Last week, OurWeekly endorsed Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37) for mayor of the City of Los Angeles, due to her qualifications as a community organizer, state legislator, member of the U.S. House of Representatives and former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
The Voter Guide pullout is featured on page 9 in this week’s edition so that readers can take the page with them to the polls on June 7. There are many candidates on Tuesday’s ballot and OurWeekly (OW) is endorsing a number of them.
Sen. Alex Padilla supports changes at the federal level, including getting rid of the filibuster and putting a comprehensive gun safety package and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act on the floor of the Senate and getting it passed.
The office of US Senate has two separate contests on Tuesday’s ballot. One contest is the regular election for the full six-year term beginning Jan. 3, 2023. The other contest is a special vacancy election, to complete the unexpired Senate term of Vice President Kamala Harris.
OW endorses Padilla, who was chosen by Gov. Gavin Newsom to replace Harris and is competing in both contests. In the full-term contest, he faces 22 opponents. And in the special vacancy contest he has seven opponents.
U.S. House of Representatives
State Sen. Sydney Kamlager is running for the 37th District seat in the US House of Representatives and has been endorsed by OW and Rep. Karen Bass, who currently is seated there, while she runs for mayor of Los Angeles.
“The issue of protecting our personal rights to choose, to marry who we want, and to vote freely is fuel for me,” Kamlager has said. “California is a Reproductive Freedom State. Now we must strategize on how to share this playbook with other states.”
Kamlager has also received support from Gavin Newsom, Alex Padilla, California Secretary of State Shirley Weber, Board of Supervisors Chair Holly Mitchell and the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee (CBCPAC).
“The CBCPAC is proud to endorse California State Senator Sydney Kamlager for Congress. She has long championed the needs and interests of our communities. Her passion to protect voter rights and reproductive freedom, as well as improve the economic health of our country, will benefit all Americans,” said Rep. Greg Meeks (D-NY), chair of the CBCPAC. “Sydney will be an important voice in the next Congress and we look forward to working with her as a colleague.”
Kamlager made several statements in emails following the recent Texas massacre.
“I am sad, furious, sickened and determined to do all I can. I voted on bills yesterday to confront this gun violence epidemic and I will continue the fight in Washington,” she wrote. “The chokehold of the gun lobby must end! The financing of gun manufacturers must end! The stigmatization of mental health must end! The condoning of White supremacist hate for ‘other’ must end! And we have the power and sense of urgency to make the change.”
Governor of California
The same week of the Texas mass shooting, Newsom announced efforts to expedite legislation to protect communities from gun violence. New California gun law bills could be signed soon. At least 12 new gun laws are expected, including one which would allow private citizens to sue manufacturers, sellers and distributors of assault weapons, ghost guns and certain other firearms.
OW endorses Newsom, who first gained national recognition as a chief early advocate for marriage equality, gun control, and marijuana decriminalization. He assumed the office of governor in 2019. His current term ends Jan. 2, 2023. A recall election seeking to remove Newsom from office failed on Sept. 14, 2021.
He served as lieutenant governor of California from 2011 to 2019. Before becoming lieutenant governor, Newsom served as mayor of San Francisco from 2004 to 2010. He was a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 1997 to 2004 and sat on the city’s Parking and Traffic Commission from 1996 to 1997.
“California continues to lead the nation’s economic recovery, getting more people back to work and off the unemployment rolls than the rest of the country,” Newsom said. “But we know more work is needed to bolster the economy and help offset higher costs that families are dealing with right now — California’s record $97.5 billion surplus is going right back into Californians’ pockets and addressing our state’s most existential challenges, fostering growth and opportunity for all.”
Isaac G. Byran is on the ballot to keep his seat as the state assembly representative for the 55th District. He has OW’s endorsement.
In April, Bryan joined some of California’s top legislative leaders and some of the state’s leading criminal justice reform advocates in calling for immediate and substantial investments in crime prevention and healing services for crime victims at a press conference on the steps of the California State Library and Courts building. They urged that more than $3 billion of investments be made to rapidly expand crime prevention programs in cities up and down the state and provide immediate cash assistance to victims.
Secretary of State
Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 3121 into law in 2020. California Secretary of State Shirley Weber authored the legislation establishing the Task Force to study and develop reparations proposal for African-Americans when she was a member of the State Legislature.
The committee is charged with studying slavery and its lingering effects on African- Americans with a “special consideration” for descendants of persons enslaved in the United States, the bill language instructs.
AB 3121 also requires members to recommend what compensation should be, who should receive it, and how it should be paid.
Weber is endorsed by OW. Before her appointment, Weber served four terms as an Assemblymember representing California’s 79th Assembly District in San Diego.
She is committed to making California the national leader in running inclusive, trustworthy, and transparent elections—expanding the franchise to more of our citizens, ensuring election security and empowering voters to make informed decisions.
State Controller Betty Yee is termed out this year. Among six candidates running to replace her is OW endorsement Malia Cohen, the first African-American woman to serve on the board of Equalization. Cohen wants to make sure the tax code is fair, that people understand tax incentives are out there to benefit the working class.
“I am running because I am committed to equity, empowerment, hope and opportunity for all Californians,” Cohen told California Black Media.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
There are six candidates running to replace incumbent Tony Thurmond as State Superintendent of Public Instruction. OW endorses his candidacy. As the chief of K-12 education in the state, Thurmond was instrumental in marshaling the efforts of the Department of Education to help school districts deal with systemic inequities that the pandemic revealed. He is running to achieve his vision by 2026.
Recently, the Assembly Education Committee approved legislation that would require California’s Superintendent of Public Instruction to identify –- and provide targeted funding for –- the lowest-performing pupil subgroup in the state.
AB 2774 also requires school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education (COE) to be held accountable to provide additional services and improve academic performance.
“This legislation would ensure that students who consistently test at the lowest levels within the state receive additional supplemental funding to provide resources to increase their academic performance and close the achievement gap,” Thurmond said. “Now is the time to fix this inequity and ensure that all students who need additional funding and supports to succeed academically are given this opportunity. I place equity and opportunity for all our students at the center of my agenda.”
OW endorses Vinson Eugene Allen, a medical doctor and businessman running as a Democrat. Allen says, “I will personally address consumer issues and work with insurance carriers for a fair solution to disputes.”
Los Angeles City Council
Curren Price is on the ballot to keep his seat as representative of Council District 9, to which he was elected in 2013 and re-elected in 2017. The district stretches from the LA Convention Center and the LA Live Complex at the northern edge to the historic communities of Vermont Square to the West, the Central-Alameda Corridor to the East and Green Meadows to the South.
OW endorses Price, who attended Morningside High School and in 1967 became the first African-American to be elected as the school’s student body president.
Prior to his election to the Inglewood City Council in 1993, Price started a small business (PDQ Printers) and served as a consultant with the Small Business Administration. He went on to serve in the California State Legislature as an Assemblymember in 2006 and Chaired the Assembly Committee on Elections and Redistricting, and he also chaired the powerful Committee on Governmental Organization. In 2009, as a State Senator, he chaired the Business and Professions Committee and was chosen by his colleagues to lead the California Legislative Black Caucus as Chair in 2010. See voter guide pullout on page 9.