COURAGE SCORE REPORT CARD HERE: CourageScore.org
Courage Score allows Californians to see their state representatives’ “Courage Score” on a scale of 0-100, along with a corresponding letter grade. The Courage Score is a rating of each legislator’s willingness to stand up for their constituents against corporate lobbyists and campaign contributors that continue to corrupt our democracy.
Courage Score helped inform Courage California’s first candidate endorsements of the 2020 cycle, as the organization backed four progressive women of color challenging corporate-friendly incumbents in races across the state. This includes endorsing primary challengers to two Democratic legislators who have been featured in the Hall of Shame for all five years of its existence: Asm. Jim Cooper and Sen. Steve Glazer. It also includes endorsing Sen. Holly Mitchell -- a five-time All-Star -- for LA Board of Supervisors. Courage Score will also inform Courage California’s state-wide Progressive Voter Guide, which the group will release on February 3rd.
Eddie Kurtz, executive director of Courage California, explained:
“For far too long, Californians have suffered under skyrocketing housing costs, a failing health care system, a broken criminal justice system, and a deeply underfunded education system. That’s why voters made California a one-party state with a legislative supermajority: they had faith that Democrats would have the courage to stand up to corporate lobbyists and find solutions to our most critical problems. It’s time for Democrats to deliver.
“Legislators must truly represent the values of Californians, and take action to make real, bold progress on the array of challenges our state faces. Courage California will continue to call out state leaders when they vote to appease their corporate benefactors -- and we’re happy to name names. We’ll also be sure to highlight those who are courageously fighting for what is right, despite the vast array of well-funded interests working against them.”
HALL OF SHAME: The report card features a “Hall of Shame” for members of the California Legislature who are most out of step with their constituents, and most closely aligned with the corporate lobbyists and campaign contributors that exploit Californians. They received a “D” or “F” grade and represent a district where constituents objectively support progressive solutions to challenges that face California. The 2020 Hall of Shame includes:
- Senator Bob Archuleta (D-32)
- Senator Susan Rubio (D-22)
- Senator Steve Glazer (D-7)
- Senator Bill Dodd (D-3)
- Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D-70)
- Assemblymember Timothy Grayson (D-14)
- Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-52)
- Assemblymember Blanca Rubio (D-48)
- Assemblymember Tom Daly (D-69)
- Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-9)
- Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-11)
- Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-32)
COURAGE SCORE ALL-STARS: Members of the CA Legislature who scored from 97-100 include:
- Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-7)
- Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-15)
- Assemblymember David Chiu (D-17)
- Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-18)
- Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-19)
- Assemblymember Kansen Chu (D-25)
- Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-27)
- Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-29)
- Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-41)
- Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-43)
- Assemblymember Elosie Reyes (D-47)
- Assemblymember Anthony Rendon (D-63)
- Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-78)
- Senator Nancy Skinner (D-9)
- Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-10)
- Senator Jim Beall Jr. (D-15)
- Senator Bill Monning (D-17)
- Senator Connie Leyva (D-20)
- Senator Maria Durazo (D-24)
- Senator Holly Mitchell (D-30)
- Lena Gonzalez (D-33)
“Struggling communities across California who do not have professional lobbyists spending their days the halls of Sacramento count on lawmakers to do what is in their best interest, especially when they have elected representatives they believe will represent their racial and economic realities. It is their right to know when their representatives are standing up for them in the face of corporate interests or if they are voting in line with those corporate interests and wealthy power-players, whose policy agenda is harming them, ” said Christina Livingston, Executive Director of ACCE Action. “Courage Score exposes legislators who are voting against the interest and will of their constituents, and we will use that information as we talk to our communities throughout the year about what is at stake across California.”
“Grassroots Indivisible groups across the state know that being a Democrat in California isn’t enough -- we know that special interest money can fill the pockets of our friends in the Legislature and undermine their will to take courageous votes to stand up for the people of California,” said Dennessa Atiles, Indivisible CA: StateStrong and State & Local Policy Manager at Indivisible Project. “Our statewide coalition, Indivisible CA: StateStrong, aims to empower California constituents to make their voices heard by their elected officials in Sacramento, and Courage Score is the perfect tool for holding state legislators accountable. Indivisibles are looking forward to thanking their All-Star legislators for voting like progressive champions and calling out the Hall of Shamers for voting against our progressive values this week. We’ll use the score to send the message loud and clear that we expect them to vote in the best interest of their constituents, not corporate special interests.”
For the fifth year in a row, Courage California is the only progressive organization that has tracked and rated legislators across a broad range of issue areas: from criminal and racial justice, to consumer protection, immigration, economic justice, gun violence prevention, gender equality, health, housing, LGBTQ rights, workers’ rights, environmental justice, and environmental protection and more. The report card is endorsed by 17 organizations, including the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), Bay Rising Action, Black Women for Wellness, CA Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC), CA Reinvestment Coalition, CAUSE, Communities for a New CA (CNC), Color of Change, Consumer Attorneys, COPE, Inner City Struggle, RootsAction.org, SameSide, Student Debt Crisis, Universal Income Project, UPTE CWA 9119, and Working Partnerships USA.
A full list of the bills used to calculate the 2020 Courage Score report card can be found here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1DiJWPG8ldWQ3B3bN0lnAZ8QCDygWHKNEvgdnxn9Qkg4/edit?usp=sharing
Courage California, formerly Courage Campaign, works to unite communities organizing for progressive change, fight the forces of corruption, and hold our representatives to account in order to ensure that California’s elected officials act with courage. Our community of 1.4 million members envision California as a model of progressive, equitable, and truly representative democracy that sets the standard for our country.
CourageScore.org allows Californians to see their state representatives’ “Courage Score” on a scale of 0-100, along with a corresponding letter grade. Legislators were evaluated on how they voted on critical progressive priority legislation, across a multitude of issues and the extent to which elected officials accurately reflected the values of their constituents. The Courage Score is a rating of each legislator’s willingness to stand up for their constituents against corporate lobbyists and campaign contributors that continue to dominate California politics.