Democratic state Assemblywoman Anna Caballero—a state Senate candidate this year—faced criticism last week after a California-based progressive advocacy group announced her inclusion in a “Hall of Shame.”
Caballero received an “F” grade in the third annual “Courage Score” report card for voting against environmental protection, criminal justice reform and gun control legislation.
The report card, which can be found at www.couragescore.org/people/anna-caballero/, claims that her votes on those issues go against the grain of regional voters in California’s 30th Assembly District, which encompasses all of San Benito County, Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Watsonville, Salinas, Soledad, Greenfield, Gonzales, and King City.
District voters approved several progressive state propositions in the 2016 General Election, including Proposition 55 (taxing wealthy to fund state education), Proposition 57 (more humane parole/juvenile bail system), Proposition 63 (expanding gun background checks), and Proposition 64 (legalizing recreational cannabis).
The group contrasted those votes to Caballero’s record of voting in the Assembly against AB7 that outlaws open carry in more public spaces, AB378 that sets new pollution limits for cap-and-trade recipients, AB423 that helps protect low-income residents from eviction, AB890 that mandates all new developments undergo environmental review, and AB1578 that protects legal cannabis users from federal agents.
“This grade is misleading and misrepresents the 30th Assembly District,” Caballero said in a statement released Tuesday. The 30th District “is the agricultural engine of the state—a rural community comprised of hardworking families—mostly farmworkers and other blue collar workers.
“Our needs are different from the needs of people who live in the coastal areas of the state and the grade assigned to me assumes a constituency with interests that fit urban coastal communities, not agricultural communities. In my rural district, families are concerned with the high cost of living, lack of affordable housing, childcare and preschool opportunities, and the need for good paying jobs,” she said in her statement. “In fact, I was recently honored as Legislator of the Year by the Rural County Representatives of California because my values are consistent with those of the rural communities I represent.
“While it is important to discuss progressive ideas, I will continue to advocate for the interests of my district and the priorities of my constituents, who continue to elect me by overwhelming majorities,” the Assemblywoman said.
Caballero terms out of the Assembly at the end of this year, and announced in late 2017 her intent to run for the state Senate’s 12th District, currently held by Republican Anthony Cannella, who also terms out this year.
“Assemblymember Caballero is part of the problem in Sacramento,” Courage Campaign Executive Director Eddie Kurtz said. “Courage Campaign will make sure her constituents know she cares more about policies favored by corporate lobbyists than about their best interests. With Washington broken and with Trump pursuing a reckless and bigoted agenda, now more than ever it is urgent that California lead the way, and people like Anna Caballero are an obstacle to that progress. Assemblymember Caballero: we’re putting you on notice.”
The report card is published by progressive advocacy group Courage Campaign in partnership with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment Action (ACCE), another state advocacy group with a focus on worker and housing justice. The report card ranks legislators on their votes and how they represented constituents against corporations. It is endorsed by such groups as California Calls, Democracy For America, Dolores Huerta Foundation, DailyKos, and California Immigrant Policy Center.
Courage Campaign plans to endorse candidates during the state primary later this year and plans to spend at least $100,000 in digital and television advertisements, mailers, and mobilization/on-the-ground actions.
“We’re taking accountability to the next level, and for the first time in our organization’s history, we will be playing in Democratic primaries using the Courage Score as our North Star,” said Kurtz.