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Get out of your bubble, do your homework — and no yelling: How to survive the election

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The California Influencers Series

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California Influencers, a group of public policy and political experts, offer their views on these questions:

“What advice would you give to voters trying to make sense of all the conflicting information and accusations that will be flying around this fall? How can voters make the most informed decisions possible in this year’s elections?”

Ron George – California Supreme Court Chief Justice (1996-2011)

“The most important thing for voters to do in this fall’s election campaign is beware of “alternative facts” and assertions that “there is no truth.” As observed many years ago by U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”

Adama Iwu – Co-Founder, We Said Enough and Vice President for State Government Relations and Community Outreach, Visa

“Elections are the best and worst of times. Political ads, candidates and pundits play on our emotions while social media divides us. More than ever, we have to inform ourselves, venture outside of our bubbles and fight confirmation bias.

“Vote on issues you care about, research what candidates and parties say about them, you don’t have to vote on everything, but you do have to vote. If you don’t someone else will and it’s too important to leave to other people.”

Dorothy Rothrock – President, California Manufactuters and Technology Association

“Californians should be concerned if candidates don’t share their positions and plans to solve the pressing problems facing the state. In addition, this year voters will need to use great care to confirm the validity and trustworthiness of campaign messages. They should seek high-quality information sources and should not rely on campaign messages based on personality, partisan ideologies, and unproven negative statements about the opposition.”

Ashley Swearengin – President and CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation

“Buckle your seat belts and get ready for the November 2018 midterms to hit like a hurricane. There are three things I would recommend to voters who are trying to navigate this storm. First and foremost, no matter what, make sure you vote. Don’t let the craziness of this election cycle and the unprecedented level of political division in our nation stop you. Second, take advantage of the great resources online to learn about the issues and candidates on your ballot this year. One of my favorites is Voter’s Edge ( It’s developed in partnership between the League of Women Voters Education Fund and MapLight. Voter’s Edge is non-partisan and easy to navigate. Third, follow the money. Pay close attention to the individuals and organizations who are funding the various campaigns this cycle. Voter’s Edge provides that information for each race. While not always the perfect predictor of a candidate’s politics, it’s pretty darn close.”

Eric Bauman – Chair, California Democratic Party

“Begin by ignoring all of the hysteria and fear tactics you will see and hear. For those voters who are strong supporters of one of the Parties, I would suggest you begin with the endorsements of your Party. Democrats and Republicans put much effort into making their respective endorsements and then publish them on their websites and elsewhere. Voters can also review information provided by respected independent groups, such as the California League of Women Voters, who provide non-partisan information about ballot measures and candidates, as do many major newspapers. Whatever you do, be cautious about the information and recommendations you find on Facebook or in other places on the Internet. Political deceivers often use these sites to provide objective sounding information, that in reality is anything but objective. If there really is a thing called #FakeNews, this is where you will find it.”

Mike Madrid – Principal, Grassroots Lab

“While truth is generally the first casualty in war and politics it’s clear we have entered a new world where outright fabrication has become a standard campaign technique.

“The sheer amount of information we’re consuming has made the movement of ‘fake news’ possible but, unfortunately the best solution remains promoting the free flow of even more information and requiring consumers to be more steadfast in checking sources and confirming what they’re being told. Ultimately truth has a universal way of emerging – unfortunately not at the speed of a tweet.”

Cassandra Pye – President, California Women Lead and Founder/CEO, 3.14 Communications

“Elections, at the end of the day, are really about who gets to decide how to divide up the (taxpayer’s) pie. With that in mind, I suggest that voters always take that extra step of decoding exactly who’s paying for the incoming slew of campaign ads, mail, “sponsored” (paid) online content and propaganda headed their way these next two months. Knowing the source – and understanding their agenda relative to the pie – should give voters a better sense of who and what to believe. Then, my additional advice is to set all that paper aside and take the old school approach: the election season provides a great opportunity for (civil, please) discourse with work colleagues, neighbors, friends and family before making those ultimate choices. Consider taking the time to ‘hear out’ those with whom you typically disagree. I find I always learn and my opinions evolve by doing so. The bottom line is there’s too much at stake to take the easy route.”

Jon Fleischman – Publisher of FlashReport

“A voter who wants to draw their own conclusions about political happenings should cast a wide next for opinions. I watch Fox News, the conservative cable station of choice. And I read the New York Times, the paper of record for the left. That said, for my fellow conservatives, you have to weed through an institutional bias in many newspaper stories as overwhelmingly reporters are liberal in their personal views. Some do a better job than others in not letting their own biases impact their reporting.”

Renata Simril – President and CEO, LA84 Foundation

“The success of our Democracy requires informed participation. Voters need to get serious, and fast. Focus on facts, not opinions. Let us not be doomed by ‘bread and circuses’. As Ezra Klein notes in an August 6th piece, “We are buried under ignorance disguised as information”. Seek out multiple perspectives from credible news sources, attend debates, ask questions and engage dialogue with your neighbors. Now is not the time to “amuse ourselves to death.” These elections are not entertainment; news coverage is not entertainment. Time to get real, not get more reality TV.”

Jonathan Keller – President, California Family Council

“Regardless of how you feel about the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., there is no doubt that he is right about at least one thing. Far too much of what passes for legitimate journalism and reporting on both the extreme right and extreme left is indeed ‘fake news.’

“As voters seek to make informed choices on vital political matters this fall, I strongly encourage all of us to get outside of our bubble. Find and follow some intelligent people on Twitter with whom you strongly disagree to learn how the other side thinks and reasons. Next time you’re tempted to get into a shouting match on Facebook, ask respectful questions and seek to understand. And instead of cutting off family members because you can’t stand their politics, sit down for a meal and genuinely open your ears and your heart to their perspective. Our country cannot continue this great experiment in democracy if we refuse to treat each other as human beings first, Americans second, and partisan a very distant last.”

Pete Wilson – California Governor (1991-1999)

“Of all the well-informed adults you know whose personal judgment and intellectual honesty you most respect and trust, ask how they are going to vote on the candidates and issues you will face on the ballot, and ask them to explain specifically why they intend to do so. If you are not satisfied with their answer, tell them why and ask them to explain it further. Then ask them to make the best argument they can for the other side. Then thank them sincerely for taking the time and making the effort to help you make the right choice…because voting in America is both a right and a duty that should not ever be taken for granted. In every generation since we won our independence, other Americans have fought and died to secure your freedom and mine.”

Barbara Boxer – United States Senator (1993-2017)

“After our Constitution was written, Benjamin Franklin was asked: “Have you given us a republic or a monarchy?” He answered: “A republic...if you can keep it.”

“This year more than any other in my memory, the election is about keeping our republic by keeping the checks and balances that were designed to rein in a president out of control. So to me, our vote for Congress should be for candidates who will stand up and challenge, when necessary, the abuses of the executive. Up to now the Republican Congress has not done that in any way and it is putting our democracy at risk.

“On the state level, if you like the way things are going in California in terms of our budget being balanced with a rainy day fund, our economy now being the fifth largest in the world, our push for clean energy and our pride in diversity, I would vote to keep the Democrats in office. If not vote for the opposition.

“If you feel you need more information, the very best unbiased source available is C-SPAN. There you can see committee hearings, speeches and press conferences for yourself and come to your own conclusions.”

John Pérez – Speaker, California State Assembly (2010-2014)

“I would say that voters should not get their information from their mailbox but instead from trusted news sources that have a strong record of reporting on California issues. I would also encourage voters to dig into the issues before the election so they have a good base of understanding on which to evaluate candidate positions. Too often voters wait until the weeks or days before an election to do their research, at which point the disinformation campaigns are the most active.”

Rosalind Hudnell – Former VP of Human Resources, Intel Corp and Former Chair/President of Intel Foundation

“In short, do your homework. Pay less attention to partisan commercials and mailers. Pay more attention to candidate positions, voting records. Seek out what they have actually done to understand if their actions match with your values and expectations. Finally, pay more attention to that closest to home. School board, local ballot measures and judges impact the lives of our families directly and yet many voters have no idea who they are voting for once they select our statewide offices. Let’s find out for ourselves what candidates stand for and vote based on what we stand for. “

Maria Mejia – Los Angeles Director, Gen Next

“For millennials and new voters, pick one issue on the ballot that resonates with your interests and/or that will impact your community, and develop the discipline of asking questions, listening and aggregating information from multiple experts (via print not television).

“We are all better served when we chase the habit and not just the “facts.”

Tom Campbell – Professor of Law and Professor of Economics, Chapman University

“Especially in evaluating incumbents, I offer advice to resist an inclination just to clean house and toss out everyone. The vast majority of those in public office work hard and mean well. It is facile, and dangerous, to skip the work of evaluating how each has done. Ask if you have heard from your elected representative; has she or he been accessible; has your representative explained her or his positions on a website? Keep a good representative rather than just swimming with the tide. Voters who use an election to “send a message” end up with less able officeholders.”

Roger Salazar – President, Alza Strategies

“Voters have always been smart. Since the start of our democracy, voters have had to wade through competing claims by those seeking to influence their vote. (That is, if they were allowed to vote: I’m looking at you: 3/5th Compromise, Slavery, Property Qualifications, Poll Tax, Literacy Tests, Jim Crow, Anti-Suffragists, Voter Suppression Laws and Voter Roll Purges.)

“While trust is on the rise for news media outlets, specifically, local news, voters can makes sense of things by trusting their gut and watching what candidates and campaign do, not just say. My advice to voters is to never be discouraged, (no matter what conflicting information is promulgated or what accusations fly) and just get up and get out to vote this November and every November. Because it’s likely at least some of our grand or great grandparents didn’t have that same opportunity. “

Jim Newton – Lecturer of Public Policy, UCLA

“My advice to voters would be to turn to trusted sources. The Internet is awash in opinions, blogged and otherwise. In such an environment, time-tested news sources are especially valuable. This state has lots of solid newspapers. Read them.”

Daniel Zingale – Senior Vice President, California Endowment

“Consider the source. The only way to make sense of the Information Age is to figure out who you trust. It can be a news outlet that still employs fact checkers, an organization or leader who makes endorsements, or a political party you think comes closest to your core values. For increasing numbers of Californians, it’s peer-to-peer information sharing, often via social media. Over time, you’ll discover you can tell a lot about candidates and issues by who is for and against them. Don’t expect to find perfection. Just get the best analysis you can from sources who have earned your trust. Then rise and vote.”

Catherine Lew – Principal and Co-Founder, Lew Edwards Group

“There’s no shortcut! Take the time to understand your ballot from top to bottom. The State and County voter pamphlets are great sources. These handbooks include the ballot questions (the actual item you mark “yes” or “no” next to) – that by law, are required to be impartial. They also contain candidate statements and other resources on each proposition/measure, including items like the impartial analysis of an issue, and ballot arguments pro/con signed by influencers or residents. Unfortunately, some of these items are often overly technical and difficult to understand. I love “Voting Parties” where neighbors are getting together, divvying up myriad issues/candidates, and assigning friends, family and peers to perform additional research on each item or candidate – then reporting back/debating each while marking ballots together over a pizza party. Remember, a neighbor’s lawn sign can launch a conversation about a candidate or issue. Final helpful hint: understand who it is giving big bucks to a given candidate or issue. Laws require disclosure of major donor information on TV commercials and mailings. Check the “…with major funding provided by” information to understand who is backing that campaign. #staywoke #vote”

Sal Russo – Founder, Tea Party America

“A quote attributed to American writer Carl Sandburg is useful in deciphering the excessive political rhetoric this election cycle. “If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law AND the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.”

“So much political debate has degenerated into “yell like hell.” Sandburg was right that people yelling probably means the law and the facts don’t support their proposition being advanced. In my experience both inside and out of government, I have found that government enacting serious solutions to problems requires a great deal of cooperation and collaboration.

“Robust debate is often helpful in defining the issues and differences in approaches that people want to take, but getting results requires putting the “yelling” off to the side and engaging in serious and civil discussion of the issues at hand.

“Far more unites us as Americans than divides us. Pay attention to those politicians who are seeking results with concrete ideas and not making empty promises of unattainable goals with lots of “yelling.” They aren’t going to get anything done.”

Mindy Romero – Founder and Director, USC California Civic Engagement Project

“At a time when the media, scientific expertise – and even truth itself – are under attack, it is hard for voters to find the information they need to confidently make decisions. However, making informed choices at election time has never been easy. Our political system functions to encourage obfuscation, with candidates eagerly feeding voters grossly misleading information. In our two-party, winner-take-all system, there is little incentive for them to do otherwise. A politician who takes a clear, principled position (and actually sticks to it) may as well be handing votes to her opponent.

“What is to be done? Voters lost in the campaign-season hall of mirrors need to seek out neutral, reliable and independent sources. These sources are few, but they are still out there, as the dwindling ranks of principled reporters and publications will testify. Supporting strong, objective journalism is one way forward. Another way is to limit political campaign contributions, especially those by political action committees, which so often fuel deceitful campaign tactics and gratuitous controversy. Finally, we need to provide our young, future voters with a robust civic education, including critical thinking tools to weather the blizzard of information put out on social media.”

Michele Siqueiros – President, Campaign for College Opportunity

“Voting does not require you to be an expert on every candidate or every issue, it simply requires you to care about your community and country. In voting, I look for a candidates official position on issues I care about – What are the problems they see in our community and how will they fix them? What do they say about education? Are they pro-choice? Do they care about equity for poor people? Are they anti-immigrant? Does he or she appeal to our best values or harness our worst fears? Before voting I like to read the newspaper, listen to NPR and spend time on nonpartisan websites. However, my favorite go to resource are my friends and family. I love it when they share their insights and strong opinions. It helps inform mine.

Astrid Ochoa – Election Administration and Voting Advocate

“Elections can be overwhelming for voters because of all the information that comes to them from many different sources, including news outlets, campaigns, candidates, social media and blogs, to name only a few. I know this personally because my mailbox and in-box get very full during election season. Because of the inundation of information, I am often told by voters that they don’t know what information to trust. A tip I like to pass on is to get information from a few trusted sources to compare notes and to vote on the things that matter to them. I remind voters that they are the experts of their community. Only they know what candidates will represent their interests. Only they know what propositions will benefit their community. Finally, I like to remind voters that they don’t have to vote on everything that is on the ballot. The most important thing is to vote.”

Jessica Levinson – Professor of Law, Loyola Law School

“Unfortunately it takes some time to be an educated voter. Campaign advertisements are not great sources of information. At best they can be biased, at worst they are actively misleading.

“Voters can look not only to the official voter guides, but to non-profits and news organizations that they trust to provide them with useful information. It is often helpful for voters to see which organizations are endorsing which candidates and ballot measures. This gives voters a sense of who stands to be helped or harmed by the election or defeat or a candidate or ballot measure. News organizations, particularly newspapers, often provide readers with a list of endorsements and reasons for those endorsements.

“Lists of endorsements can give voters a type of shortcut to help them in their research. “

Jim Wunderman – President and CEO, Bay Area Council

“Negative and divisive campaigns often are designed to so thoroughly befuddle voters that they simply throw up their hands and throw away their ballot. …Conflicting, inaccurate and downright deceptive information also makes reaching a decision a brain-damaging exercise that drives many voters away.

“Knowing what’s coming is the first step in managing your participation and ensuring you don’t get turned off. Don’t wait for your mailbox or Twitter feed to fill up with campaign ads before you get informed about the issues and candidates. Identify sources now that you trust, whether it’s your local newspaper, respected third parties, your official voter pamphlet, and your own research. …Decide whether you have the information at hand to responsibly vote on every ballot proposition or candidate. Narrowing down your selections can help you filter out the noise and ensure you are well informed on those things for which you cast your vote.

Kim Belshé – Executive Director, First 5 LA

“We live in an era where anyone can publish anything they wish, anytime, and seemingly anywhere. Despite this, the same rules of trust and credibility apply. Voters should trust their instincts. If a claim seems too good to be true, or an accusation rings false, it just might be.

“Voting is a civic duty, and voters have a responsibility to become informed and seek out organizations that have worked to establish trust and credibility, such as news media outlets as well as other sources of data and research like PoliFact and While journalists have been under assault – figuratively and, sadly, literally – their work to inform the electorate is a cornerstone of our democracy. The usual election year strum und drang is to be expected; my hope for this fall is that voters seek out objective sources of information and press candidates to focus on the issues that matter, such as what we can all do improve the well-being of our kids. California needs a conversation built on research from trusted resources, such as the Anne E. Casey Foundation’s KidsCount project and yes, from our work at First 5 LA, on the very real need to prioritize young children.”

Antonia Hernandez – President and CEO, California Community Foundation

“Avoid reading mailers, TV ads and otherwise all negative outreach. Research the issues, follow as a guide the recommendations from the local newspapers.”

Kim Yamasaki – Executive Director, Center for Asians United for Self-Empowerment

“Read, read, read. … block out time out of your busy schedule to get your hands on as much information as possible (news coverage, publications, etc.) to get to heart of the issues. …. Young voters we work with constantly feel like they don’t know enough or that their voice doesn’t count. To all the young voters out there: vote your experience, vote your conscience, you matter. Just vote! “

Les Simmons – Pastor, South Sacramento Christian Center

“Research as much as you can. Talk to your family and friends. Connect to local leaders you admire and trust be guided by their advice. Most importantly, ask yourself if you were poor, vulnerable and destitute, what programs, services and leaders would you want in place that you believe would change the material conditions. We know all boats must be raised with the tide of change coming. Candidates, policies, ballot measures have to be inclusive of all communities when it comes to what’s good for our state.”

Timothy White – Chancellor, California State University

“In our current politically charged climate, we must continue to embrace the open exchange of ideas--but always seek out truth. I encourage you to research candidates, positions and policies from a variety of news and independent sources.

“An engaged citizenry participates in the local community and educates itself about its most critical issues. Cal State plays an important role in preparing Californians to be well-educated and informed citizens, and civic engagement is a valuable part of the student experience. Our students collaborate with community partners to become informed and active members and leaders in society.

“The most important advice is to participate in our democracy. Voting is the best way to make your voice heard.”

Jon Coupal – President, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

“First, voters should trust their instincts. Charlatans on both sides of the political spectrum are prone to hyperbole which is obvious to most people. Second, do the research. On ballot measures, the material produced by the Legislative Analyst is usually unbiased. Read as much information from as many sources as possible.

“For candidates, watch the debates. If a candidate refuses to debate, or puts restrictive conditions before agreeing to debate, is an indicators that they are either ill-informed or unsure of what they really believe. Endorsements for candidates are important as well.

“Finally, the ultimate clue is asking who stands to benefit financially from the election of a candidate or the enactment of an initiative. Toward that end, voters can cut through the fog of confusing information by reading the “Paid for by” and other disclaimers on the mail they receive and the ads they see. The best thing to do is search online for information about the committee that’s responsible for the ad – by looking at who is paying for the advertising, it’s easy to assess whether the information is credible or likely misleading.”

Janet Napolitano – President, University of California

“While I cannot advocate one source of information for this fall’s elections (although I would encourage the NYT and, perhaps the WSJ), I would identify one source that should not be relied upon: Twitter. Voters need more info than that which can be relied upon in just a few figures. I would also encourage relying upon neutral, nonpartisan sources such as PBS. Identifying trustworthy news sources in this era of social media is one of the greatest challenges facing today’s voters. But our democracy depends on meeting this challenge. The stakes couldn’t be higher.”

Kristin Olsen – Stanislaus County Supervisor, Former California Assembly Republican Leader

“As voters, we should all do our best to validate information before believing it just because someone said it somewhere – whether on a mail piece or in a tweet or in conversations with others. Listen to and watch debates where the candidates themselves are speaking. Another good place to go for fact-based information on candidates is”

Rob Stutzman – Founder and President, Stutzman Public Affairs

“I would recommend to voters that they subscribe to the state’s major news outlets for the duration of the election, and consume all their reporting about the races. I would also recommend that voters follow candidates of interest on social media and get a sense of candidates in their first person voice.”

David Townsend – Founder, TCT Public Affairs

“Ballot measures can be quickly analyzed by reading the arguments and noting the signers. A decision can be quite clear based on who you trust.

“Candidate selection is tribal for most voters, Democrats generally support Democrats and Republicans generally support Republicans.

“Independents support who they believe to be the lesser of evils. Trump may Trump this thought process and cause more independents to send a message and support Democrats...ergo a blue wave.”

Bonnie Castillo – Executive Director, California Nurses Association

“Support candidates and ballot measures that define systemic solutions for real problems facing working people. Today one in four people suffer food insecurity, one in five can’t pay medical bills or skip needed care, more than one in 10 miss a mortgage or rent payment or can’t pay a utility bill – and it’s not just the poorest among us.

“Ignore the disinformation. Insist on comprehensive cures for the wealth and income inequality that put so many of our neighbors in peril. Two examples. 1- Yes on Prop. 10 can begin to reverse the brutal cost of housing in California. 2- Back candidates who will actively support, and will fight for, state and federal Medicare for all; taking the profit motive out of healthcare is the only way to provide real health security. “

Gray Davis – California Governor (1999-2003)

“There is endless amounts of information for and against candidates and issues. Here is the bottom line. If you’re happy with Washington, vote Republican. If you’re unhappy, vote Democrat (you know where I stand).

“Similarly, if you’re pleased with Sacramento, vote for incumbents or Democratic candidates, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (who I fully support!).

“It’s as simple as this – elections are a referendum on the status quo. When the status quo is working for working people, incumbents and parties retain office.”

Jim Boren – Executive Director, Fresno State’s Institute for Media and Public Trust

“Voters should independently check campaign claims and accusations by going to a variety of trusted news sources, using fact-checking sites and reading all sides of an issue. Be a high-information voter who is confident of the facts before casting your ballot. “

Donna Lucas – CEO and President, Lucas Public Affairs

“The best source of information is the ballot pamphlet, which comes in the mail before voting begins. The California Secretary of State’s web site, is also extremely helpful. Its quick reference section summarizes the issues, presents arguments pro and con, and shows who supports and opposes each measure. The site also gives an in-depth review of each measure with details on fiscal and policy impacts. The candidate section features photos and summaries – in the candidates’ own words – of why they want your vote.

“Other helpful websites include Calmatters, the League of Women Voters and The Sacramento Bee.”

Larisa Cespedes – Chair, Hispanas Organized for Political Equity and Partner at Lang, Hansen, O’Malley and Miller

“Getting news from a variety of sources (online, print or radio) will help ensure you’re hearing about candidates or initiatives from many sides. Visit candidate websites to learn directly from them about their priorities and whether any of the organizations or people you trust have received their endorsement.”

Carl Guardino – President and CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group

“Be discerning. I always try to seek clarity on each candidate’s positions on what I call THEE top issues facing California - “T” for Traffic. “H” for Housing. “E” for Education. “E” for the Economy and Jobs. Those are my top issues. They may not be yours. Determine your top issues and then research, research, research.”

Linda Ackerman – President, Marian Bergeson Excellence in Public Service Series

“First and foremost the voters need to have a political philosophy that they not only believe in but can also articulate. They need to apply this to the candidates seeking office that most closely align with that philosophy.

“Print journalists, radio and television commentators, internet platforms (google, twitter, facebook, bloggers) all have an agenda and a built in bias, despite their position that they are there to report on issues in a balanced banner, preserving freedom of speech.

“The media can pick and choose what they want to highlight, talk or write about, so it is incumbent upon the voter to really understand the issues before them. The voter needs to understand the background agenda of the media outlets to help with their decisions.

“There is also the inevitable surge of political mailers that will arrive in the mail, along with a barrage of television and radio ads sponsored by the candidates and/or their supporters for the voters to sift through and separate fact from fiction.

“How do they do that?

“They examine the sources of information they deem reliable and evaluate the candidates and issues aligned with their political philosophy.”

Chet Hewitt – President and CEO, Sierra Health Foundation

“For many Californians, it seems like a tsunami of policy proposals have been released this election season.

“The volume of ideas –coupled with the challenge of finding credible assessments of them – makes deciding which candidate or proposal to support all the more difficult. And even when we find reliable information, it often reads like a review of a candidate’s capacity to lead as much as an assessment of their proposal.

“As someone involved in policy-making for decades, I know that initial proposals are often altered by the political process, making them as much a reflection of a candidate’s values as their ability to be thoughtful.

“It is in this vein that I encourage my fellow voters to look beyond initial ideas, and seek answers to two important and interdependent questions: What are the candidate’s core values? And what is their world view?

“In politics, statements about core values can be so overused they seem banal. Some would even argue that these values are private and don’t belong in campaigns. I strongly disagree. As recent experiences have shown us, there is a strong connection between core values and how elected officials govern.”

Angie Wei – Chief of Staff, California Labor Federation

“The most important thing for voters to watch for is what candidates stand for…not just fight against. It’s clear that President Trump is on the ballot in every race, he’s the foil to every candidate. Voters must push candidates to not just contrast themselves to Trump, but what are they going to fight for? What will they do to build economic security for families – good jobs, affordable health care, decent housing, and the hope that their kids lives will be better than theirs. What is the future of work? An economy built on service gigs that you can string together or one that builds things, , makes things, creates things through full time work.

The second most important thing for all of us to watch – what gets people motivated to participate in politics? To protest, to volunteer, to donate money, to vote. What are the approaches to maximize our civic participation?”

Abby Porth – Executive Director, San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council

“This election season, voters should be asking if candidates have thoughtful policy platforms that will elevate the health and sustainability of our democracy. I’m turning to democracy2018 to watch for legislators who will decrease socioeconomic gaps in our society and who are focused on enhancing the quality of life for all by promoting the common good. California voters should pay attention to which candidates are focused on developing an informed citizenry by supporting universally high quality public education, and eliminating cost prohibitions to higher education for our next generation.

“We need to elect legislators who will address the lack of affordable housing, enabling families to stay in California and have greater economic security. Voters should watch for candidates who will ensure equity in voter rights and access, eliminate partisan gerrymandering, and codify campaign finance reform. Voters should seek out candidates with expertise in management, policy, and public service and who have exhibited the highest commitment to our nation’s ideals and collective futures.”