This is an archive of a past election.
See for current information.
LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
San Mateo, Santa Clara County, CA June 3, 2008 Election
Smart Voter

William J. "Bill" James
Answers Questions

Candidate for
Member, Democratic Party County Central Committee; County of Santa Clara; State Assembly District 21


The questions were prepared by the Leagues of Women Voters of Santa Clara County and asked of all candidates for this office.
Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).

Questions & Answers

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

Our county party and affiliated clubs do a pretty good job of giving people the opportunity to register as Democrats, for example by organizing Democratic Party tables at local festivals and other events. That is both a service to voters who are new to the state/county or have moved and an important part of our outreach efforts. What we need to do a better job at, I think, is convincing young people and "independents" to register as Democrats, rather than as members of third parties or, more commonly, indicating that they "decline to state" a party affiliation. Many young people are used to getting information themselves, via the Internet, and feel they don't need the party to tell them who to vote for. Also, many find appealing the idea of being an "independent" thinker, which of course those of us who are in the Party know is not at all inconsistent with being a member of our Party. The large and growing number of "Decline to State" voters makes it very difficult for Democratic candidates to target their outreach efforts at the right voters, since they have no way of knowing which of the many "Decline to State" voters may be receptive to their message and progressive values. We need to bring the progressives among these "independent" voters into the party fold. We need their energy, perspective, and ideas, as well as their participation as voters, volunteers, and donors. We need to make it cool once again to be in a party, our Party, and to demonstrate the power of acting together as a party. One way to do that is to flex our power at the local level, by getting our local leaders to solve problems faced by our communities and then making sure we take credit for getting things done.

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

Campaigns need volunteers, money, and exposure. I volunteer every campaign cycle to walk precincts and/or phone bank on behalf of Democrats running for office. I've hosted a fundraiser at my home, knocked on countless doors, attended campaign rallies, staffed campaign offices, and donated to numerous Democratic candidates over the years. My favorite activity by far is precinct walking. Knocking on doors and talking one-on-one with voters about what they feel is important and why the Democratic candidate I am supporting is the best person to address those needs. I've also worked to ensure that our Party provides support to strong, progressive candidates running for local non-partisan offices. These local leaders make critical decisions about how limited local government resources will be used, and I want those decisions to be made by good Democrats who share our progressive values. Our county Democratic Central Committee endorses Democrats running in local races and provides them with the use of our Party headquarters. As a former Democratic Party endorsed candidate for the El Camino Hospital Board, I found this support to be indispensable to my ability to conduct an effective campaign.

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

My family has been in the Democratic Party fold for generations. My earliest political memory is of my grandmother, who worked for Chrysler before she retired, asking me to help her complete her absentee ballot by putting an "X" by the name of each of the candidates listed in a slate mailer that encouraged UAW members to support the Democratic candidates endorsed by the union. The first campaign I worked on was Jimmy Carter's 1976 campaign for the White House, when I was in sixth grade. My personal and family tradition is reinforced by my ongoing conviction that only our Democratic Party represents the best of what our Nation is and can be, and will be if we continue to fight for policies that are fair to all, lift up those who've started out and/or fallen behind, and protect the weakest and most vulnerable among us.

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

Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).

Candidate Page || Feedback to Candidate || This Contest
SmartVoter Home (Ballot Lookup) || About Smart Voter

Created from information supplied by the candidate: May 15, 2008 12:29
Smart Voter <>
Copyright © League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
The League of Women Voters neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office or political parties.