California Votes For Environmental Leadership

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This election, California voters took a lead on clean water issues.

We upheld California’s single-use plastic bag ban despite being hugely outspent by out-of-state Big Plastic corporations. And we voted to elect leaders to Congress who will represent our interests instead of industry's bottom lines. Californians also voted progressively to send leaders to the state capitol where big industries, like pharmaceuticals and oil, have had way too much power for a long time.

Our endorsed candidates won in both national congressional races, and in both state senate races in which we made an endorsement. Ash Kalra also won a house seat in District 27, with our endorsement. Voting numbers correct as of Nov. 9, 2016. Click on the links below to read more about how the vote went on each of Clean Water Action’s endorsements:

Voters upheld California's single-use plastic bag ban





In 2014, California became the first state in the nation to ban single-use plastic bags. This landmark law is a direct result of the campaign led by Clean Water Action and its allies. But out-of-state Big Plastic manufacturers, fueled by the Koch Brothers and chemical industry giants, tried to turn back the clock. 

You can read our press release celebrating passage of the country’s first statewide plastic bag ban here.

Voters also chose to vote against proposition 65, a confusing measure put on the ballot by Big Plastic in an attempt to pave the way for legal challenges to proposition 67.


  • CD 9- Jerry McNerney (D), incumbent. Won the general by 57%. Won the primary by 55.4%. A member of Congress since 2007, Congressman McNerney has consistently ranked as a clean water champion on the Clean Water Action scorecard. He is a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, where he is working to combat climate change and ensure a clean energy future for our country.   He has a PhD in mathematics and spent over two decades developing renewable energy technologies. He is the author of three major bills passed by the House of Representatives that will help train the next generation for green jobs, increase the efficiency of our electrical grid, and invest in infrastructure for electric vehicles. He is also the co-author of a bill to help spur local manufacturing of these cars. Congressman McNerney opposes tunnels and other conveyances that would impair the Delta, and is a strong advocate for local measures to boost water resiliency.


  • CD 32- Grace Napolitano (D), incumbent. Won the gerneral by 57%.Won the primary by 51.7%. Congresswoman Grace Flores Napolitano prioritizes water, labor rights, immigration, and veteran’s services. She is a powerful leader for Southern California on questions of water resources and power generation, and in the 114th Congress, Congresswoman Napolitano was unanimously elected to serve as Ranking Member on the Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. She introduced the Water in the 21st Century Act (H.R. 291) with a coalition of 31 other lawmakers in the House and the support of Senator Barbara Boxer, who introduced the same legislation in the Senate. As the daughter of Mexican immigrants, Congresswoman Napolitano is a dedicated advocate for the Hispanic community. She chaired the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and wrote several pieces of comprehensive immigration reform legislation then worked with party leaders to gain support for the proposals on both sides of the aisle. Ms. Napolitano has consistently received distinction as a "clean water champion" on Clean Water Action's scorecard.


  • SD 9- Nancy Skinner (D)- Won the general by 62%. Came first in the primary with 47.9%. A social justice advocate, energy and climate change trailblazer, and accomplished trailblazer, Nancy Skinner recently completed three terms in the State Assembly representing East Bay cities along the I-80 corridor from Hercules to Oakland. In the California Assembly, Ms. Skinner served as chair of three key committees: Budget, Rules, and Natural Resources. A climate champion, Ms. Skinner carried measures that raised the net metering cap, spearheaded grid-scale energy storage, and provided incentives for low carbon vehicles. Ms. Skinner began her public service in 1984 as the first student to be elected to the Berkeley City Council. There she introduced the nation's first polystyrene foam container ban and co- founded an international association of cities for sustainability ICLEI. She is currently an Energy and Transportation Policy Fellow at the UC Davis Institute for Energy, Environment, and the Economy. Ms. Skinner receives the support of numerous other environmental organizations and has consistently been rated as a clean water champion on Clean Water Action's California scorecard.


  • SD 15- Jim Beall (D).  Won the general by 63%. Came first in the primary with 49.2%. Senator Beall has served in political office for over 30 years, starting with the San Jose City Council, then the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors, and moving on to the state legislature. As an Assembly member, Mr. Beall currently sits on the select committee on climate change and AB 32 implementation. He has the full support of Senate Democrats and numerous allied environmental organizations. Senator Beall has consistently ranked as a clean water champion on the Clean Water Action scorecard. Because Senator Beall has repeatedly refused to support oil industry efforts to block California's transition to low carbon fuels and overall reductions in oil use,  the oil industry has pumped more than $300,000 into an effort to defeat his re-election campaign.


  • AD 14-  Mae Torlakson (D). Lost in the general to Tim Grayson by 38% to 62%. Came first in the primary with 32.5%. Elected member of the Ambrose Recreation and Parks Board, Ms. Torlakson is also the wife of Tom Torlakson, a clean water champion who has consistently voted for clean water priorities. Ms. Torlakson also participates in the Friends of the Delta Trail where she has been a leader in raising funds for trail access and providing opportunities for low income urban residents to recreate and access wildlands. As an educator, her key concerns are education and access to parks and open space, and she strongly favors policies that would protect the Delta and support environmental justice.


  • AD 16-  Cheryl Cook-Kallio (D). Lost in the general to Catharine Baker by 44% to 55%. Came second in the primary with 46.2%. Ms. Cook-Kallio has served for eight years on the Pleasant City Council where she has fought to increase affordable housing, expand parkland, and implement curbside recycling. Her two highest environmental priorities are climate change and drought. She strongly favors curbing greenhouse gas emissions by halving petroleum consumption and increasing renewable energy resources. She does not support the twin tunnels, and will advocate instead to focus on groundwater recharge, water recycling and other local water resiliency measures, and ensuring all Californians have access to clean drinking water.


  • AD 27- Ash Kalra (D). Won the general by 52%. Came second in the primary with 18.8%. Currently a member of the San Jose Board of Supervisors, Ash Kalra was named the CLCV Silicon Valley Legislator of the year in 2015. He has spearheaded initiatives to make investments in public transit and reduce automobile use, supported habitat conservation, favored clean energy investment, and spoken out in favor of a ban on fracking in California. He fought for tough emissions regulations for a cement plant in Cupertino while participating as a member of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.


  • AD 30- Karina Cervantez-Alejo (D). Lost the general to Anna Caballero by 36% to 64%. Came second in the primary with 25.1%. A member of the Watsonville City Council since 2012 and Mayor in 2014, Ms. Caballero-Alejo currently sits on the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. She has also served on the city's planning commission and Parks and Recreation committee, and Santa Cruz Democratic Central Committee. Ms. Caballero-Alejo prioritizes economic development and education and on the environment is most concerned about drinking water protection for small communities. She is the wife of Assembly Member Luis Alejo, who has consistently scored above 90% on Clean Water Action's scorecard and is a "clean water champion." She has the support of the State Democratic party and key state legislators.