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As The Democratic Supermajority Begins Its Work, Courage Campaign Rolls Out Courage Score to Hold CA Legislators Accountable

2019 Courage Score Features More Democrats in Its “Hall of Shame” Than Ever Before

CALIFORNIA — Today, Courage Campaign, the largest progressive group in California, in partnership with Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) and Indivisible California: State Strong,released its fourth annual Courage Score, a report card that grades California state legislators on how courageously they have represented their constituents against the corporations that seek to exploit them. Legislators were evaluated on how they voted on critical statewide bills and the extent to which elected officials accurately reflected the values of their constituents. Those members who do not reflect those values are featured in the Courage Score “Hall of Shame,” whereas those who scored top marks are named as “Courage Score All-Stars.”  


Following Courage Campaign’s release of last year’s Courage Score, two of its Hall of Shamers, Republicans Senator Janet Nguyen and Assemblymember Catharine Baker, went on to lose their elections in November 2018 to Democratic candidates. Since Courage Score was first released in 2016, Democrats have picked up 11 seats in the state legislature. allows Californians to see their state representatives’ “Courage Score” on a scale of 0-100, along with a corresponding letter grade. The Courage Score is a rating of each legislator’s willingness to stand up for their constituents against corporate benefactors and wealthy corporate interests that continue to dominate California politics.

With a Democratic, veto-proof supermajority in California, and a new Governor who ran his campaign on the promise of progressive solutions for California, this year’s Hall of Shame features more Democrats than ever before. Courage Campaign will continue to play in state elections using Courage Score as a marker to determine which members are representing their constituents appropriately and which ones are merely doing the bidding of corporate donors and their lobbyists. 

Eddie Kurtz, executive director of the California-based Courage Campaign, explained: 

“Voters made California a one-party state because they had faith that Democrats would find solutions to our most intractable problems, and now is the time for Democrats in Sacramento to deliver. Legislators must work to make real, bold progress on the array of challenges our state faces — from skyrocketing housing costs, a health care system that still puts profits over patients even while access has improved, a broken criminal justice system that over-emphasizes incarceration, and a deeply underfunded education system, both in K-12 and higher education. If they don’t, they can count on Courage Campaign holding them accountable and making their complicity known to voters.

“It’s easy for politicians to say they’ll stand up for the people. But talk is cheap. When they’re called on to cast tough votes on our state’s toughest issues, we expect Democrats to have the political courage to stand up to corporate lobbyists.  

“Our challenges are great, but the opportunity for a more progressive, inclusive, and equitable California is greater. To meet this moment, Courage Campaign is putting a clear line in the sand and using Courage Score as our North Star in determining who is and is not willing to stand up to monied interests and the status quo. Our message is clear: we’re watching, scoring, and telling the world all about it.”

For the fourth year in a row, Courage Campaign is the only progressive organization that has tracked and rated legislators across a broad range of issue areas: from criminal and racial justice, to consumer protection, immigration, economic justice, gun violence prevention, gender equality, health, housing, LGBTQ rights,  workers’ rights, environmental justice, and environmental protection and more. The report card is endorsed by over 19 organizations, including CREDO Action, Color of Change, SameSide, Bay Rising, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE), Communities for a New California (CNC), Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (COPE), Californians United for a Responsible Budget  (CURB), UPTE-CWA Local 9119, Dolores Huerta Foundation (DHF), California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC), Inner City Struggle, Oakland Rising, Organize Sacramento,, Student Debt Crisis, Universal Income Project, and Democracy for America (DFA).

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 and wealthy special interests that exploit Californians. They received a “D” or “F” grade and represent a district where constituents clearly support progressive solutions to challenges that face California. The 2019 Hall of Shame includes:

  • Senator Steve Glazer (D-7) 
  • Senator Ben Hueso (D-40)
  • Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-4)
  • Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-64)
  • Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-9)
  • Assemblymember Timothy Grayson (D-14)
  • Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D-70)
  • Assemblymember Tom Daly (D-69)
  • Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-11)

COURAGE SCORE ALL-STARS: Members of the CA Legislature who scored an A+ during the legislative sessions include:

  • Senator Mike McGuire
  • Senator Bill Monning
  • Senator Hannah-Beth Johnson
  • Senator Holly Mitchell
  • Senator Ricardo Lara
  • Senator Toni Atkins
  • Assemblymember Mark Stone
  • Assemblymember Ash Kalra
  • Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer Sr.
  • Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo
  • Assemblymember Kevin McCarty
  • Assemblymember Eloise Reyes
  • Assemblymember Rob Bonta
  • Assemblymember Richard Bloom
  • Assemblymember Laura Friedman
  • Assemblymember Monique Limon
  • Assemblymember Anthony Rendon
  • Assemblymember Kansen Chu 

“Struggling communities across California who do not have lobbyists swarming the halls of Sacramento count on lawmakers to do what is in their best interest, and it is their right to know when their representatives are voting in line with corporate interests and wealthy power players instead of the communities they were elected to fight for,” said Christina Livingston, Executive Director of ACCE Action. “ACCE members are fed up with Corporate Democrats masquerading as progressives, while actively working to uphold systems that foster greed, criminalization, and oppression. Courage Score exposes legislators who are voting against the interest and will of their constituents, and we plan to use that information as we talk to voters about what is at stake across California.” 

“Grassroots Indivisible groups across the state know that being a Democrat in California isn’t enough — we know that special interest money can fill the pockets of our friends in the legislature and undermine their will to take courageous votes to stand up for the people of California,” said Jiggy Athilingam, Co-founder of Indivisible CA: StateStrong and State & Local Policy Manager at Indivisible Project. “Our statewide coalition, Indivisible CA: StateStrong aims to empower California constituents to make their voices heard by their elected officials in Sacramento and the Courage Score is the perfect tool for state legislator accountability. Indivisibles are looking forward to thanking their All-Star legislators for voting like progressive champions and calling out the Hall of Shamers for voting against our progressive values. We’ll use the score to send the message loud and clear that we expect them to vote in the best interest of their constituents, not corporate special interests.”

A full list of the bills used to calculate the 2019 can be found here:

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Courage California, formerly Courage Campaign, works to unite communities organizing for progressive change, fight the forces of corruption, and hold our representatives to account in order to ensure that California’s elected officials act with courage. Our community of members envision California as a model of progressive, equitable, and truly representative democracy that sets the standard for our country.


Angela Chavez