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The State Assembly chambers are shown with the Voter Hub logo overlaid.
Hector Amezcua
/
Associated Press

Primary Election 2024: State Assembly races

Get general information about the election, news coverage, an interactive ballot guide, and results on election day.

What does a state assemblymember do?

The California State Assembly is the lower chamber of the California Legislature. There are 80 members of the state assembly, each representing roughly half a million people. Every two years, all 80 seats in the assembly are up for election. Assembly members may hold a seat in the legislature for a maximum of 12 years.

Assemblymembers work to pass public policy bills and set the state's budget and taxes. To find your state assembly district, search for your address here.

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What issues is the State Assembly facing?

Budget

One of the biggest issues facing the state is the budget deficit. Gov. Gavin Newsom put the deficit for the 2024-2025 budget at $38 billion, but the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) puts the deficit at $58 billion.

The governor has put forth a proposal to dig the state out of the hole, but he said raising taxes on the ultra-wealthy was off the table. The LAO said Newsom's budget proposal has "strengths and weaknesses."

The budget will likely impact what the Legislature does for the year, including which programs or social services to cut. By law, the Legislature needs to pass the budget by June 15. California's fiscal year starts on July 1.

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Homelessness

California is the nation's most populous state, and it also has the highest number of unsheltered residents — about 49% of the nation's unsheltered individuals live in California. During the pandemic, the state started Project Homekey with funding from the federal government's Coronavirus Aid Relief Fund (CARES Act) to convert vacant hotels and motels into permanent housing.

Earlier this year, the governor announced that 15,000 housing units were created through Project Homekey, exhausting the $3.5 billion allocated. But homelessness remains a big concern, with some cities passing laws that advocates have called punitive toward homelessness.

With the looming budget deficit, the Legislature will need to determine which, if any, homeless services funding to cut. There is a proposition on the ballot this March to funnel more money into housing and treatment for people experiencing homelessness.

Housing

The lack of affordable housing has been cited as a major cause of homelessness in the state. While the Legislature has made it easier to build more housing, there are still challenges with homeowners and municipalities worrying about lowering property value.

The state has made it more difficult for local governments to restrict housing and zoning plans that are seen as unreasonable as long as some units are set aside for affordable housing. Even with those changes there is still not enough housing in the state.

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Who are the candidates for District 74?

Laura Davies, a candidate for the 74th Assembly District, poses for a portrait in this undated campaign photo.
Laura Davies campaign
Laura Davies, a candidate for the 74th Assembly District, poses for a portrait in this undated campaign photo.

Laurie Davies

    • Incumbent Republican and endorsed party candidate
    • First elected in 2020. Defeated Democrat Chris Duncan in 2022
    • Owner/operator of a wedding planning business
    • Formerly served as councilmember and appointed mayor of Laguna Niguel

    Closer look

    Laurie Davies is a Republican who said she can work with the Democratic majority to sponsor bills.

    Housing

    On the subject of the cost of housing, she said California needs to bring down the cost of building a house by eliminating some developer fees, which she said are passed on to the consumer. Davies also is in favor of “streamlining” California’s environmental regulations, under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Government has done this by stepping in to speed up the review period for some construction projects.

    Homelessness

    On homelessness, Davies said she supports an audit of the way California state government has spent money to reduce homelessness, saying it’s not clear that the billions of dollars the state has spent to reduce homelessness has done much good. Also, she supports California’s CARE Act, which allows families to become “conservators” to care for and speak for mentally ill homeless people. The CARE act allows court-ordered “voluntary” treatment.

    Budget

    This year the Legislative Analyst’s Office says the state faces a $58 billion budget shortfall. Like most candidates, Davies was not specific on what should be cut. She named after-school programs and funding for Habitat for Humanity as programs that should maintain their funding. She noted that only two years ago, California had a nearly $100 billion budget surplus, and more money should have been put in the state’s rainy day fund.

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    Chris Duncan, a candidate for the 74th Assembly District, poses for a portrait in this undated campaign photo.
    Christ Duncan campaign
    Chris Duncan, a candidate for the 74th Assembly District, poses for a portrait in this undated campaign photo.

    Chris Duncan

    • Democratic challenger and endorsed party candidate.
    • Former federal prosecutor for Customs and Border Enforcement
    • Member of an LA-based law firm
    • San Clemente city councilmember and former appointed mayor

    Closer look

    Duncan said in the California legislature, which has a Democratic supermajority in both houses, his Republican opponent is not being heard.

    Housing

    He said California simply needs more housing. He said one approach to a solution is to build more housing communities for seniors, adding that the 74th District has an aging population. If seniors can downsize to senior housing communities that would free up single family homes for families to live in. He said he favors a tax break for middle income families, making them better able to afford homes.

    Homelessness

    He said the homelessness crisis is a product of issues stemming from mental health and drug abuse. He said cycling people through shelters and hotel rooms is not adequate. He said we need to focus on underlying problems and disabilities. Beyond that there needs to be a law enforcement solution also, preventing people from camping in public places.

    Budget

    On the budget, and the state’s $68 billion shortfall, Duncan said he doesn’t have a fix to the budget. But he said California has to fund programs that have a tangible return. He said he wants to protect funding for programs that address climate change and climate stabilization.

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    Who are the candidates for District 75?

    Primary Election 2024: State Assembly races

    Carl DeMaio, candidate for Assembly District 75, poses for a portrait in this undated campaign photo.
    Carl DeMaio campaign
    Carl DeMaio, candidate for Assembly District 75, poses for a portrait in this undated campaign photo.

    Carl DeMaio

    • Republican Carl DeMaio served on the San Diego City Council from 2008 to 2012
    • Since 2012 he has run unsuccessfully for San Diego Mayor and multiple Congressional seats
    • DeMaio serves as chairman of Reform California, a group that advocates for “taking back our state from the far-Left politicians and special interests”

      Closer look

      Top issues in District 75
      DeMaio said people are fleeing California in record numbers because our politicians have failed us on virtually every important issue. His top three priorities will be:

      1. Secure the border and repeal the Sanctuary State law
      2. Protect Prop 13 and block unfair and costly tax hikes like the Mileage Tax
      3. Require Voter ID to restore the integrity of our elections

      On why he's the best candidate
      "Voters know from my work as Chairman of Reform California that I’m a principled fighter who is willing to take on special interests and both political parties to get things done. We’ve built a statewide grassroots movement dedicated to shaking up the political system and making government work for the people — not the special interests."

      On how he'll ensure the needs of District 75 are understood and addressed in the Legislature
      "Voters in the 75th District do not feel they have a voice. They see Democrats imposing insane and damaging policies, and they see Republican politicians either as unwilling or unable to put up a fight. When elected, I will give a voice to the voiceless — and make sure that my constituents’ views are heard loud and clear in Sacramento."

      Key Endorsements: Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Reform California

      Website: https://www.carldemaio.com

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      A headshot of Christie Dougherty is shown in this undated photo.
      Courtesy of Christie Dougherty
      A headshot of Christie Dougherty is shown in this undated photo.

      Christie Dougherty

      • Democrat Christie Dougherty is an educator who previously served in the Navy, according to Ballotpedia
      • She earned a bachelor’s degree and graduate degree from San Diego State University

      Closer look

      Top 3 issues in District 75

      "Assembly District 75 is fairly large and diverse and I look forward to working with and meeting with residents. What one area considers a priority may not be a priority for another. If I were to list three important issues for District 75, I would list border security, homelessness, and drug abuse as they are linked, and the high cost of living to include affordable housing and fire insurance availability."

      On why she is the best candidate to represent District 75

      "I believe I am the best candidate to represent District 75 because I am going to look at each piece of legislation and determine how it will affect the residents of District 75 through the eyes of a resident, not a Democrat or Republican. I am not endorsed by anyone because I do not feel endorsements mean much other than accepting money. I am willing to work with others to get the job done and refuse to resort to scare tactics or blame the other party for lack of progress."

      On how she will ensure the needs of District 75 are understood and addressed in the Legislature

      "I have no problem serving on committees and working with experts in the field of whatever current legislation we are looking at. If we are talking about border security, I want to meet with Border Patrol. I want to see what the research shows us works best — do we need more people, and better technology, to expand our offices to handle the paperwork and long lines? I'm a teacher, I rely on information and I don't trust anyone who says they have the answer without meeting with experts and looking at data and research. Anything else is a waste of time and money, in addition to being a scare tactic or grandstanding."

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      Jack Fernandes

      Republican Jack Fernandes earned a bachelor’s degree from Claremont McKenna College and a law degree from UCLA School of Law, according to his campaign website. He helped found multiple biotech companies, including Machine Bio, which focuses on protein synthesis and purification.

      Fernandes did not respond to KPBS’ candidate questionnaire.

      Website: https://www.fernandesforassembly.com/

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      Joy Frew, candidate for Assembly District 75, poses for a portrait in this undated campaign photo.
      Joy Frew campaign
      Joy Frew, candidate for Assembly District 75, poses for a portrait in this undated campaign photo.

      Joy Frew

      • Democrat Joy Frew spent her career working for the U.S. Treasury Department, Los Angeles County and the state of Washington
      • She later went on to found the volunteer advocacy group Fallbrook Climate Action Team

      Closer look

      Top issues in District 75
      Frew listed the following:

      1. Climate Change
      2. Affordable Housing
      3. Health Care

      On why she's the best candidate
      "I know how government works, having spent my career with the U.S. Treasury Department, L.A. County, and the State of Washington. I have been a leader in climate change issues for years — plus writing a free weekly district newsletter covering housing, health care and local issues. I already know and confer with experts in these fields. I am not a politician making vague promises of future action. I already do this serious work now as a volunteer."

      On how she'll ensure the needs of District 75 are understood and addressed in the Legislature
      "I will schedule regular town halls throughout the district to talk with my constituents. I will coordinate with other legislators in the Assembly working on similar issues to pass effective legislation. Finally, I will put out a regular district newsletter to report on progress and to ask for feedback."

      Key endorsements: Health Care For All – California, Center for Freethought Equality

      Website: https://frewforassembly.com

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      Andrew Hayes, candidate for Assembly District 75, poses for a portrait in this undated campaign photo.
      Andrew Hayes campaign
      Andrew Hayes, candidate for Assembly District 75, poses for a portrait in this undated campaign photo.

      Andrew Hayes

      Closer look

      Top issues in District 75
      Hayes listed the following:

      1. Cost of Living: California is too expensive for the working families in my district. My commitment is to lower taxes (like the gas tax), make government efficient and effective, and ease the financial burden on our district's residents.
      2. Reduce Inflation: Inflation is out of control, especially in California. I will enact policies that stop inflation from rising and make it affordable for working families again.
      3. Public Safety: Crime is on the rise across our state, and something must be done. Rampant homelessness, escalating crime rates, and disproportionate placement of Sexually Violent Predators (SVPs) in my district demand an urgent response. I will work closely with law enforcement to address these issues head-on — that’s why I’m endorsed by police and firefighters.

      On why he's the best candidate

      "I was born and raised in this district and my roots here run deep. As President of the Lakeside School Board, I have served the families of East County and have seen how the problems in Sacramento affect us here in San Diego County. I’m endorsed by hundreds of elected officials, organizations, and community members who know I will be a problem solver in Sacramento."

      On how he'll ensure the needs of District 75 are understood and addressed in the Legislature

      "I will actively communicate with constituents by holding regular meetings with them and community leaders to let them know what is happening at the Capitol and to hear their concerns. My office will be efficient and staffed by skilled professionals dedicated to listening and effectively resolving constituent issues."

      Key Endorsements: California Republican Party, the Republican Party of San Diego County

      Website: https://www.electandrewhayes.com/

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      Kevin Juza, candidate for the 75th Assembly District, poses for a portrait in this undated photo.
      Kevin Juza
      Kevin Juza, candidate for the 75th Assembly District, poses for a portrait in this undated photo.

      Kevin Juza

      • Democrat Kevin Juza currently runs a sales and leadership coaching business called The Tenacious Leader
      • In 2018, he ran an unsuccessful campaign for a seat on the Poway Unified School District board, according to Ballotpedia

      Closer look

      Top issues in District 75
      "Assembly District 75 is facing critical issues such as the lack of affordable housing, bearing the brunt of climate change, and crumbling infrastructure. All of these issues are the result of ineffective representatives who have failed to bring real resources home from Sacramento."

      On why he's the best candidate
      "My top priority is to bring real resources home from Sacramento to help AD75’s working families. This means investing in projects here that will provide well-paying union jobs and opportunities that take advantage of the potential of our district. While my opponents are busy with partisan politics and infighting, I will be working with the leadership in Sacramento to ensure they understand the value of investments in the people of AD75."

      On how he'll ensure the needs of District 75 are understood and addressed in the Legislature
      "I am a small business owner with a background in sales, and making Sacramento take notice of the needs of AD75 is a sales job. Our district has long been ignored because for decades our leaders haven’t figured out how to convince Sacramento to invest in our communities. I plan to use my lifetime of experience in sales to ensure that Sacramento is held accountable to our local communities, because that is the only way to make sure our taxes are working for us."

      Key Endorsements: California Democratic Party, California Labor Federation

      Website: https://www.kevinjuza.com/

      Primary Election 2024: Who's running for California Assembly District 75?

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      Who are the candidates for District 76?

      Kristie Bruce-Lane in an undated campaign photo.
      Kristie Bruce-Lane
      Kristie Bruce-Lane in an undated campaign photo.

      Kristi Bruce-Lane

        • Listed on the ballot as a businesswoman and victims advocate
        • Registered Republican
        • Lost to Brian Maienschein for this seat in 2022

        Closer look

        Kristie Bruce-Lane did not respond to several calls and emails seeking comments. The following are summaries from her policy statement on her website.

        Housing and Homelessness

        Citing the state's high cost of living, Bruce-Lane said she will work to lower the tax burden. She also criticized the state's housing-first policy to solve the homelessness crisis. She said it has failed.

        She said her work with children experiencing homelessness allows her to understands the complexity and root causes of homelessness. She supports "enforcement of our laws and will work to address and treat addiction/substance abuse, mental health, and poverty in our communities."

        Public Safety

        Bruce-Lane said violent crime has been rising across the country. She supports "prevention programs for our at-risk youth as well rehabilitation programs for those re-entering our communities." Recent data from the FBI's shows that violent crime has been decreasing nationwide.

        She also said San Diego is "less safe because of soft-on-crime policies." The county's data shows that crime is decreasing in San Diego.

        Education

        Bruce-Lane said a high percentage of third-grade San Diego students are not meeting the reading and writing requirements, and she criticized the state's "educational bureaucracy and Sacramento politicians focus on placing blame and not educating our children." Bruce-Lane said she supports vocational education programs to give students trade career options besides college.

        Environment
        A former director of the Olivenhain Municipal Water District, Bruce-Lane said she is committed to addressing worsening drought and wildfires in the region. She emphasizes innovation, conservation, and policies for renewable energy, sustainable infrastructure and water management.

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        Darshana Patel in an undated campaign photo.
        Campaign photo
        Darshana Patel in an undated campaign photo.

        Darshana Patel

          • Listed on the ballot as a scientist and school board member
          • Registered Democrat
          • Endorsed by the San Diego County Democratic Party

          Closer look

          Housing and homelessness

          Patel said housing and homelessness go hand-in-hand.

          "We need to deliver a strong housing stock to meet the rising demands for our working families and to support small businesses. As we know, our working families are the core of a thriving economy, and we need to make sure that we have housing available for them."

          She said would like to work with community groups to address homelessness and look into a housing-first model.

          "We're facing a statewide crisis in housing and the housing availability. So we will need to work closely together with community groups, environmental groups, and developers to make sure we're meeting the rising demand so that our working families and our small businesses can thrive in our community because that is how our economy gets stronger."

          Education

          As a child of immigrants and as a mother and a school board president, Patel said she understands the importance of education and will work to make sure that California has a high-quality public education system.

          "Public education is the backbone to a stable democracy. So, I'm fully in support of public education and want to make sure that despite declining budget shortfalls, that we're able to fully fund public education. And this ties back to the housing issue. We need to make sure that we have enough housing for our working families, for our educators, so that they can continue to educate our children."

          LGBTQ+ rights

          Patel said the issue of students' pronouns and parental rights are very divisive, but making school safe for students is her top priority.

          "My policies would lean towards making sure that we create a safe, stable learning environment for our children. If our children aren't safe, they aren't learning."

          As for parental rights, she said it's important that parents talk to their children.

          "It's definitely important for parents to have good, open communication with their children."

          Climate Change

          "As a research scientist, I can understand at a very deep level the issues surrounding climate change. I'm the only candidate endorsed by the Sierra Club, so I know that I'll be able to work collaboratively with the experts in the field and build those effective policies."

          Patel said we need to update our water management policy at reservoirs to ensure that they are running at maximum efficiency.

          "So that they can discharge water when appropriate and not based on average cycles, which is how they're currently discharging water. We need to look at putting in our electric charging stations in our higher density housing developments when we have apartments and condos that will also help bridge and reach our climate change goals that we have in California with electrification."

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          Joseph Rocha in an undated campaign photo.
          Campaign photo
          Joseph Rocha in an undated campaign photo.

          Joseph Rocha

          • Listed on the ballot as a Marine officer and attorney
          • Registered Democrat
          • Lost to Brian Jones for state Senate District 40 in 2022

          Closer look

          Housing and homelessness

          Housing is a major issue in California, especially in San Diego, where people are priced out of living here. Rocha said it's a supply issue.

          "We know that it's easier to keep people in their homes than it is to help them off the streets. So, increasing that supply has to be our focus. And we do that by reducing red tape up in Sacramento. We do that by having bold leadership that is committed to making sure that we're building the housing that's needed for our working families."

          He said the older generations are starting to see that there is practically no ability for their children to be able to live in the state and that their ability to stay here is also limited.

          "I think housing is No. 1. I know it's repetitive, but again, it touches on everything. It touches on homelessness. It touches on our tax revenue. It touches on the future and security of anyone choosing to stay in the state of California."

          Reproductive freedom and LGBTQ+ rights

          The 76th District includes Escondido, where two teachers sued the Escondido Union School District over the district policy to protect student's privacy and not disclosing their preferred pronouns without their consent. The teachers said doing so violated their sincerely held religious beliefs.

          Rocha said this issue is very personal to him.

          "For me, the answer starts with my own personal experience. I grew up in a very abusive home, and it's the fact that I came out as gay that was the catalyst to them actually kicking me out and me living on my own through the last year of high school. So, this is a children's safety issue. You really have to ask yourself, if a child is afraid to tell their parent who they are, then what kind of condition are they living in?"

          Regarding reproductive rights, Rocha said it needs to go beyond access to abortion.

          "It means privacy protection. It means protection from prosecution from other states."

          Public Safety

          "We want to reduce gun violence in the state. We're at a point now where you can't be sure that when a loved one goes to a grocery store or goes to church that they'll come back."

          As a Marine prosecutor, Rocha said he has an understanding of the criminal justice system and will work to address the root cause of the crime and enforce gun safety laws.

          "I think that's something that is nonpartisan and everyone cares about. I think that as a Marine Corps officer, I'm able to enter spaces and have conversations about gun safety that doesn't threaten people's Second Amendment, but make sure that our children are safe in schools and that our families can come home to us from everyday tasks."

          Climate Change

          "The Department of Defense years ago had already rated climate change as a top national security issue. That's how serious it is."

          While there are things that each individual could do to offset climate change, Rocha said we also need to hold major corporations accountable as well.

          "I think that there's a lot of made-up fear around holding big business and corporations accountable, that they will leave the state of California or that it'll hurt them in some way and trickle down to us. When in reality, I think that we are the fifth-largest economy in the world. People want to play here. Business wants to play here. And so I think we need to not be afraid to hold bad actors accountable and have a standard of conduct for those that do business in the state of California, especially if it's affecting our voters."

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          Who are the candidates for District 77?

          State Assembly District 77 candidate Tasha Boerner poses in an undated photo
          Tasha Boerner Horvath for Assembly 2024 campaign
          State Assembly District 77 candidate Tasha Boerner poses in an undated photo

          Tasha Boerner

            • Held State Assembly District 77 seat since 2022
            • Registered Democrat
            • Top priorities are environment, health care, jobs and housing

            Closer look

            Tasha Boerner said her goals for the district remain the same as they have been for the last two years.

            She is a fourth-generation San Diego County resident running for re-election to State Assembly District 77.

            "My top priorities in my district are really around the environment and ensuring people have opportunities. And when I say opportunities I mean, 'Do they have good jobs, do they have healthcare, do they have a place to live,'" she told KPBS.

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            James Browne speaks into a microphone in this undated image.
            James Browne 2024 Campaign
            James Browne speaks into a microphone in this undated image.

            James Browne

            • Listed on the ballot as a Entrepreneur/Financial Advisor
            • Registered Republican
            • Top priorities include homelessness, housing, education and the environment

            Closer look

            Browne said he understands the struggles of poverty from his own experience.

            “I think that the issue with a lot of the politicians now is they were never homeless, they couldn't even relate to being at the bottom," he told KPBS. "And you're just going to throw money at something and hope that it changes rather than provide the opportunities to help people that are in the situation to get out.”

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            Henny Kupferstein smiles in this undated image.
            Henny Kupferstein campaign
            Henny Kupferstein smiles in this undated image.

            Henny Kupferstein

              • Listed on the ballot as an Autism researcher
              • Registered Democrat
              • Campaigning to provide a voice for the neurodivergent — she has autism herself

              Closer look

              Kupferstein said her top priorities include financial accountability and transparency for government program spending.

              "If they're not publishing successful outcomes and if they have a surplus, then it needs to be legislated where it goes to. If they don't have a surplus, if they close out in a deficit, we have to see what's going on," she told KPBS.

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              Who are the candidates for District 78?

              Assemblymember for District 78 Chris Ward is shown in this undated photo.
              Chris Ward State Assembly campaign
              Assemblymember for District 78 Chris Ward is shown in this undated photo.

              Chris Ward

              • Incumbent, running unopposed
              • Registered Democrat
              • Endorsed by Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria, as well as the California Democratic Party

              Visit his website for more information.

              Who are the candidates for District 79?

              Primary Election 2024: State Assembly races

              Colin Parent stands near the trolley in this undated image.
              Colin Parent for State Assembly Campaign
              Colin Parent stands near the trolley in this undated image.

              Colin Parent

              • Councilmember in La Mesa and CEO of Circulate San Diego
              • Registered Democrat
              • Endorsed by a wide range of local Democrats like Congressman Scott Peters and Assemblymember David Alvarez

              Closer look

              Parent told KPBS his top priorities for the district include homelessness, affordable housing and road repairs.

              “We need to give people homes, we need to give them services, we need to get them off the streets. And then housing affordability being number two. The rent is way too high," he said.

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              LaShae Sharp-Collins leans against a mural in this undated image.
              Sharp-Collins for Assembly 2024
              /
              Sharp-Collins for Assembly 2024
              LaShae Sharp-Collins leans against a mural in this undated image.

              LaShae Sharp-Collins

              • Adjunct professor at San Diego State University
              • Registered Democrat
              • Endorsed by the California Democratic Party and current District 79 Assemblymember Akilah Weber

              Closer look

              Sharp-Collins said she has lived in the district her whole life.

              Her top priorities include addressing inequities in education, health care, housing, homelessness and environmental justice.

              “What better person to have in this office, who really has walked a mile in their shoes," she told KPBS. "Because I know what racial discrimination is."

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              Racquel Vasquez smiles in this undated image.
              Racquel Vasquez campaign
              Racquel Vasquez smiles in this undated image.

              Racquel Vasquez

                • Mayor of Lemon Grove since 2016
                • Registered Democrat
                • First Black mayor in the San Diego County

                Closer look

                Vasquez told KPBS her priorities are focused around housing and homelessness, the economy and public safety.

                “My top priorities are housing and homelessness, jobs and the economy and public safety. And as mayor I've successfully addressed these areas on a local, municipal level," she said.

                Related
                Who's running for California State Assembly District 79?

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                Who are the candidates for District 80?

                Primary Election 2024: State Assembly races

                David Alvarez, candidate for State Assembly District 80, poses for a portrait in this undated campaign photo.
                David Alvarez campaign
                David Alvarez, candidate for State Assembly District 80, poses for a portrait in this undated campaign photo.

                David Alvarez

                  • Democratic incumbent and endorsed party candidate in the 80th District.
                  • Former member of the San Diego City Council
                  • Born in San Diego
                  • Former owner of Causa Consulting

                  Closer look

                  David Alvarez was first elected to the 80th District two years ago in a special election. He said he’s proud of his efforts to get money for a new Chula Vista library and set aside land for a college or university in San Diego’s South Bay.

                  Housing

                  On the high price of housing in California, he cited his record promoting affordable housing. Alvarez co-authored a bill, AB 1449, that would shield fully affordable housing developments from environmental regulations under CEQA. He said the state needs to take a strong hand in housing policy, requiring wealthy coastal regions to allow affordable housing and offering subsidies so nonprofits can build new homes below cost.

                  Budget

                  Alvarez said this year, showing a $58 billion budget deficit, needs to be a year of accountability, when it comes to spending on homeless programs. Spending needs to be applied to programs that have shown to be effective.

                  On the budget, Alvarez avoids specifics when talking about what should be cut. He said he wants to prevent teacher layoffs. Alvarez serves on the Assembly Budget Committee. He said the spending shortfalls for California are projected into the coming two years, so holding the line on new spending has to be ongoing.

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                  Michael Williams, candidate for the 80th Assembly District, poses for a portrait in this undated photo.
                  Mike Mains
                  /
                  Michael Williams campaign
                  Michael Williams, a candidate for State Assembly District 80, poses for a portrait in this undated campaign photo.

                  Michael Williams

                  • Republican challenger and endorsed party candidate
                  • Retired naval intelligence officer
                  • Counter-terrorism specialist for the FBI
                  • Served as advisor to two San Diego City Council Districts

                  Closer look

                  Michael Williams, who lives in Imperial Beach, said he was recruited by the Republican Party to run in the 80th District.

                  Housing

                  On the cost of housing, Williams said he believes in the power of the marketplace. He said nobody has a “constitutional right” to live in San Diego and his own kids have moved to Texas to find a more affordable place to live. He said if there is a demand for housing, including affordable housing, the private sector will respond to that demand, provided they are allowed to build housing.

                  Homelessness

                  On homelessness, he said the problem is related to the drug epidemic and it can foster crime. Coming from a military background, he said homeless communities can learn from bootcamp. He cites an example the late Father Joe Carroll of St. Vincent de Paul, who provided housing and training for the homeless but had very strict rules for their behavior. He said San Diego needs to enforce the law and sometimes compel people to take advantage of services.

                  Budget

                  On California’s overdrawn budget, he said governments need to start with a zero-based budget and only fund programs they can afford. He said creating new problems can come with unintended consequences. He gives the example of allowing more density in neighborhoods, which leads to more money that must be spent on infrastructure.

                  Primary Election 2024: Who's running for California Assembly District 80?

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                  Important

                  🗳️ Vote-by-mail ballots begin to be sent to all active California registered voters starting Feb 3. The last day to register to vote is Feb. 20. (If voters miss this deadline they can still register and vote in person at any vote center location.) March 5 is the statewide primary election day but many vote centers are open prior to election day. Vote center and drop-off locations close at 8 p.m. on election day.

                  Find more guides like this one in KPBS' Voter Hub.

                  As a North County multimedia producer, Alexander Nguyen creates content for all of KPBS' platforms, including the web and social media.

                  As a general assignment reporter, I report on a wide range of different issues that affect the diverse neighborhoods of San Diego County including business, health, arts & culture and politics.
                  What are issues affecting San Diego's most vulnerable?

                  As a member of the KPBS I-Team, I hold San Diego's powerful accountable and examine the intersection of state and local government. 
                  A journalist with 30 years of experience, Tom covers science and technology stories for KPBS' platforms. He has received recognition for his outstanding work in hosting and public affairs reporting from the Unity Awards, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, and the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
                  The 2024 primary election is March 5. Find in-depth reporting on each race to help you understand what's on your ballot.