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Tuesday November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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California State AssemblyCandidate for District 1

Photo of Elizabeth L. Betancourt

Elizabeth L. Betancourt

Farmer/Watershed Scientist
102,541 votes (41.1%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Improve education and healthcare access and options throughout AD1 through building on existing successes and expanding the reach of community healthcare centers throughout rural CA.
  • Workforce development and jobs growth through increased natural resources investment and increased in-region educational opportunities, including access to university education as well as increased career/technical education options.
  • Expand housing options at all economic levels, as well as schools and other community infrastructure, ensuring all communities are able to accommodate community needs, building union job availability and sustainable economic growth.



Profession:Rural Advocate, Watershed Scientist, Farmer
Member, Redding Community Development Advisory Committee — Appointed position (2017–current)
Board Vice Chair, Western Shasta Resource Conservation District — Elected position (2018–2019)
Director, Western Shasta Resource Conservation District — Appointed position (2011–2017)
Trustee, Sacramento River Watershed Program — Appointed position (2011–2016)


Colorado State University Masters of Science, Watershed Science (2015)
UC Davis Bachelors of Science, Environmental Biology and Management (2004)

Community Activities

Active Member, Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ, Redding, CA (2011–current)
Founder and Convener, Redding Women's March (2017–current)
Regional Lead, Yes on Proposition 37 (Labling GMOs) (2013–2013)


For the nearly 20 years I have focused my professional career on ensuring healthy forests and watersheds. I have specialized experience in collaborative forest management, including innovative product development combined with bioenergy facilities, as well as in water resources planning and management, including water rights and supply management.


I have worked with state policy and how it affects our federal forest system, and the variety of approaches to ensuring that all beneficiaries (including urban communities!) are part of planning and funding our healthy forests and watersheds. I’ve done a significant portion of this work as an advocate to the California Legislature, building bridges with urban areas and other rural districts and advocating for investment in our rural landscapes.


I’ve served on the Western Shasta Resource Conservation District Board for five years, one as our Board’s Vice Chair. I have also served on Redding’s Community Development Advisory Committee, hearing from many of our important non-profit service providers in the region and providing recommendations to the City Council for how to spend federal grant funds to best serve our friends and neighbors. 


My husband and I have a small farm in Happy Valley and for eight years have provided food to dozens of families in the region, and annually mill the fruit of our heritage olive trees to make oil. We have experienced the challenges of any small business, including struggling with capital availability, skilled workers, and outlets for our produce. We have also struggled with the state’s regulations, which are structured largely for large conventional agriculture and don’t respect the important role that small farms play in our regional economy as well as the natural world.


I have dedicated my life to public service, and see serving as your next Assembly Woman a natural next step: I have implemented laws, advocated for laws, and now it's time for a true child of northern California to help in shaping those laws.

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (4)

To reach a goal of carbon neutrality by 2045, as set forth in a 2018 executive order what, if any, proposals, plans or legislation would you support?  Please be specific.
Answer from Elizabeth L. Betancourt:

·      Improved forest management

·      Increase incentives for renewable energy (biomass energy, tidal/wave energy, micro-hydro, appropriately-placed wind, battery storage, pumped storage, solar, gravitricity, heat pumps)

·      Expand incentives for electric vehicles and increased investment in public transit

·      Expand incentives Ethanol from biomass

·      Encourage local production for local consumption (decreasing transportation miles for food and other consumer products)

·      Increase incentives for passive solar buildings

·      Increase innovation in and use of hemp-based products

·      Putting a price on carbon emissions

Describe what proposal(s) you would support to alleviate the shortage of affordable housing for all income groups in California?
Answer from Elizabeth L. Betancourt:

·      Streamlining permitting

·      Expanding accessory dwelling units

·      Incentives for up-zoning

·      Enforcement of affordable housing minimums

·      Community banking to put resources back into the community and help in offsetting affordable housing costs

According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, we spend over $81,000 per individual who is incarcerated.  Other than incarceration, what ways can the State address safety and justice?
Answer from Elizabeth L. Betancourt:

Studies show that investments in early education can have a meaningful impact on crime reduction. These studies indicate that children that do not attend pre-school are 70% more likely to be incarcerated. Therefore, the most effective means of reducing crime is to invest more heavily in early child education, especially in communities with disproportionate shares of at-risk children. For those who are already incarcerated, prisons need to be focused on rehabilitation instead of just punishment. The Netherlands has successfully implemented prison programs that effectively reduce recidivism and assist in positive re-entry into society for those who have served their time. California should do the same.

What programs or legislation would you support to meet the water needs of all Californians?
Answer from Elizabeth L. Betancourt:

·      Fund and manage a comprehensive effort to ensure every community has access to safe and affordable water through better planning, investment in innovative technology and research, and aggressively reduce pollution and contamination of water sources.

·      Locally- and regionally-specific resilience and reliability projects, such as preservation and expansion of water storage options, improve and innovate interconnections, and improve or expand shared treatment facilities.

·      Establish higher safety thresholds for chemical applications on agricultural land.

·      Encourage more sophisticated groundwater management and modeling, including connectivity to surface water.

·      Encourage and establish shared data and information systems among state agencies.

·      Support tribal self-determination and water rights commensurate with land use and development plans.

·      Improve mechanisms to ensure those who benefit and profit from the state water resources invest in preserving a healthy upland watershed, the source of California’s water.

Questions from The Sacramento Bee (3)

Should California enter the prescription drug business to help drive down prices? Why or why not?
Answer from Elizabeth L. Betancourt:

Yes: California already exerts its considerable market power to drive down costs of drugs provided by Medi-Cal.  California needs to fully leverage its power as the fifth largest economy in the world, and use that power to ensure patients can get affordable quality life-saving medicines. The state entering the prescription drug market would take the power out of the medical/pharmaceutical community and put it into the people’s hands, increasing competition in an otherwise private market interested solely on profits.

Should California make changes to the property tax system set up in Proposition 13? Why?
Answer from Elizabeth L. Betancourt:

Yes. California’s property tax system has protected individual homeowners – and this must be preserved.  However, multi-billion dollar companies currently exploit a loophole in Prop. 13 allows them to pay billions less in property taxes than homeowners.  To be absolutely clear, Prop. 13 must be protected for homeowners, and wealthy commercial property owners should be held to the same standard.

To lower rent costs, should California build more or focus on rent caps and tenants’ rights? Why?
Answer from Elizabeth L. Betancourt:

These don’t have to be mutually exclusive. California has some tenant protection measures in place, and those should be watched for a few years to better understand how they perform in the marketplace. What we absolutely must address is the lack of housing – especially affordable housing – throughout California. We know that California needs millions of new housing units: multiple market studies and analyses have told us this. And an “all of the above” approach must be used: enforcing current requirements for housing provision, easing planning and building regulations, making use of state lands and existing tenement structures, and synergistic use of existing and development of new housing programs.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $262,190

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

Northern California Carpenters Regional Council
California Association of Professional Scientists
Women in Power (WIP)
SEIU United Healthcare Workers West
Redding Rancheria Tribe

More information about contributions

By State:

California 98.09%
District of Columbia 0.89%
Missouri 0.45%
Colorado 0.29%
Other 0.28%

By Size:

Large contributions (85.59%)
Small contributions (14.41%)

By Type:

From organizations (46.05%)
From individuals (53.95%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

For nearly 20 years I've advocated for rural communities and rural issues, and understand both the way policy is made and how to develop policy that doesn't leave our communities out in the cold when it comes to implementation. Understanding the big picture and legislating from a holistic perspective is an important way to increase efficiency, efficacy, and on-the-ground innovation. I am interested in doing more of what works, and in unleashing the innovation present throughout our region to build our economy and create opportunities at all socioeconomic, academic, and professional levels. We have the solutions; we simply need the opportunity to express those!

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