Press Release: 19 Candidates Earn Environmental Justice Support Ahead of November Election 

CEJA Action endorses 2022 “Environmental Justice Crew”

September 13, 2022 | Sacramento, CA – Today, the California Environmental Justice Alliance Action (CEJA Action), announced their legislative endorsements ahead of a hotly contested November election cycle. CEJA Action has endorsed the most progressive candidates who will appear on the ballot this fall. These candidates will advance policy for frontline Californians and our climate future.

The environmental justice slate includes the following leaders: Dave Jones (SD-8), Aisha Wahab (SD-10), Steve Padilla (SD-18), Caroline Menjivar (SD- 20), Lola Smallwood Cuevas (SD -28), Sara Aminzadeh (AD-12), Liz Ortega (AD-20), Gail Pellerin (AD-28),Gregg Hart (AD-3), Assemblymember Steve Bennett (AD-38), Pilar Schiavo (AD-40), Christy Holstege (AD-47), Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes (AD-50), Rick Zbur (AD-51), Tina McKinnor (AD- 61), Fauzia Rizvi (AD-63), Fatima Iqbal-Zubair (AD-65), Assemblymember Chris Ward (AD-78), and Georgette Gómez (AD-80).

As the largest environmental justice alliance in California, CEJA Action vets and endorses candidates for statewide office on the basis of their demonstrated commitment to environmental health and climate progress.  

“The oil and gas industry has strong-armed the California legislature for far too long. Voters have the chance to wrest critical legislative seats back from Big Oil this November. Our slate of candidates have spent their lives representing frontline residents with integrity, dedication and commitment to real climate solutions—we’re proud for CEJA Action to support these 19 leaders this November,” said Sylvia Arredondo, Civic Engagement Director of CBE Action.

Oil, gas, and utilities industries have so far spent a collective $1,800,489 to oppose candidates on the CEJA Action slate. Thirty-eight California state legislators vacated their position or announced they would not seek reelection in 2022. Accounting for seats filled in special elections, there will be a total of 26 open seats this November.

Members of California Environmental Justice Alliance Action provided the following quotes about candidates in their districts: 

“Lola Smallwood Cuevas for Senate District 28, Tina McKinnor for Assembly District 61 and Liz Ortega for Assembly District 20 have proven leadership to urgently address the intersecting climate, income, health, homelessness and housing affordability crises. Their experiences – as labor and community leaders committed to dignity, health, safety and justice for workers and community– make Smallwood Cuevas, McKinnor and Ortega the only candidates in their races to represent working families. On November 8, it’s time to vote to advance community rooted solutions to achieve environmental justice, racial equity, and economic mobility.” Mabel Tsang, Political Director with CEJA Action.  

“Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes and Fauzia Rizvi are the kind of leaders environmental justice communities need right now; two candidates with a deep commitment to transforming the day-to-day reality of communities overburdened with pollution. CCAEJ Action is excited that Assemblymember Eloise Gomez Reyez for Assembly District 50, and Fauzia Rizvi for Assembly District 63, have received CEJA Action’s endorsement. We are confident in the immense impact their representation will have on the frontline communities in the Inland Valley region and beyond.” – Joaquin Castillejos, Community Organizer with CCAEJ Action.

“We have a history of working with Councilmember Padilla during his previous stint as a councilmember and when he was Mayor of Chula Vista. It was during that time that we achieved key Environmental Justice victories for Chula Vista.During EHC’s long battle to shut down The South Bay power plant that was finally shut down in 2010, councilmember and then Mayor Padilla was always a vocal supporter of the need to shut down this polluting power plant in Chula Vista. We look forward to working with him in the Senate so he can continue to represent our communities.” Franco Garcia, Policy Director with Environmental Health and Justice Coalition

“Steve Bennett has been a strong ally for environmental justice communities, with the integrity and courage to stand up to polluters and put our clean air, water, and health over corporate profits. We are proud to endorse Steve for re-election to the State Assembly and are confident that he and CEJA Action’s slate of endorsed candidates will champion the long overdue policies our communities have been asking for.” – Lucas Zucker, Policy and Communications Director with CAUSE Action Fund.

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California Environmental Justice Action (CEJA Action) and our member organizations represent engage and mobilize bilingual and monolingual non-english speaking Asian, Black and Latinx voters to take action for climate and environmental justice the following communities: 

  • APEN Action – Richmond, Oakland
  • CAUSE Action Fund – Santa Barbara and Ventura County
  • CBE Action – Richmond, Oakland, Southeast Los Angeles Cities and Wilmington
  • CCAEJ Action – San Bernardino and Riverside Counties
  • CRPE Action – Kern County 
  • Environmental Health & Justice Campaign – San Diego County
  • Latinxs for Environmental Justice – San Francisco
  • Leadership Counsel Action – Merced, Madera, Fresno, Tulare, and Kern Counties, and the Eastern Coachella Valley

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