Why Tuesday’s Special Election Matters

California is in crisis. It’s time for change. The problems are obvious. The political gridlock in Sacramento the last year has made our state government a national embarrassment. We need reform.

On Tuesday, June 22, we have the change to bring change home to California in the special election in the 15th State Senate District.

That’s why I’m running for the seat formerly held by Republican Abel Maldonado in the California State Senate. The 15th District is a deeply gerrymandered district that runs from Santa Maria in Santa Barbara County through San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties to the City of Saratoga on the western outskirts of San Jose in Santa Clara County.

I’m a Democrat who represented a large portion of the 15th District in the State Assembly from 2002 to 2008, and I have a record of standing up for my principles. During my time there, I led our fight for fair budgets, protection for our environment, investment in education and equality for all Californians.

My opponent, Sam Blakeslee, is the Assemblymember who led the Republican caucus during the gridlock of the past year. He voted for offshore oil drilling and for massive cuts to public school funding. Last year, when bills were signed to promote equity for women in health insurance and Harvey Milk Day, he called those bills “noxious.” That’s not the kind of leadership California needs in this time of crisis.

Blakeslee, who used to be an executive at Exxon, has been the beneficiary of over $1 million in corporate-funded attack ads targeting me. These misleading ads are funded by some of California’s biggest corporations, who are trying to buy this election on behalf of my opponent, Sam Blakeslee.

One of those donors is BP – yes, that BP. BP and ExxonMobile have given directly to Mr. Blakeslee’s legislative campaigns for years and they, along with Shell Oil, also are funders of the so-called “Civil Justice Association of California,” which has spent more than $100,000 in attack ads against John Laird laundered through it’s newly formed PAC, the “Senior Advocates League PAC.” Other major donors include big tobacco company Phillip Morris, big insurance company Anthem Blue Cross, and big oil company Chevron.

If these big corporations are spending this much money against me, it means I’m doing something right.

If I’m elected, and if we elect Anna Caballero to the State Senate in the 12th District this fall, there will be a 2/3rds majority in the Senate. That means a minority will no longer be able to rigidly block the majority’s efforts to solve the state’s budget crisis, and we’ll finally be able to create jobs, protect our environment and invest in public education.

My candidacy has generated widespread public support. I’ve been endorsed by a wide range of organizations, including the California Teachers Association, the California League of Conservation Voters, the California Nurses Association, CDF Firefighters, San Jose Police Officers’ Association, and many others. Most newspapers in the district have endorsed me as well. Here’s what the San Jose Mercury News had to say in their endorsement:

John Laird is not just the best candidate, he is also a truly excellent candidate. Voters in District 15, which runs from Santa Barbara County up the coast to Santa Cruz and into Santa Clara County, will do the whole state a huge favor by returning Laird to Sacramento.

Laird is a rare politician. In two terms in the Assembly, he stood out for his intelligence, creativity and ability to work across the aisle – which may be why he was scored as the most effective legislator from this region in a 2007 Mercury News analysis. That, and his reputation as an incredibly hard worker. He earned top ratings from youth advocates, senior advocates, conservationists – an amazing range of public interests.

I can’t win this without you. The other side will try to outspend us to block reform. Because of the governor’s backroom decision to hold the special election on June 22, many voters will be left out of the process unless we can mobilize them to participate in this important vote. That’s why I need your help.

If you can make it to the 15th District this weekend, we’d love to have you help us get out the vote. Click here to find a campaign office nearest you.

If you can’t get to the district, you can sign up to virtual phonebank by clicking here.

And if you’re unable to do either of those things, you can donate to the campaign.

Thank you for your support. With your help I can bring change to California.

One thought on “Why Tuesday’s Special Election Matters”

  1. I live in the Assembly district John Laird represented. Every time I’d get an email from a group I belong to, saying, “Contact your assemblymember and ask them to…” I’d ignore it. I knew John would vote to protect citizens, workers, schools and other state services–and our environment. And I was always right.

    He authored landmark bills, got them through a divided Assembly, and got the governator to sign them. As chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, he brought in the only on-time, balanced budget California has seen in years and years.

    The big corporations are terrified because, as part of a 2/3 majority, John could and would fight to roll back the big tax breaks the GOP has won for them. Blakeslee brags that offshore drilling would bring $1 million in revenues to the state. This won’t offset the $2.5 BILLION in corporate tax cuts Big Oil Blakeslee helped ram through in the last budget. (After John was termed out and no longer there to fight such extortion tactics on behalf of big business.)

    Trust me, this is a guy you want in the Senate. He may look like the guy who got sand kicked in his face at the beach. But he’s made of sterner stuff than a lot of the people in Sacramento.

    Work for him. Vote for him. Do whatever you can. But get John Laird elected. You’ll be glad you did.  

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