AD-20 Candidate Recommendation

Current Assembly District 20 representative, Bill Quirk, is retiring and vacating his seat. The district—which encompasses Hayward, Castro Valley, San Leandro, Union City, and stretches east into parts of Dublin and San Ramon—will elect a new Assemblymember on Tuesday, November 8th to represent them in Sacramento.

We evaluated the candidates’ experience and positions against our criteria: 

  • The candidate’s alignment with TechEquity Action’s housing and labor policy platforms, including demonstrated support and clear plans to protect workers, produce more housing, preserve existing affordable housing, and protect tenants.
  • The candidate’s alignment with TechEquity Action’s values, including their ability to work in partnership with community organizations, their willingness to take divergent stances that hold true to their policy ideals, and are explicitly anti-racist and center the needs of marginalized groups.
  • The candidate’s effectiveness, demonstrating a strong track record of success in elected office and/or a clear, compelling, and concrete plan to win on our issues.

In the upcoming primary election for Assembly District 20, our recommendation is to vote for Liz Ortega. 

Since 2011, Ortega has been working at the Alameda Labor Council, fighting to improve the lives of working people in Alameda County. Elected five years ago as Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Alameda Labor Council, she became the first Latina to hold the position. Before working at the Labor Council, she acted as Statewide Political Director for AFSCME Local 3299, helping to move policy through the state legislature that would support union members—employees of the University of California system. Ortega’s experience working in the state capital to advocate for working families and her existing connections with elected officials and labor leaders make her well-positioned to hit the ground running to champion issues that move the needle on economic justice. 

She’s worked as a part of the Labor Council’s Executive Committee to advance pay increases for workers, negotiate with employers to ensure community benefit, and win better conditions for workers. Most recently, the Alameda Labor Council has been in negotiation with the Oakland A’s over the proposed Howard Terminal, which would build a new ballpark at Oakland’s waterfront. Ortega and her Labor Council colleagues have worked to ensure that the A’s stay in Oakland so the city can benefit from the economic development surrounding the stadium, but has held the line in those negotiations to ensure the jobs the stadium will provide are high quality. The Council also had to balance the impact that the stadium would have on the neighborhood and carefully weigh terms at the negotiating table to ensure the community benefits and the development doesn’t hasten displacement and gentrification. The negotiations are ongoing, but Ortega says she’s committed to reaching a deal that will support Oakland’s working families. 

When it comes to housing, Ortega is deeply aware of its intersections with the labor issues she has spent her career championing. Skyrocketing rents and home prices are beyond reach for working families and wages have not kept pace with the rising cost of living. Ortega sees housing and labor as interconnected positions and her platform focuses on ensuring that people have the education, training, and access to good-paying, family-supporting jobs and that housing—especially affordable housing—is plentiful and accessible.

Ortega has proven herself a strong advocate for working people and her platform aligns well with TechEquity Action across core issues like affordable housing development, a living wage, and strengthening the social safety net. For these reasons, we believe Liz Ortega is the best choice for Assembly District 20.