2016 CAOC Election HQ

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CAOC Endorsed Candidates

Assembly District 14Mae Torlakson

A longtime advocate for community parks and open space, Mae is serving her third term on the board of the Ambrose Recreation and Park District, which provides recreation services to 23,000 residents.  Mae has long been active in Asian and Pacific Islander community organizations, including the Filipina Women’s Network. The first Filipina elected to state or local government office in Contra Costa County, she was named one of the 100 most influential Filipinas in the U.S. She was recently endorsed by the East Bay Times.

Assembly District 16Cheryl Cook-Kallio

Cheryl Cook-Kallio is a respected Pleasanton City council member, former teacher and tireless community activist.  She spent 39 years fighting to enhance public education, increase affordable housing options, improve streets and roads, and bolster community safety. Cheryl has a passion for civil justice and is an advisor at former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s Civics Foundation. This seat, currently held by a Republican tort reform advocate, is a top priority for the Assembly Dem Caucus.  


Assembly District 24 – Vicki Veenker

The Mountainview Voice says Veenker’s “well-honed advocacy and negotiating skills and a passion for public policy and social justice” make her the best candidate for this Silicon Valley Assembly seat.  We agree.  Veenker is an attorney who has served as president and board member at the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, helped to establish the Women’s Professional Soccer League, and helped lead multiple volunteer efforts all while raising two daughters and practicing patent law.  The Georgetown grad is a dynamo who is dedicated to the environment and social justice.  She’s also honest and courageous.  Veenker found herself on the medical industrial complex’s hit list when she suggested that the more than 40 year old law MICRA should be reconsidered..We are honored to support Ms. Veenker and look forward to her fresh perspective and passion in Sacramento.


Assembly District 27 Ash Kalra

Ash Kalra is an attorney who served as a public defender for 11 years prior to his election to the San Jose City Council. While on the council, Ash has consistently remained a voice for workers, the environment and the disadvantaged.  One of Ash’s first mentors was CAOC member Mohinder Mann. Ash earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a Law Degree from Georgetown University. He will bring his keen sense of justice and tenacious spirit to fight for civil justice in Sacramento.

Assembly District 30 Karina Cervantez-Alejo

Karina Alejo’s priority is to continue to create good paying jobs in California and confront the income inequality gap. In order to accomplish this, she believes it is critical that California establishes a more accessible, world-class education system that helps ensure a strong, educated workforce. In the Legislature, she plans to work hard to increase access to higher education and to make it more affordable for working families. She is a strong believer in the power of the civil justice system to represent the underdog..

Assembly District 37Monique Limon

Monique Limón is serving her second-term as Santa Barbara Unified School Board Member.  Monique also serves as Assistant Director for the McNair Scholars Program at UC Santa Barbara. Her experience as a local elected leader and as an educator combined with her proven ability to build coalitions make Monique a formidable candidate. She is supported by Senator Hannah Beth Jackson and Assembly Member Das Williams; we believe she will continue their strong records in the Assembly.

Assembly District 39Patty Lopez

Patty López’s extensive education advocacy work led her to a successful bid for the 39th District seat of the California State Assembly in 2014.  Since her election, she has faithfully represented the cities of the Northeast San Fernando Valley. She works tirelessly for her constituents with local outreach efforts and groundbreaking legislation. She is staunchly committed to protecting the rights of women, children, seniors and veterans. Assembly Member Lopez has a 100% voting record on CAOC issues. 

Assembly District 40 – Abigail Medina

Abigail Medina's passion for educational opportunities, economic dignity and prosperity, environmental sustainability and the overall quality of life of our community, along with the overwhelming support of residents, inspired her to run for Assembly. She has been an effective parent leader and advocate in education. She has also worked through Health Advocates to help patients with disabilities, seniors, veterans, and victims of crime to apply for essential health services and resources to assist in their medical needs. 

Assembly District 42Greg Rodriguez

A California native, Greg Rodriguez is only the third person in his family to earn a college degree. Since 2013 he has served as District Director for Congressman Raul Ruiz, developing a staff that delivers unparalleled constituent services in the 36th Congressional District.  Greg is an activist on issues such as AIDs and developmental disabilities. Longtime CAOC Board member Walter Clark introduced Rodriquez to CAOC. We are proud to endorse him in his race against Republican Chad Mayes, a consistent voice against CAOC issues.  

Assembly District 43 – Laura Friedman (Dual) 

Laura Friedman is Mike Gatto’s endorsed candidate to replace him in the California State Assembly. Laura currently serves on the Glendale City Council.  She has an extraordinary record of leadership as a local elected official, neighborhood advocate, community volunteer, and as a small business owner.  She is a fierce advocate for the environment. Her innate sense of justice aligns her strongly in favor of civil justice protections.

Assembly District 43 – Ardy Kassakhian (Dual) 

Ardy Kassakhian‘s priorities will be building a growing economy, strong public schools, and safe and healthy neighborhoods. As the son of immigrants, Ardy wants every Californian to have the same opportunity to reach for the American Dream that his family had. Building on his experience as Glendale’s chief elections officer, he will work to increase voter turnout and give voters more information about who is funding campaigns.

Assembly District 47 – Eloise Gomez-Reyes

Eloise Reyes is a pioneer, the first Latina to open her own law firm in the Inland Empire. In 2013, Eloise helped neighbors stop a planned toxic waste dump in their Colton neighborhood. She has been honored by awards from the California Bar, the League of Women Voters and other groups. She has volunteered to provide legal care and consistently fought for workers and their civil rights. She is running against incumbent Assembly Member Cheryl Brown, a consistent vote against CAOC issues. By challenging an incumbent, Eloise is sending a loud message to those who favor corporations over people.

Assembly District 65 – Sharon Quirk-Silva

Former Assembly Member Sharon Quirk Silva surprised a lot of people when she upset a Republican incumbent Assembly Member, John Norby. But anyone who knows Sharon should be surprised. She is a teacher, and a disciplined one. She works incredibly hard and knows the people of this Orange County district. During her 2014 reelection effort, low Democratic turnout cost Sharon her seat. But she is back and looks very good to regain her spot in the Legislature. She has become a wonderful friend to CAOC and we look forward to her return.

Assembly District 66 Al Muratsuchi

Al Muratsuchi fell victim to the historic low Democratic voter turnout in 2014 and lost his South Bay assembly seat to a well-funded Republican attack. Now, however, Al is well-positioned to return to Sacramento. An attorney, Al serves as a prosecutor and Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice. Prior to capturing a legislative seat, he served as a Torrance School Board member. We are looking forward to an opportunity to work with Al again in Sacramento. 

Assembly District 78 Todd Gloria

Democrat and San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria was first elected to the San Diego City Council in 2008 and served as its president in 2013 and 2014. Gloria also served as interim mayor from August 2013 until March of 2014 after the resignation of Bob Filner. Before joining the council, Gloria interned for then-First Lady Hillary Clinton and later served as the district director for Rep. Susan Davis. Gloria has also worked for the County of San Diego’s Health and Human Services Agency. Todd also is a former fraternity brother of CAOC executive committee member Casey Johnson. We are excited to work with Todd in Sacramento.

Senate District 3 – Assembly Member Bill Dodd (Dual) 

Bill Dodd currently serves the people of District 4 in the California State Assembly. During his public service Bill has led the way on legislation to deal with gender pay equity, worked to designate the Berryessa Snow Mountain area as a national monument, co-wrote the law creating an Earned Income Tax Credit in California, and helped secure $400 million dollars for career technical education throughout the state. Prior to the Assembly, Bill served on the Napa County Board of Supervisors for 14 years.

Senate District 9Nancy Skinner  

Nancy Skinner served in the Assembly from 2008 to 2014 and is now running to succeed Loni Hancock in the Senate. Skinner will continue Hancock’s progressive leadership and will bring her own brand of political activism to the role. In the Assembly, she amassed a near-perfect record on CAOC-backed legislation and was one of the few lawmakers to publicly support ending the injustice of MICRA.  


Senate District 15Jim Beall

In the State Senate, Jim has worked tirelessly to improve regional transportation, increase educational funding and support foster youth. As chair of the Senate Transportation committee, Jim brought Republicans to the table to address the $59 billion backlog in deferred maintenance for roads. He authored bills allowing foster youth to stay with their families through their college years, to improve California’s air quality, provide long-term cap-and-trade funding for projects like BART to San Jose, and to protect foster care youth from psychotropic drugs. Jim has a 100% voting record on civil justice issues and carried a CAOC-backed bill legislation to extend the statute of limitations for childhood sex abuse victims.  

Senate District 21Johnathon Ervin

Johnathon Ervin is a senior field engineer with Raytheon, a former member of the Lancaster Planning Commission and the Muroc Joint Unified School District. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at 19 and is an Iraq War veteran in his 18th year of service. Ervin also serves as a defense and green energy expert with the Truman National Security Project. He is the first African American ever in the leadership of the Veteran’s Caucus of the California Democratic Party. He also is president of the largest Democratic Party organization in the Antelope Valley. 

Senate District 25Anthony Portantino

Anthony Portantino is a former Assembly member, serving from 2006 until he was term limited in 2012. Before arriving in Sacramento, Portantino served on the La Canada Flintridge City Council. In the Assembly, Portantino accrued a 96.88% voting record on CAOC sponsored legislation. Portantino has the endorsement of the California Democratic Party and Los Angeles County Labor Federation. He holds a significant advantage in money and endorsements over his rivals. Portantino is a visiting fellow teaching Values Based Political Leadership at USC.  

Senate District 27 – Henry Stern

Henry Stern is an attorney and currently works as a senior policy advisor to Senator Fran Pavley.  As Pavely’s endorsed successor, Henry pledges to continue fighting to create more resilient infrastructure, make our neighborhoods safer, ensure that our kids are better educated than we were, and build a more competitive, creative economy that plays to California's strengths, from entertainment and life sciences, to aerospace and clean technology.  As an attorney, Henry will be a strong voice for the civil justice system.  

Senate District 29Josh Newman  

Democrat Josh Newman, who is backed by CAOC, faces Republican Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang in a race that will be decided by undecided voters in this district straddling LA and Orange counties. Democrats have less than a 1-point edge in registration. Newman is garnering heavy backing from the party. An Army veteran and Yale graduate, Newman is founder and executive director of a nonprofit that assists young veterans make the transition from military to civilian jobs.  

Senate District 35Steve Bradford  

In 2009 Steve Bradford was elected to the California Assembly, where he working to correct the many institutional injustices that plague young black, Latino and Asian/Pacific Islanders. He authored legislation to correct one of the longtime injustices in the Underinsured Motorist code, which results in policyholders failing to get what they pay for in their policy. He introduced the legislation twice, and never shrank from the fight against the industry-dominated Insurance Committee. Steve remains determined to address major issues like social and economic inequality and environmental protections.