Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
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Tuesday June 7, 2016 — California Primary Election
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California State AssemblyCandidate for District 45

Photo of Matt Dababneh

Matt Dababneh

42,135 votes (49.3%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Grow California’s economy and create good paying, middle class jobs in our community.
  • Increase funding for our local schools and make sure our public universities are accessible and affordable for all Californians.
  • Protect California’s environment and natural resources for future generations.



Profession:Incumbent Assembly-Member
Member, California State Assembly — Elected position (2014–current)
District Chief of Staff, Congressman Brad Sherman (2006–2014)


UCLA BA, Political Science (2005)

Community Activities

Founding Board Member , Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission (2009–current)


Ninety years ago my great-grandfather Ambrose Walsh came across an ad in a newspaper seeking workers to build the new southern campus of what would become UCLA. In search of a new beginning, he moved his young family to the San Fernando Valley and became a bricklayer at UCLA. Seventy-five years later, I graduated from the university he helped build.

Like so many families in the West San Fernando Valley, my family saw California as a place for a better life. This is why I’m asking for your support for my re-election to the State Assembly– to ensure that future generations will continue to look to California as my great grandparents did, as a place of hope, opportunity and prosperity.

I was raised in the Valley by my single mother who taught me and my siblings about the importance of getting a good education and giving back to our community. Following the example of my mother and grandmother, I volunteered at a local children's hospital and rescue mission and learned from an early age that so many in our community need someone in public service who is willing to fight for them.

I commuted to UCLA from my home in the valley and worked nights and weekends at City Walk to help pay my tuition. As a product of our state CSU and UC systems, I know how important our public higher education system is and how many doors it opens for young Californians.

For eight years, I fought to make government work for Valley residents by serving as Chief of Staff to Congressman Brad Sherman. In this position I helped thousands of Valley residents and businesses solve problems with the federal agencies. I know firsthand the level of accessibility and accountability that residents of the West Valley expect from their elected representatives.

Today, I am honored to serve the West San Fernando Valley as the Assembly Member representing the 45th District. During my first full term in office, I have worked to improve the business climate, create jobs, restore the state's education system, protect our environment and improve access to health care and constituent services.  As Chair of the Banking and Finance Committee, I have worked to ensure that banks are acting responsibly and that consumers can access the financial services they need.  

I look forward to exchanging ideas with you on the ways we can improve our community and state together.

Questions & Answers

Questions from The League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and California Counts, a public media collaboration. (4)

Climate changes and the continuing drought worry many in California. What new strategies do you believe would ensure that California is able to both satisfy its water needs and protect the environment? Please be specific. 
Answer from Matt Dababneh:

It is our responsibility to protect California’s environment and natural resources for future generations.

Climate Change: California has served as a leader in the fight against climate change and has a moral responsibility to continue to do so.  That is why I supported both SB 350 and SB 32, which will demonstrate to the rest of the country and the world that we can stop climate change while also growing our economy. 

Protecting our water resources: I supported Proposition 1, which authorized $7.12 billion in general obligaiton bonds for state water supply infrastructure projects. I supported legislation to increase groundwater protections around oil projects, and I co-authored the law banning micro-beads from commercial products to stop the damage they were inflicting on our waterways.


Many Californians are concerned about the influence of money in politics. What can the state legislature do to ensure that decision-making by elected officials is not swayed by moneyed interests at the expense of constituents?
Answer from Matt Dababneh:

Earlier this year, I was proud to take a stand against hidden outside spending in California elections by supporting AB 700.  This bill will shine a light on the dark special interest money currently funding state campaigns by requiring the top funders of political advertisements to be disclosed. I will continue working with my colleagues to encourage the Senate to pass this important legislation.

There are a variety of proposals to raise California's minimum wage. Many of these proposals face opposition from business groups who are concerned that they would kill jobs. Do you support increasing the minimum wage in California?  In your answer please explain your position on the relationship between wages and jobs with specific reference to the situation in your district. 
Answer from Matt Dababneh:

My commitment to public service is founded in a deep conviction that everyone has an equal opportunity to achieve the American Dream and that we must support those in our community who have fallen on hard times. That is why I helped pass legislation to raise our state minimum wage to $15 an hour.  

What are your top three fiscal priorities, recognizing the need to balance the state’s income with its spending?
Answer from Matt Dababneh:

As we address our economic challenges and budget priorities, I am committed to strengthening our state by making smart investments, focusing on issues that matter and setting California on a responsible and sustainable fiscal path. That is why I support the Governor’s proposed budget for this year.  This budget will provide additional funding for our education system and improve access to health care and community services.   It will also strengthen the Rainy Day Fund protecting our investments and the most vulnerable among us during times of economic downturn.  

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $1,405,115

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

Los Angeles County Democratic Party
Farmers Insurance Group and employees
California State Council of Laborers
IBEW Local 11
State Building & Construction Trades Council of California

More information about contributions

By State:

California 78.40%
District of Columbia 3.15%
Texas 2.76%
Illinois 1.70%
Other 13.98%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.97%)
Small contributions (0.03%)

By Type:

From organizations (93.42%)
From individuals (6.58%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

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