Assailed by Progressive Group, Moderate Democratic Assemblymember Jim Cooper Defends Voting Record

Calif. Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D - Elk Grove). |

January 24, 2018 |

With the ever-increasing partisanship, the divide separating various political factions seemingly grows with each passing day. This gap is now reaching within the political parties in California.

For Democrats, the divide is creating a schism between the party's progressive branch and more moderate centrist. It is in the intra-party crossfire that California Assemblymember Jim Cooper, a moderate, has landed.

Cooper, who is in his second term representing the state's 9th Assembly District was recently added to one group's "Hall of Shame." Cooper and eight other California legislators earned that distinction from California-based Courage Campaign, in partnership with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Action.

In their third annual report, Cooper received an F from the Courage Campaign. In their grading, the Courage Campaign said they are rating "each legislator’s willingness to stand up for their constituents against corporate benefactors and wealthy special interests that continue to dominate California politics."

According to their statement, "Legislators were evaluated on how they voted on critical statewide bills and the extent to which elected officials accurately reflected the values of their constituents. Those members who do not reflect those values are featured in the Courage Score “Hall of Shame,” whereas those who scored top marks are named as “Courage Score All-Stars.”

Cooper received an F and was criticized for his stances on a variety of law enforcement issues. Before his 2014 election to the Assembly, Cooper was a Captain in the Sacramento Sheriff's Department with 30 years of experience when he retired.

“Vulnerable residents across California who do not have lobbyists swarming the halls of Sacramento count on elected officials to do what is in their best interest, and it is their right to know when their representatives are voting in line with corporate interests and wealthy power players instead of the communities they were hired to fight for,” Christina Livingston, Executive Director of ACCE Action said.

In addition to his votes on law enforcement policy and other legislation, the report criticized Cooper for acceptance of gifts. The report claimed, "just in one year, bigwig corporations treated Cooper to luxury box seats at a Paul McCartney concert, family passes to Disneyland and Universal Studios, and overcompensated travel to conferences in ooh-la-la outposts like Pebble Beach and Huntington Beach."

The report claimed those trips were paid for by the health insurance lobby. 

Countering the arguments, Cooper defended his voting record and noted his voting grade from other groups was more reflective of his temperament as a legislator. Among those is a 100-percent rating from Planned Parenthood; 85-percent from the California Labor Federation; and 94-percent from the California Teachers Association. 

Cooper also noted the 9th District has a diverse population of constituents ranging from urban precincts in South Sacramento, suburban neighborhoods in Elk Grove and agricultural areas near Lodi in northern San Joaquin County.

“I vote my entire district which includes the cities of Sacramento, Elk Grove, Galt, and Lodi," Cooper said. "I’m very proud of my record of representing all of my constituents, not just those from one area or who believe in one ideology. My voting record for working-class families, women, minorities, agriculture, and business speaks for itself."

Asserting that he will not pander to one cause, Cooper added that his Assembly Bill 46, which was signed into law during the recent session guarantees equal pay for public employees. 

"I will continue my fight for equal pay for women, strengthening public safety, funding education and vocational training, helping our small businesses and ensuring a thriving middle-class," he said. 

Joining Cooper on the list were six Democratic Assemblymembers and one State Senator. The list included one Republican State Senator and one Assemblymember. 

Noting that California is at the vanguard of the anti-Trump movement, Courage Campaign's executive director Eddie Kurtz said the group intends to make the various candidate's stances issues in the June primary. As part of this involvement, Kurtz said they have a $100,000 budget to promote their Courage Score during the June election.

“Asssemblymember Cooper is part of the problem in Sacramento and Courage Campaign will make sure his constituents know he cares more about policies favored by corporate lobbyists than about their best interests," Kurtz said. "With Washington broken and with Trump pursuing a reckless and bigoted agenda, now more than ever it is urgent that California lead the way, and people like Jim Cooper are an obstacle to that progress. Assemblymember Cooper we’re putting you on notice.”

Currently, Cooper has one declared candidate, progressive Harry He. The filing deadline for the June primary is March 13. 

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1 comment

D.J. Blutarsky said...

The report also went on to say, and I quote,

"Later in the year, Cooper took a whopping $8,000 of “sponsored travel” to Australia and Maui. Why can’t this guy just take a work trip to Salt Lake City like the rest of us?"

Since we're on the subject, how about those investigations of the Board of Equalization and the hiring of his family members? I know, it's all Trump's fault!

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