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Courage California Unites Statewide Advocates in Sacramento to Discuss Budget and Legislator Accountability, at Convening

California’s Largest Multi-Issue Organization unveiled its 8th Annual Courage Score during Convene with Courage – zeroing-in on elected leaders who prioritize corporate interests over the health of communities

Sacramento —  Last week, on Tuesday, April 18, Courage California, the largest multi-issue advocacy organization in the state, hosted a statewide convening in Sacramento, bringing together advocates and organizations from throughout the state of California. 

Held at the CAIR Sacramento Valley/Central California office in Sacramento., Convene with Courage aimed to increase awareness of 2023/2024 state budget advocacy and ballot measure campaigns, and facilitate coordination among state and regional advocates. Participants heard from experts and leaders on the State Budget, 2024 ballot initiatives, referendum reform, and were given the first look at the 8th Annual Courage Score. 

“We’ve been hearing from our partners throughout the state the need to connect, share, and learn from each other,” said Irene Kao, Executive Director of Courage California. “Regardless of the region or the issue area, community leaders and advocates are up against similar hurdles and corruption – and it’s imperative that we work together now more than ever.

“Courage is in a unique and central position, as a statewide and multi-issue organization that works towards a representative, transparent, and accountable democracy. With our vast network and tools, we have the ability and responsibility to unite and provide the resources our progressive partners need,” said Kao.   

Launched on Tuesday, the 8th Annual Courage Score report card is a prime example of a resource that is held in high-regard by partners and community members, and is used both inside and outside of the Capitol. Unveiled at Convene with Courage, Courage Score is a comprehensive, transparent, and user-friendly tool that grades California state legislators based on how well they represented their constituents. 

“Courage Score has allowed everyday Californians to find out who is financing the campaigns of our representatives,” said Mehran Khodabandeh, Senior Political Strategist at the Working Families Party. “It has removed the smoke and mirrors and allows for the people of California to glimpse why some of our elected officials continue to vote against our interests.”

The highly anticipated 8th Annual Courage Score All-Stars and Hall of Shamers were revealed during the convening, highlighting the representatives who consistently stand up for their constituents and those who do not.

8th Annual All Stars include: 

  • Buffy Wicks, AD14 
  • Phil Ting, AD19 
  • Alex Lee, AD24 
  • Ash Kalra, AD25 
  • Eloise Gómez Reyes, AD50 
  • Wendy Carrillo, AD52 
  • Miguel Santiago, AD54 
  • María Elena Durazo, SD26 
  • Lena Gonzalez, SD33 
  • Toni Atkins, SD39 

8th Annual Hall of Shame include: 

  • Carlos Villapudua, AD13 
  • Tim Grayson, AD15 
  • Bill Dodd, SD3
  • Steve Glazer, SD9 
  • Susan Rubio, SD22 

Courage Score provides advocates – and Californians alike – with the at-a-glance information someone needs to know about their legislators, how they voted and how the votes were influenced by special interest funding, but also allows users to dive-deeper in the votes, money-trails, and legislative history. 

“Californians want change. We ask for it, we vote for it, but unfortunately that’s not enough. It is up to each and every one of us to demand that our representatives do what is best for their constituents – not what will keep their pockets lined with corporate donations,” said Irene Kao. “We have the receipts, we know why some of our basic needs aren’t getting met. Which is why it was incredibly powerful to launch this year’s Courage Score at Convene With Courage

“As a collective, we looked at California’s representatives and had candid conversations across issue and geographic-areas about how to best advocate for the people,” said Kao.  

Convene with Courage was not open to the public, but the 2023/2024 Budget Overview presentation by California Budget and Policy Center was live streamed and can be found here

“Bringing communities together for Convene with Courage was long overdue. California’s communities – though diverse in population, culture, geography, industry – are not siloed, we are in this together for the betterment of our state and nation. This is only the beginning of Courage California statewide outreach and capacity building efforts, and we look forward to expanding our offerings, so that we can support our partners on the ground as they lead with courage,” said Kao. 

“Seeing such a diverse group of advocacy organizations at the Courage Convening was powerful. Intersectional advocacy is key to empowering community members,” said Jay Hockley Sr., Community Organizer at Initiate Justice Action, who attended the convening. 

Courage California, formerly Courage Campaign, works to unite communities organizing for progressive change, fight the forces of corruption, and hold our representatives to account in order to ensure that California’s elected officials act with courage. Our community of members envision California as a model of progressive, equitable, and truly representative democracy that sets the standard for our country.


Angela Chavez