CA-10: On Polls and Policy

Did you hear the good news?

On Sunday, my campaign released a new poll of 400 likely 10th Congressional District special primary election voters that found our campaign holds a double digit lead over other Democratic challengers. When initially asked, 31 percent of likely voters chose me, while Senator Mark DeSaulnier, Assemblymember Joan Buchanan, and Anthony Woods received 21, 17, and 9 percent of the vote respectively. When voters were given a rundown of the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate, our lead grew to 36 percent, compared to 22, 20, and 9 percent respectively. The poll was conducted by respected California pollster Ben Tulchin. If you are interested in more information, please see our press release and Ben Tulchin’s memo. We are understandably excited by the results.

But enough about polls. In three weeks (or now for those who vote-by-mail), the people of the 10th Congressional District will face a choice. The challenges we face in Washington and in our region are as complex as they are diverse. The debates over health care, economic development, and education will shape the course of our society for decades to come, and I think I am the best candidate to fight for our side on each of these issues in Washington.

More over the flip…

I’ve seen the videos on YouTube and the blogs; I know what health care reform is up against. We need leaders in Congress who have stood strong for single-payer health care and have the pedigree to demand attention to the issue. I served eight years as California’s State Insurance Commissioner, where I was a resolute advocate for universal access, and during my time in the California legislature, more than 20 of my bills addressing the health care issues impacting California, CD 10, and the nation at large were signed into law. In Congress, I will join progressive Democrats in continuing the fight for single-payer health care. I think a robust public option is an acceptable compromise given the political realities we face, but I also believe that any health package without the public option is a wasted opportunity, and that is why I signed Dr. Howard Dean’s pledge to demand the public option.

We also need a leader in Washington who understands the importance of embracing our new green industrial revolution. I talked about the subject last week at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at UC San Diego, and I would encourage you to read my prepared remarks here. As the chair of the California Commission for Economic Development and chair of the California State Lands Commission, I’ve worked hard to promote job-creating industries that point the way to a cleaner economy.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, UC Berkeley, and a number of community colleges or CSU campuses are either in CD-10 or employ many residents of CD-10, and these institutions lead the way in cutting edge alternative energy research, green building modernization, and other green industries. Congress will look to CD-10’s representative for guidance on these issues, and that is why we need a leader in CD-10 with a proven track record of addressing sustainability and green innovation. As a state legislator, I authored the first high speed rail bill and the first alternative energy tax credit in California. My work is directly responsible for the wind turbines that exist near Fairfield and Livermore. In Congress, I will work closely with President Barack Obama, his green jobs advisor Van Jones, and my fellow members of Congress to craft legislation that propels us to a green future. Given the harmful effects of climate change, the rapid industrialization of developing nations, and the need to create pathways out of poverty for many struggling Americans looking for long-lasting employment opportunities, this may be our most important mission for the next 20 years.

But the green economy is not possible without a renewed commitment to education at all levels. California is near the bottom in per pupil spending, and our colleges and universities have seen drastic student fee increases, course cuts, and staff reductions. If we do not invest in a generation fluent in math, science, technology, and reading skills, we will fall behind as a nation and stint our growth. As a University of California regent and California State University trustee, I have never supported an undergraduate fee increase. At CSU this upcoming academic year, budget cuts forced the system to reduce their qualified student enrollment by 45,000 students, robbing those students of their future potential and our state’s future growth.

I’ve pushed those bodies to back an oil severance charge to help reduce the cuts to higher education. When the state is suffering and students are being denied admission, why should we allow the oil companies to extract our oil for free? In Congress, I will fight for federal funds to help boost career technical (vocational) education and to bring more interactive technology to the classroom. Our global competitors have already prioritized scientific and technological literacy; we must catch up.

My vision and my record are clear, and I am proud to have received endorsements from President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, General Wesley Clark, the California Teachers Association, California Nurses Association, California Labor Federation (AFL-CIO), and a number of local officials and unions. I am honored by the outpouring of support I’ve seen in my run for Congress, and our polling reflects what I already knew from the hundreds of doors I’ve knocked on and the dozens of community events I’ve attended. I am the frontrunner in this race, because the voters believe I am ready to bring a powerful voice to Washington on the issues that matter most to our health and future economic prosperity. If you support my campaign, thank you. If you’ve volunteered for us, thank you even more. If you would like more information, please visit our website at As the only candidate who has represented all corners of the 10th Congressional District, I look forward to continuing my public service in Congress, working with you to fight for a brighter future.