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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
Santa Clara County, CA June 3, 2008 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
Member, Democratic Party County Central Committee; County of Santa Clara; State Assembly District 24

The questions were prepared by the Leagues of Women Voters of Santa Clara County and asked of all candidates for this office.     See below for questions on , ,

Click on a name for candidate information.   See also more information about this contest.

1. What would you do to increase the number of voters registered in your party?

Answer from Jacqueline I. Heffner:

Continue to work with the Santa Clara County Democratic Party's Communication Committee, continuing to send out newsletters to interested Democrats.

Help to organize Voter Registration tabling at all local events, festivals and other gatherings of large numbers of people.

Answer from Clark Williams:

Throughout my many years as a Democratic activist, I have actively volunteered to register new voters - especially among marginalized communities without easy access to voter registration materials. Yet, in spite of these grassroots efforts, there are hundreds of thousands of eligible Democratic voters in Santa Clara County who remain unable to participate in elections simply because they are not registered to vote.

Ultimately, I believe that the only way we will get to a goal of 100 percent voter registration is through universal voter registration -- establishing registration as a mutual responsibility of citizens and their government. By allowing California youth to pre-register at the age of 16 and by directing the Secretary of State to coordinate automatic voter registration with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Franchise Tax Board, we will see millions of disenfranchised Californians actively engaged in our state's political system.

Answer from Justin Carvalho:

We need to start registering voters at a young age. A few years ago as a active college Democrat, one of my main tasks was tabling at our campus as often as possible to register college students. At the time many thought it was a futile effort as there was little being offered by the political system to get these young people excited.

That all has changed. We are in the process of a competitive Democratic primary that has excited young people all across the country. This leaves us with a small window of opportunity and we as a party need to take advantage. With the excitement brought about by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, we need to be proactive is registering students at college campus'. Additionally we need to work with Silicon Valley Companies in organizing voter registration drives as there are many young professionals in their 20s who are not yet registered to vote.

Answer from Jim Brady:

As Volunteer Coordinator in my first term in office, I organized Voter Registration activities across the county. I register voters in my precinct, support other voter registration activities, and hold voter registration events at my family's church and school.

Answer from David Cohen:

I have spent hours registering voters at festivals, malls, and in my neighborhood. My primary goal as an elected member of the central committee is to increase voter turnout by registering more voters and communicating with them once they are registered. By building and maintaining systems to keep track of volunteers in our county, I help recruit people to staff our voter registration activities. I will continue to encourage everyone to be registered to vote and to carry voter reg forms with me wherever I go.

2. What would you do to help the campaigns of candidates of your party?

Answer from David Cohen:

As Communications Director of the Democratic Party in Santa Clara County, I provide the infrastructure through which candidates can promote their campaigns. I make sure that endorsed candidates are publicized to the voters through press releases and our website, I also walk precincts, make phone calls, and advise candidates on their campaigns.

Answer from Jim Brady:

The County Central Committee has the power of endorsement to lend official support to candidates. As a member of the committee, I review the recommendations of the endorsement committee and temper those with my own experience and knowledge of the candidates. In addition, I support candidates both monetarily and through phone-banking or precinct-walking. Also, through my church I organize candidates' forums that allow the voters to compare each candidate's position on key issues and make an informed choice.

Answer from Jacqueline I. Heffner:

I walk precincts, phone bank, help with communication, write letters, post videos and also donate small amounts of money for our Democratic candidates.

Answer from Clark Williams:

Having once run for public office, I know how volunteers can make the difference between winning or losing.

I have long been an active campaign volunteer. As a result of my longstanding Democratic activism, in 2006, I was awarded the Madge Overhouse "Volunteer of the Year" Award from the Santa Clara County Democratic Party.

In addition to precinct-walking and phone banking, I am also a significant financial contributor to many Democratic campaigns and will continue to utilize my leadership role in the Democratic Party to raise money for progressive political candidates.

Answer from Justin Carvalho:

I have always been an active volunteer at the grassroots level and I will continue to take this role as a Central Committee member. I am always ready to take whatever time necessary to precinct walk or phone bank for candidates I believe in. For the upcoming Fall election, I am absolutely committed to putting in hours for our Democratic Presidential candidate. Additionally we need to ensure that Congressman Jerry McNerney is re-elected. Our county party in particular must play a large role as Santa Clara is part of CD-11. Whether it's in Morgan Hill or traveling to cities like San Ramon or Tracy, I will commit to making sure Congressman McNerney is re-elected.

We can't forget about candidates at the local level. I will also put in the time to help our endorsed candidates for the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and the San Jose, Campbell, Saratoga, and Santa Clara City Councils.

3. Why did you become a member of this political party?

Answer from Justin Carvalho:

My interest in politics began as a high school student. During the Clinton administration, I was aware our country was in an age of peace and prosperity with our economy going strong and a stable post-Cold war foreign policy. That is why I couldn't believe the Republican Congress went to such lengths to impeach a President for a scandal that didn't exist.

Additionally I was motivated by the excitement of the 2000 election, very much hoping that Al Gore would carry on the Clinton legacy of a solid economy and being shocked that many in our country chose to go another direction.

As a college student I officially joined by Young Democrats chapter at CSU Northridge. I realized that my priorities were very much aligned with the Democratic Party.

I am a major supporter of public education and ensuring that we have federal aid programs in place to help young people go to college.

The environment has always been a priority of mine. It's take that our county and state step up to initiate green initiatives as have taken place in the cities of Palo Alto and Sunnyvale. Global warming is a real threat and we as a party must make sure environmental protection is at the top of our agenda.

Answer from Jim Brady:

I became a Democrat because I grew up in a Democratic family. I remain a Democrat because the social justice values I was brought up with both at home and in my church align most closely with the ideals of the Democratic Party

Answer from David Cohen:

The Democratic Party is the only one dedicated to providing a level playing field in our society. We feel that everyone should have equal chances and those who have been successful have an interest in making sure that nobody gets left behind. We fight to offer everyone a quality education, access to health care, and jobs that pay a living wage. Our party also stands for preserving our natural resources so that our children and their children will have the same opportunities as I did to experience the natural wonders of the world.

Answer from Clark Williams:

When I was 18 years old, I registered as a Democrat because I shared the party's core values of promoting economic opportunity, civil rights and honest government.

Today, as I stand committed to affordable health care, energy independence, improved public education and economic prosperity for all Americans, I remain a proud and loyal Democrat.

Answer from Jacqueline I. Heffner:

From the time I was a child my ideals, values and philosophy has matched very closely those of our Democratic Party. I cannot imagine being anything other then a Democrat.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' responses are not edited or corrected by the League.

The order of the candidates is random and changes daily. Candidates who did not respond are not listed on this page.

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Created: July 31, 2008 13:35 PDT
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