Influencers Opinion

From top to bottom, know your ballot and make it count

Workers repave a street in Roseville last month, partially funded by a gas tax hike passed by the Legislature in 2017. Proposition 6 on the November ballot would repeal the 2017 gas tax and vehicle fee increases to repair aging roads.
Workers repave a street in Roseville last month, partially funded by a gas tax hike passed by the Legislature in 2017. Proposition 6 on the November ballot would repeal the 2017 gas tax and vehicle fee increases to repair aging roads. AP

Labor Day weekend is the traditional sounding bell for the start of election season. Here’s what’s cooking this fall for voters to keep an eye on:

National stakes: Democrats must win nearly two dozen seats to take control of the U.S. House and move on President Donald Trump. In California, Democrats are focused on whether they can flip targeted Republican seats in places such as Orange County, which is traditionally Republican but voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Big money is being spent to increase voter turnout among younger Democratic voters, but will they actually turn out?

Year of the Woman: A couple hundred female candidates are already headed to November’s congressional elections – the most ever in our country’s history! In California, more than a dozen female newcomers are challenging incumbent California representatives. But even with historic gains in 2018, that glass ceiling remains to be shattered; fewer than 20 percent of House seats are currently held by women.

Gas tax revolt? There are 11 state propositions on the Nov. 6 ballot, but the one to watch is Proposition 6. If approved, Prop. 6 would repeal the 2017 gas tax and vehicle fee increases to repair aging roads. Democrats worry that the measure will increase Republican turnout, already causing some Democrats in key House races to back Prop. 6. At the same time, GOP pollster Adam Probolsky’s August survey shows the measure failing, even among Republicans.

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Opponents to Prop. 6 are counting on the fact that voters want their roads repaired. And they could very well be right. Prop. 6 proponents are already preparing for a 2020 rerun, suggesting they lack confidence in their ability to win this year.

Landlord-tenant smackdown: Is housing a human right? Say “yes” or “no” and pick a side. Homelessness and housing affordability now replace public safety and education as the top concerns for voters in virtually every local community I work in, irrespective of party affiliation or philosophy.

Proposition 10 does not automatically enact rent control. It simply allows local governments to consider and enact appropriate controls and regulations to protect renters and address the growing housing crisis. Why wouldn’t you support local decision-making on these issues?

Prop. 10 is only one of four propositions related to housing on the ballot, the most ever in a single year. Props. 1 and 2 fund affordable housing programs, while Prop. 5 removes tax restrictions on seniors and the disabled purchasing new homes. Review them all and make informed decisions on these important measures.

Top-of-the-ticket yawner: I strongly support Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s dynamic, bold vision for California. The outcome is all but assured. Democrats dominate statewide races, and Republican John Cox is toast.

Local candidates and issues: Every community has candidates and measures on the ballot, whether it’s city council, school board or fire district; building a senior center; funding schools and libraries, or maintaining 911 services.

Make your way all the way down your ballot on these nonpartisan races, and vote. Whatever happens nationally or statewide, we all have an opportunity and a responsibility to make a difference and take a stand in our own communities. Make your voice heard!

Catherine Lew is a Democratic strategist and co-founder of The Lew Edwards Group and a participant in The Sacramento Bee/McClatchy Influencers series. She can be contacted at catherine@lewedwardsgroup.com. Find the series at sacbee.com/influencers.

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