Yesterday, Courage California, the largest multi-issue progressive organization in California, was joined by Assemblymember Ash Kalra and Melissa Romero of California Environmental Voters at a press event to announce the release of its seventh annual Courage Score.
Outside of the state capitol, Courage California’s Executive Director Irene Kao, Assm. Kalra, and Romero spoke about the importance of voters being about to hold elected officials accountable, highlighting the critical role Courage Score plays in our democracy, a statewide, multi-issue annual report card that grades California state legislators on how courageously they have — or haven’t — represented their constituents against the corporations that exploit our communities.
VIEW VIDEO OF PRESS CONFERENCE: Courage Score Presser
“Californians need leaders who are willing to meet this political moment with courage – and with the support of the progressive majority of people in the state – to pass bold bills that ensure all Californians have clean air, clean water, good and affordable health care, quality education, and safe and vibrant neighborhoods,” said Irene Kao, Courage California’s Executive Director. “Courage Score plays an important role in the future of California’s legislative process, our state, and our communities, giving Californians reliable and accessible information and the tools to hold our elected officials accountable when they are not representing the people. This includes voting them out of office if necessary. We invite all Californians to use the Courage Score website to find out who your representatives are, discover how well they represent you, and take the necessary actions to hold them to account. We all deserve and demand state legislators who govern in-line with the will and values of their constituents and are willing to fight the forces of corruption.”
Courage California’s vision is for Courage Score to play an integral role in ensuring our government works for all Californians — so communities have a voice in what gets done in our state. When Californians understand how representatives vote on the issues they care about and how corporate campaign contributions can influence policymakers — constituents can better hold their legislators accountable through the Courage Score website and at the ballot box.
“The people of California deserve far greater transparency than they currently get from many of their elected officials. We elect state leaders to deliver on the important issues. We’re relying on them to invest in us and to vote with us in mind – so it’s alarming to see some state legislators publicly speak out against efforts to hold them accountable for their actions; the ones that are on record for them as an elected official, like their voting records and campaign contributions,” said Melissa Romero of California Environmental Voters. “They want us to believe that they’ve got it covered and voters have nothing to worry about. Absolutely not. We’re going to make noise when state leaders make excuses for when they can’t do the right thing. That’s why scorecards are such powerful tools. Use them as a tool to hold them accountable for their actions.”
Courage Score allows Californians to see their state representatives’ “Courage Score” on a scale of 0-100, with a corresponding letter grade, A+ to F. The Courage Score is a rating of each legislator’s willingness to stand up for people over corporate profits. An example of an All Star is Assmeblymember Ash Kalra, who has a lifetime Courage Score of 100 – spanning his entire legislative career, starting in 2017.
“Courage Campaign’s scorecard is a powerful, collaborative tool that voters, organizations, and even legislators can use to see through the haze of corporate influence and understand who is truly representing their communities,” said Assemblymember Ash Kalra. “During my time in the Legislature, I am honored to have been recognized every year as an All Star. My voting record will always put people ahead of corporate special interests and the Courage Score is a template for accountability that I so appreciate.”
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 represent a district where constituents objectively support progressive solutions to challenges that face California.
Courage Score 2021 Hall Of Shame:
- Assemblymember Jim Cooper
- Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua
- Assemblymember Tim Grayson
- Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian
- Assemblymember Tom Daly
- Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell
- Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez
- Senator Steve Glazer
ALL-STARS: Members of the CA Legislature who demonstrated courage in taking hard votes to support their communities.
Courage Score 2021 All-Stars:
- Assemblymember Kevin McCarty
- Assemblymember Buffy Wicks
- Assemblymember Phil Ting
- Assemblymember Kevin Mullin
- Assemblymember Marc Berman
- Assemblymember Luz Rivas
- Assemblymember Laura Friedman
- Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo
- Assemblymember Alex Lee
- Assemblymember Ash Kalra
- Assemblymember Miguel Santiago
- Senator Nancy Skinner
- Senator Scott Wiener
- Senator Connie Leyva
Legislators were evaluated on how they voted on 39 bills across issues from the 2021 legislative session — selected based on a survey of progressive ally organizations — and the extent to which their votes accurately reflect how their constituents have voted in recent elections. Representatives who objectively voted in ways that did not reflect their communities’ values are featured in the Courage Score “Hall of Shame,” whereas those who consistently put their communities first are named to the Courage Score “All-Star” team.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do in California, but have the power to change things, to create a better future – not just for future generations – but for us,” said Romero. “Use the Courage scorecard, make that call to your state legislators and make sure they know you’re watching.”
The report card is endorsed by:
- Universal Income Project
- Working Families Party CA
- CA Reinvestment Coalition
- Black Women for Wellness Action Project
A full list of the bills used to calculate the 2021 Courage Score report card can be found here: https://couragescore.org/bills/.
For an updated list of partner endorsers, visit: https://couragescore.org/partners/
Video of press conference is available here: Courage Score Presser