Yesterday’s She the People summit in San Francisco was a success! It was sold out to an audience of 500 people from 26 states, and California Donor Table sponsored over a dozen California leaders to attend from all over the state. CDT-endorsed state Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo spoke, and our very own Nicole introduced Senator Holly Mitchell and talked on the main stage about our work in California, giving appreciations to our team and leaders. To see Nicole’s remarks, start at the 2:36:00 mark of the video of the morning session.


We hosted a post-summit reception for elected officials, candidates and local and state leaders in CA. Seventy-five people were in attendance as media personality and trans and civil rights activist Ashlee Marie Preston MC-ed a night spotlighting some of our women of color leaders in California, including Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo, Assembly candidate Jovanka Beckles (AD15), state Senate candidate Melissa Hurtado (SD14), BART board member Lateefah Simon, and Power California Action co-executive director Aparna Shah. Through the summit and reception we amplified our work and investments and created a platform for our leaders to shine!


Thank you to those of you who supported and joined us!



California Congressional Races

Many factors — including California Donor Table/Fund donor investments in Orange County, Inland Empire and San Diego over the last decade — contributed to making the Congressional districts more competitive this year. The Los Angeles Times profiles the role of voter-approved, nonpartisan redistricting in this change, and how it is a successful model for other states looking to move to a similar model.


After the 2020 Census, a California Citizens Redistricting Commission will be selected and charged again with drawing state legislative and congressional district lines in 2022. CDT/F will likely play a role in ensuring that our state’s New Majority community voices are represented throughout the process.


State Legislature

Corporate-backed Democrats are responsible for the failure or watering down of progressive policies, including legislation on environmental justice, worker rights and health care that is targeted by the California Chamber of Commerce’s “Job Killer” list. This year, all but one of 29 bills on the list was killed or watered down via the moderate Democrats, a higher than usual rate of success for them.


New Yorkers faced the exact same challenge in their state Senate with eight Democrats who were part of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) who consistently voted with Republicans against progressive policies. But in last week’s primaries, six of the IDC Democrats were defeated by more progressive challengers — the result of targeted grassroots organizing led by a coalition of groups, like No IDC NY and Empire State Indivisible, after Trump’s election. So it’s possible….


This year we have endorsed progressive candidates who will help to change the California state legislature, and we will have more opportunities in 2020. And with CDT’s investments in building and strengthening regional tables and other coalitions of community organizing groups around the state, we have an exciting year of planning ahead of us after the general election and leading into the 2020 primaries….


A Third Political Party in CA?

Tom Campbell — Chapman University law professor, former congressman, former state senator and former Republican — is advocating for creation of a third political party that he predicts could have state legislative candidates running as soon as 2020. He has two options: gather 700,000 signatures in support, or get 60,000 already registered voters to switch their registrations to the new party (currently not named). “With the right targeted email pitch, it could be pulled off under $100,000, he said. Revolutionize the state political system for less than a legislator’s annual salary.” There are 4.9 million Californians registered with “no party preference,” as a reference.


He is also weighing two options for a party platform: a centrist one and a platform-free one. Partisan candidates are currently barred from running as anything other than Democrat, Republican or No Party Preference (as Steve Poizner, former Republican, is doing in his run for Insurance Commissioner against Democrat Ricardo Lara), so a platform-free party would provide candidates a new option.


Global Climate Action Summit

Governor Brown hosted the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco over the last week. Protesters have been demonstrating inside and outside of the summit to champion community-based, not corporate-based, solutions for climate change.



Even with the recent attacks on unions (e.g., Janus), there are promising trends in labor, including the rise of millennials joining unions. “Millennial-aged workers are now leading growth in overall union membership, upending historical stereotypes that younger workers don’t identify with the labor movement.”



The California Budget and Policy Center has released a report that does a deep dive into Census data on poverty and provides recommendations for policy changes. A note that the region with some of the highest poverty and child poverty levels is the Central Valley, where we have endorsed state Senate candidate Melissa Hurtado (SD14) and are investing in CDT partner Communities for a New California.



Action Needed: Help Get Net Neutrality Signed by Governor Brown!

The most comprehensive, forward-thinking net neutrality bill in the entire nation is awaiting Governor Brown’s signature in Sacramento. That bill is SB 822 (authored by Senator Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco), and we hope that its comprehensive nature serves as a model for other states and helps shape the debate over potential federal regulations in the next few years! SB 822 provides the necessary framework to protect our democratic values via an open and fair Internet. This is such an important piece of legislation because it will preserve a level playing field where anyone with access to the Internet can create and share ideas equally. SB 822 also establishes strong consumer protections. If you care about this issue, and have a relationship to Governor Brown or someone in his office, please reach out to Sandra Fluke at Voices for Progress at to find out how you can have an impact and receive personalized advocacy talking points! The Governor has until September 30 to sign or veto the bill, so please let her know quickly if you can reach him!

by Irene Kao, CDT Strategist