Who am I?

I serve as one of five members on the California State Board of Equalization, the nation's only elected tax commission. I represent close to 9 million Californians in the First Equalization District, comprised of 21 counties primarily along the northern and central California coast and including the entire San Francisco Bay Area. I was elected to this office first in November 2006, receiving over 1.5 million votes, or 65 percent of the votes cast. I was re-elected in 2010, earning over 1.6 million votes, or 63 percent of the votes cast. During my tenure, I have served as the Chairwoman of the Board twice, elected unanimously by my peers to this position that has included my serving as a member of the California Franchise Tax Board.

Prior to my service on the Board of Equalization, I was appointed to serve as the Chief Deputy Director for Budget with the California Department of Finance, where I led the development of the Governor’s Budget, negotiations with the Legislature and key budget stakeholders, and fiscal analysis of legislation on behalf of the Administration. Earlier, I held senior staff positions on several fiscal and policy committees in both houses of the California State Legislature. My legislative career began when I served as a Senate Fellow with the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. Preceding my legislative experience, I served as a county public health commissioner and worked in the nonprofit sector.

With over 29 years of public service experience specializing in state and local finance, I have been recognized widely for my work. I received the Distinguished Service Award from the California State Association of Counties and an Award of Recognition from the California Assessors Association for my leadership in establishing the State-County Property Tax Administration Program. Additionally, I have represented California as an advocate and resource on multistate tax issues before the United States Congress.

Why am I running?

I currently serve as one of five members on the California State Board of Equalization, the nation's only elected tax commission, representing 9 million Californians in the First Equalization District in northern and central California along the coast and including the entire San Francisco Bay Area. After having the privilege of serving for what will be 10 years when my term ends at the end of 2014, I want to bring my over 29 years of experience in public finance and tax policy to the office of Controller, serving as California's Chief Financial Officer and independent fiscal watchdog for ensuring the fiscal and financial health of the state with the highest level of transparency.

My Goals

When elected, I will pursue the following three policy goals:

1. Lead the much-needed, long-overdue discussion on comprehensive tax reform to make California's tax system more fair, updated, stable, and sustainable. I have been a leading spokesperson for increasing the examination of tax expenditures as part of the annual legislative budget process as well as leading the review of property tax exemptions for nonprofit hospitals at the Board. Comprehensive tax reform must be pursued with broad public engagement rather than with special interests at the table.
2. Preserve retirement security for public and school employees and teachers by increasing transparency to members of the public employees and state teachers as well as state and local government and school district employers of the CalPERS and CalSTRS retirement systems about actuarial assumptions, asset allocation, and corporate governance. I have been vocal about preserving defined benefit retirement plans and the need to involve public employees and teachers in seeking solutions to our unfunded pension liabilities.
3. Model responsible environmental stewardship over our state lands, waterways, and natural resources by employing the highest environmental standards and practices relating to energy efficiency, waste management and reduction, and more. Responsible environmental stewardship also includes increasing transparency on proposals for oil and gas extraction and taking a leadership role on ending hydraulic fracturing (fracking). I have led the Board's actions to require oil refineries to pay their fair share of property taxes as well as to require the application of property tax on emissions reduction credits, tradeable rights to emit pollutants.

My DFA Values

My campaign operates on the premise that our democracy is only as strong as the ability of every community to participate fully in it. Consistent with this, I have been running a grassroots campaign for over two years, engaging communities throughout California and speaking about values. I speak of my personal history, one of six children to immigrant parents who grew up poor yet did not know it because I grew up during a time of strong societal values that included community and service, leading to greater security and liberty for all. These are the values that unite us, and I view government's role as facilitating equal opportunity, full equality, and justice for all. This is what motivates me to do the work I do with my public finance and tax policy discipline. (Visit http://you.tu.be/pj7113NUu0c to view my candidate video shown on March 8, 2014, at the California Democratic Party State Convention in Los Angeles.)

My Campaign is People Powered!

I have engaged the progressive grassroots by giving voice to the disconnect between the Democratic values we espouse and those we practice; by denouncing the influence of money in politics (including Democratic politics; by speaking about not accepting the status quo with respect to what is happening to working families, our environment, and more; and elevating the power of the grassroots as the collective voice for progressive change to realize our hopes and new possibilities. I have brought my voice in this manner to a diverse array of communities throughout California (communities of color, young people, seniors, women, LGBT, etc.) during my campaign to encourage support of my campaign that is driven by inspirinyg progressive change towards a healthier democracy rather than settling for the status quo of the best democracy money can buy/influence. Additionally, I have spoken honestly to fellow state Democratic delegates and more about the ways that some in the Democratic Party are undermining our democracy. (Visit this link to view the speech I delivered on March 9, 2014, at the California Democratic Party State Convention in Los Angeles about values defining our politics:

Voice support


  • Carolyn Curtis, CA
  • Pat Johnstone, CA
  • Jon Katz
  • Michael Fox, MA
  • Patricia Brown jd, CA
  • Ruth Gadebusch
  • Monique Pernell
  • Abel Parra-Gutierrez
  • Arthur Keller, CA
  • Debbie Mytels
...and 115 more.

About the Endorsement Process

The driving force behind all DFA endorsements is our members. We recognize that all politics is local and that what is considered progressive in Los Angeles may be very different from what's considered progressive in Louisville. For this reason, DFA does not have a litmus test of specific progressive positions for which a candidate must stand. Our endorsement is heavily weighted based on these questions:

• Will the candidate move the progressive movement forward in their community?
• Does the candidate have substantial support from our local members?
• Do the candidate's positions and policies fit into the broader progressive movement?
• Is the campaign people-powered and the candidate working to win?

If you have questions, or want to let us know about a candidate in your neighborhood, please call us at (802) 651-3200 or email us at [email protected] .

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