Courage Campaign in the News

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COME TOGETHER: Following a weekend “march for real climate leadership” attempting to catch Gov. Jerry Brown’s attention in his home city of Oakland, anti-fracking activists will visit the governor’s office at the Capitol at 4 p.m. to deliver 184,000 signatures calling on Brown to follow New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s lead and ban the controversial oil extraction method in California.
Area Congressman John Garamendi a couple of weeks ago acknowledged he was approached as a possible Democratic candidate to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated in 2016 by Barbara Boxer. However, it has been state Attorney General Kamala Harris, also a Democrat, who has been getting the bulk of the attention as a possible successor. A recent "pulse poll" by the Democratic-leaning Democracy for America and Courage Campaign shows Harris a solid front-runner and Garamendi listed sixth of 15 potential Democratic candidates. In a prepared statement, Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, a former lieutenant governor and state insurance commissioner, said earlier he would consider running for the seat. But, he also said, "my first duty is to the people of the 3rd Congressional District."
One day later, with few other Democrats close to the starting line, Elizabeth Warren endorsed Harris. Eight days later, the Howard Dean-founded Democracy for America–which is part of a coalition coaxing Warren to run for president–released a poll conducted with the California-based progressive Courage Campaign. Unscientific, conducted of the members who’d clicked through online in the week after Harris’s announcement, it found that 64.5 percent of California DFA/Courage voters wanted Harris to be the Democratic nominee. The rest of the vote scattered between some lesser-known Democrats. Tom Steyer got 2.7 percent of it.
Hundreds of people gathered in downtown San Francisco Wednesday to mark the fifth anniversary of a U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on election campaigns.
The Courage Campaign has been critical of Brown arguing that while he has done a “heroic job” of bringing the state back from the budget cliff, “much to our dismay, his proposed budget has prioritized savings for a rainy-day, even though the economic storm that began in 2008 is still raging on families across the state. California continues to have the highest poverty rate in the nation and this budget fails to prioritize the nearly nine million Californians struggling to make ends meet everyday.”
And for many liberals and Democratic lawmakers, Brown's latest budget proposal represents just more of the same. Last week, Eddie Kurtz, executive director of the 900,000-member Courage Campaign, said that Brown's financial agenda since returning to the governor's office in 2011 has favored the wealthy. Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California told the Sacramento Bee that Brown's budget "largely continues the cuts that were made in the recession to health and human services."
A statewide coalition of advocacy groups called the California Partnership staged news conferences in five cities, calling upon Brown to do more to break down what it called the state’s “wall of poverty.” The United Ways of California chimed in, as did the online activist group the Courage Campaign, the association representing human services directors from the 58 counties and several others. Reporters attending Brown’s news conference actually asked questions about funding for programs for the poor, questions that put Brown somewhat on the defensive. He talked of stagnant wages that are a function of the global economy and how he doesn’t “have all the answers for that.”
Eddie Kurtz, executive director of the liberal Courage Campaign, said progressives are starved for a candidate who represents economic populism and wants more corporate accountability. Harris has shown a willingness to take on banks and demonstrated support for criminal justice reform. Kurtz said he’s encouraged, but he wants to hear more of her positions, possibly in a contested primary. “Our search is for the person who can fill Barbara Boxer’s shoes and take Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s message to Californians,” he said.
Courage Campaign's executive director Eddie Kurtz asks "where is California's Elizabeth Warren?," in a special OpEd to the Sacramento Bee.
SACRAMENTO — California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Friday proposed a massive $113 billion state budget that boosts education spending and state savings while leaving some social programs funded below pre-recession levels, earning the ire of liberal activists that could set up a showdown with Democrats in the state legislature.... “The budget fails to prioritize the nearly nine million Californians struggling to make ends meet every day,” Eddie Kurtz, executive director of the progressive Courage Campaign, said in a statement. “Restoring California’s Health and Human Services budget is critical to growing a robust economy and sparking a virtuous economic cycle that will benefit all Californians, not just the wealthy among us.”

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