Skip to content

Representation Matters! Riverside and Coachella, Vote on May 12

An ideal that has never truly been realized in this country is that our elected leaders share, represent, and advocate for the majority’s beliefs. Deliberate tactics, such as systemic and overt discrimination, barriers, and misinfomation, have a history of being weapozied in this county to prevent THE PEOPLE from having a say in who will represent and lead us.

The 2016 general election was the first federal election held since the United States Supreme Court tragically gutted the Voting Rights Act. It was in 2016 when we saw how a combination of voter suppression, foreign interference, and misinformation can be wielded to influence the outcome of a major election. Now living with the repercussions of 2016, our leaders are having to navigate how to handle local, state, and national elections in the midst of a global pandemic. Our elections, and democracy, are incredibly vulnerable — making California’s upcoming special elections an easy target for unjust power-grabs. 

Such an opportunity is around the corner. California’s May 12th special election to fill the seat from State Senate district 28 should be receiving much more attention than it currently is. This seat, which includes parts of Riverside County and Coachella Valley, was left vacant after Sen. Jeff Stone resigned in November to join the Trump Administration. Elizabeth Romero (D), Assistant Vice Chancellor of Government & Community Relations at the University of California, Riverside, is running against Assemblymember Melissa Melendez (R) for the SD28 seat. The winner of this race will immediately contribute to our state’s pandemic and economic recovery efforts. It is our responsibility to make sure Californians understand the impact of this special election and that our votes have the power to choose who will represent us and fight for a  recovery that does justice by ALL Californians. 

In order for our state and nation to reflect a true democracy, it is essential that our communities are represented by legislative leaders who share and represent the beliefs of their constituents — and will fight for them. In Senate District 28, Democrats outnumber registered Republicans, leadership must reflect that. The only way this will happen is if the residents of southwestern Riverside County and Coachella Valley vote in Tuesday’s special election. 

Party affiliation aside, the choice is still abundantly clear in this election! 

On one side we have Elizabeth Romero (D), who has secured $100 million for University of California, Riverside School of Medicine and $15 million for telepsychiatry healthcare, which increased primary care doctors and provided funding for mental health services for underserved communities. Romero also serves on the Riverside County Board of Education. Prior to joining UCR, Elizabeth worked at Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest where she helped enroll over 17,000 new people in the Affordable Care Act. Romero also managed the Building Healthy Communities Initiative funded by The California Endowment, where she brought together over 80 groups to address local issues that directly influenced the disbursement of a multi-million investment in the Eastern Coachella Valley. 

On the other side we have Assemblymember Melissa Melendez (R) who — while Romero was working to improve public health and education — was actively fighting in the State Assembly AGAINST criminal justice reform, mandatory vaccination legislation, as well as being an outspoken sycophant and a presidential enabler. An elected leader who openly fights vaccinations and supports the inept, racist Trump administration is not only ill-equipped to lead us through these times, but is too reckless to have a seat at the table while decisions are made to support our collective recovery. Leaders who value science, data, and have a deep understanding of public health are the type of representation we need in these tough times and Melendez is NOT that. 

Romero is a proven community leader who has demonstrated the ability to bring people together for consensus-based policymaking that has delivered real benefits to the people. 

Blythe, Indio, Lake Elsinore, Murrieta, Palm Springs, and Temecula make sure you vote for Elizabeth Romero — the ally and advocate we need in the Capitol — on May 12! One election at a time, if we collectively and continually have the #Courage2Vote for change, one day we will have a government made up of leaders who truly represent the majority’s values and will unequivocally advocate for ALL OF OUR PEOPLE. 

Visit our #CourageVoterGuide to learn more about each candidate and the different ways you can vote in May 12 special election: