A Guide to California's Midterm Elections

For all of my fellow Californians, it’s midterm season, which means it’s time to hit the polls and vote for your local, state and federal representatives. It's important to be informed about your choices, especially the breakdown of this election’s propositions, which we all know can be confusing. Below, I will give a description of the candidates and propositions that are important for this year’s election, as well as tell you what my personal choices are.

To start, let’s go over the candidates for the United States Senate and the major cabinet positions for the California State Government.

United States Senate 

The two candidates are Dianne Feinstein and Kevin de León; both are part of the Democratic party. Dianne Feinstein, who has been a United States senator for twenty-six years, is running for re-election. Her main priorities include universal health care, ending gun violence and DACA and immigration reform. Kevin de León, a senator for the state of California, is running for the United States Senate for the first time. His main priorities include comprehensive immigration reform, Medicare for All and creating a national clean energy plan.

My choice: Dianne Feinstein is my preferred choice for this position. Senator Feinstein has effectively represented California for over two decades, and I believe she will continue to do so if she remains in office. Another consideration is how few women there are in the United States Senate. As of now, there are twenty-three female senators, and without Senator Feinstein, it is likely that the number of female senators will decrease.

Governor

The two candidates are Gavin Newsom (Democrat) and John H. Cox (Republican). Newsom’s top priorities include defending California’s values, creating California’s opportunity and building California’s Future. Cox’s top priorities include bringing down the cost of living for residents, reducing the cost of housing and improving roads and highways in an effort to make transportation easier.

My choice: Gavin Newsom is my personal choice for Governor of California, not only because he is a Democrat, but because he has experience in office. For the past eight years, Newsom has served as the Lieutenant Governor of California, and prior to this, he served as the Mayor of San Francisco from 2004 to 2011. In comparison to Cox, Newsom has first-hand experience in political office, and I believe this experience makes him a better-suited candidate. Additionally, Newsom’s top priorities are focused more on California ideals –inclusivity, climate change and gun reform. With Newsom in office, California will continue to set the standard for liberal ideals in the United States.

Lieutenant Governor

Candidates for Lieutenant Governor are Ed Hernandez and Eleni Kounalakis (both Democratic candidates). Top priorities for Ed Hernandez include creating a debt-free college education for all students, affordable and universal healthcare and protecting immigration. Eleni Kounalakis prioritizes building more affordable housing, working to lower the cost of UC and CSU tuition as well as fighting offshore drilling.

My choice: This is a tougher decision, as both of these candidates are Democratic and have similar priorities. Not to be unfeminist, but if I had to choose one specific candidate, I would choose Ed Hernandez, because he already has experience as a state senator. In this circumstance, the candidates have taken such similar stances on issues, and it might be more advantageous to have a person in office who knows how the system runs.

Secretary of State

The Secretary of State is responsible for coordinating statewide elections and overseeing election laws. The two candidates for this office are Alex Padilla (Democrat) and Mark P. Meuser (Republican). Padilla’s top priorities are protecting voting rights, supporting California jobs and small businesses and increasing campaign finance transparency. Meuser’s priorities are fixing voter registration, removing citizens who are not eligible to vote from voter lists and updating California’s business registration system.

My choice: Alex Padilla is my choice for this office, as he is already the Secretary of State, and his views align more closely with mine.

Superintendent of Public Instruction

The two candidates are Tony K. Thurmond and Marshall Tuck. Thurmand’s main priorities are fighting to keep public schools public, improving arts and music in the schools and ensuring that there are resources for STEM. Tuck’s top priorities include prioritizing educators to combat the shortage of teachers and principals, reducing the bureaucracy in schools to get more money into classrooms and creating more equity among students.

My choice: Either candidate would be appropriate for this office. My choice, however, is Tony K. Thurmond because he is more of a proponent of music and the arts, which is something near and dear to my heart. Thurmond also hopes to combat the decisions made by the federal government in respect to education in an effort to improve the public school education system and ensure an equal opportunity for all students.

Others

For Controller, Treasurer, Attorney General, and Insurance Commissioner, my choices are Betty T. Yee, Fiona Ma, Xavier Becerra, and Ricardo Lara, as these candidates are members of the Democratic party.

Propositions

Now, onto the propositions. This is how one would vote in alignment with the Democratic party:

Proposition 1: Vote “yes” on Affordable Housing Bonds.

Proposition 2: Vote “yes” on Mental Health Housing Program.

Proposition 3: Vote “no” on Water Bonds.

Proposition 4: Vote “yes” on Children’s Hospital Bonds.

Proposition 5: Vote “no” on Property Tax Rules.

Proposition 6: Vote “no” on Transportation Taxes and Fees.

Proposition 7: Vote “yes” on Daylight Saving Time.

Proposition 8: Vote “yes” on Kidney Dialysis Clinics.

Proposition 10: Vote “yes” on Local Governments and Rent Control.

Proposition 11: Vote “no” on Ambulance Employee Breaks.

Proposition 12: Vote “yes” on Farm Animal Cages.

This is personally how I will be voting in the upcoming election. If you have any other questions, I would visit votersedge.kpbs.org for a more detailed overview of the California midterm election. Can’t wait to see you on election day!