Progressive Women Positioned to Replace 9 Male Legislators in 2018 California Races

PRESS RELEASE
Contact: Close the Gap CA Executive Director Susannah Delano
June 6, 2018  –  (707) 771-0939  –  susannah@closethegapca.org

Progressive Women Positioned to Replace 9 Male Legislators in 2018 State Races 

Below the Congressional “jungle primary” canopy, a groundswell of progressive women candidates is headed straight for Sacramento.

A record 98 women competed yesterday to win a spot in November run-offs for State Legislative seats. 43 will advance. This is the largest cohort of women to do so since 2004. Close the gap CA targeted 9 winnable districts to ensure at least one progressive woman was prepared to compete:

  • SD 12- Anna Caballero
  • SD 14- Melissa Hurtado
  • SD 22- Susan Rubio
  • SD 24- Maria Elena Durazo
  • SD 32- Vanessa Delgado
  • AD 15- Buffy Wicks, Jovanka Beckles (TBD)
  • AD 16- Rebecca Bauer-Kahan
  • AD 39- Luz Rivas
  • AD 76- Tasha Boerner-Horvath, Elizabeth Warren

In all districts except SD 32, at least one progressive woman has advanced to November (listed above). Two thirds are women of color. All targeted seats, except AD 16 have most recently been held by men.

For the first time in over a decade, we are witnessing a decisive uptick in the number of women serving in the California State Legislature,” said Executive Director Susannah Delano. “Close the gap CA targets open and purple, winnable seats throughout the state—including those vacated in the wake of #MeToo allegations—recruiting progressive women and positioning them to launch competitive campaigns.”

“It’s not a coincidence that these accomplished women were ready to run successful campaigns with very short runways,” continued Delano. In the past 6 months, voters have held 5 special elections to fill legislative seats vacated by men. Progressive women have already won 3 of the 5– Assemblymembers Wendy Carrillo and Sydney Kamlager, and now Assemblymember-Elect Luz Rivas. With progressive women positioned to replace male predecessors in 6 additional districts in November, 2019 could begin with gender parity numbers approaching their highest ever in California history.

“When more progressive women serve, our state’s policies become more comprehensive and just. And our Legislature itself is challenged to do better, for every Californian,” said Delano.


Close the gap CA is a campaign to achieve gender parity in the State Legislature by 2028.  After watching women drop to just 23% of the Assembly and Senate over the past decade, we decided to do something about it: we recruit progressive women to run.
For more information, please visit closethegapca.org.

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    Not what I expected: Mike Thompson on gun violence

    By Roger Straw
    U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson – Gun Violence Prevention Task Force  mikethompson.house.gov/issues/gun-violence-prevention

    An influential Benicia resident (who wishes to remain anonymous) wrote to me on May 22, highly concerned over our Rep. Mike Thompson’s moderate statements on the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force page on his website.  Her email subject line was “Not what I expected: Mike Thompson on gun violence.”  She wrote:

    Rep. Mike Thompson, District 5, has been chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force in the US House of Representative for several years. Here is his disturbing current statement on the Task Force site: note: there are links on the site about his gun prevention plans.  From his website…

    “As a hunter and gun owner I believe we should protect a law-abiding individual’s Second Amendment right to own firearms. As a dad and grandfather I also believe that we have a responsibility to make our schools, streets and communities safe. We can do both, but Congress will need to step up.

    After being named chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force in the U.S. House of Representatives, I held a series of open town halls in our district that examined some of the actions that Congress could take. Hundreds attended these meetings. I heard views from law enforcement officials, mental health experts, school officials, NRA members and gun control advocates. Many feared that their Second Amendment rights would come under attack when my task force made its recommendations to Congress. Others wanted to cast those rights aside.

    I believe both views are too extreme. I will never give up my guns and I will never ask law-abiding Americans without a history of dangerous mental illness to give up theirs. Not only am I personally against this, the Constitution does not allow it. In District of Columbia v. Heller the Supreme Court affirmed once and for all that Americans have a right to keep and bear arms.

    However, just as the First Amendment protects free speech but doesn’t allow you to incite violence, the Second Amendment has restrictions too. As conservative justice Anthony Scalia outlined, Heller does not prohibit laws forbidding firearms in places such as schools, nor does it restrict laws prohibiting felons and the mentally ill from carrying guns.

    This ruling provides people on both sides of the issue with an opportunity to work within the confines of the Second Amendment and pass legislation that will reduce and prevent gun violence.”

    I wrote back, detailing Mike’s stated views on assault weapons: “After the Parkland FL school shooting in February … Mike held a Benicia town Hall on March 17, where he very clearly, more than once, stated that ‘military grade automatic and semi-automatic assault weapons do not belong in the hands of citizens.'” (See Mike Thompson makes news in Benicia: ‘military grade assault weapons do not belong in citizens’ hands’.)

    I wrote to Thompson’s staff, sharing our concern about the Gun Violence Prevention page on his website, and suggesting they update the page to show Mike’s evolving views on this subject.  “I hope you will pass this on to Mike and make an effort to update the website, calling for new and more stringent controls on guns, with special attention to military grade automatic and semi-automatic assault weapons.”

    I heard back that same day with a promise to pass our concern on to Mike’s communications director in Washington D.C., Alex Macfarlane.

    As of today, there have been no updates on Mike’s Gun Violence Prevention page.  Similarly, I can find no mention of assault weapons or automatic / semi-automatic weapons on Thompson’s Facebook page.  I hope to hear from his office about changes, and will report here with updates.

    Contact Rep. Mike Thompson – ask him what is his position on banning military grade automatic and semi-automatic assault weapons:

    Roger Straw
    Benicia

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