Got to give it to Marie Waldron, Valley Center’s ode to abuse of mileage reimbursements in the California Legislature — for more on that, visit this link — but YOUR Republican representative for California’s 75th Assembly District managed this week to score a solid “F” for her 2019 “Courage Score” from The People’s Report Card of California.
In fact, Waldron couldn’t have fared worse to standing up to corporate interests if she tried. She managed to vote against the people’s interests, and for corporate lobbyists, on 39 out of 41 bills graded by Courage California. One of the two votes she didn’t flunk came when she didn’t vote.
At least, Waldron is consistent. She has failed the courage test every year since the group started keeping score in 2015.
For a printable PDF version, click here: People’s Report Card of California
State Assembly District 75 includes Escondido, Fallbrook, Bonsall, San Marcos, Valley Center and parts of Temecula. Waldron is seeking re-election and facing one Democratic challenger, Kate Schwartz. The San Diego Union Tribune last week featured mail-in interviews from Schwartz and Waldron, which may be accessed here.
With a bit of luck, and corporate corruption in this year’s session, Waldron just might — fingers crossed — make it into the Courage Report Hall of Shame, which currently features a handful of legislators who even made it all the way up to “D” on their scores.
In all fairness, though, Waldron has avoided the Hall of Shame only because the 75th Assembly District is one of the seven most Republican-leaning districts in the state, and overall district leanings are taken into consideration for Hall of Shame induction.
The People’s Report Card is a tool designed to help Californians learn about votes cast by their elected representatives in the State Assembly and Senate. The centerpiece of the project is Courage Score – a number, unique to each legislator, revealing how often they stand up for constituents over corporate lobbyists that exploit Californians.
First released in 2016, Courage Scores incorporate data from votes cast on key progressive bills of the legislative session. At CourageScore.org, users can find scores and voting history for every California legislator, as well as search by address to find scores earned by representatives for that area.
- A+ (100)
- A (90-99)
- B (80-89)
- C (70-79)
- D (60-69)
- F (0-59)
To develop Courage Scores, we reach out to over 100 progressive advocacy groups throughout California, surveying them on their priority bills from the previous legislative session. We synthesize their responses into a comprehensive list of legislation that covers health care, housing, immigration, the environment, consumer protections, and more.
Then, we review how every representative voted on these bills. Because bills change as they pass through the legislative process, we score votes differently based on circumstances specific to each bill. Voting ‘yes’ after a bill has been weakened substantially by amendments requires less courage than championing its purest form. To ensure accuracy, we communicate with allies and Capitol staffers to thoroughly research each bill. A full list of bills used to determine Courage Scores can be found here.
We focus our analysis on close votes, avoiding bills that pass by overwhelming margins and, therefore, require less political courage. We score abstentions and the same as ‘no’ votes, since each has the same impact on a bill’s passage, and we consider legislative absences on a case-by-case basis. Multiple votes on the same bill may be included if each is deemed crucial to the bill’s progressive integrity. Legislators may lose points for authoring bills widely opposed by progressive groups and for making leadership decisions that block progressive priorities. Lifetime scores are an average of all Courage Scores earned by a representative since the scorecard’s inception in 2016.
Each year, a number of particularly woeful legislators are inducted into that edition’s Hall of Shame. Inclusion in the Hall of Shame is determined by comparing a legislator’s Courage Score to that representative’s Progressive District Ranking — a metric we created to assess the progressive lean of every legislative district statewide by evaluating voting data from over 40 statewide ballot initiatives going back to 2012.
All-Stars are those representatives who consistently stand up for their constituents, earning scores of 97 or above as testament their relentless support for common-sense, progressive problem solving.
By engaging in this rigorous, multi-faceted process, we believe Courage Scores are a reliable way for progressive Californians to quickly and easily assess the political courage of each state legislator. In particular, we intend this tool to help Californians see which representatives stand up and fight — and which ones don’t — against the corporations and lobbyists seeking to exploit their constituents.