Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
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Presentado por
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Tuesday June 7, 2022 — California Primary Election
Estados Unidos

Cámara de Representantes del los Estados UnidosCandidato para Distrito 51

Photo de Jose Cortes

Jose Cortes

Paz y Libertad
Representante de Atención al Cliente
3,343 votos (2.2%)
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Mis 3 prioridades principales

  • La vivienda y los cuidados de la salud son necesidades fundamentales: ¡hagamos que se conviertan en derechos constitucionales! Eliminar las rentas y las hipotecas. Garantizar el acceso universal a los cuidados de la salud, como la salud reproductiva, la visión, la salud dental y la salud mental.
  • Terminar con las llamadas guerras sin fin y traer a las tropas de vuelta a casa. Cerrar todas las bases militares de EE. UU. en el extranjero. Poner fin al imperialismo y ofrecer indemnizaciones a todas las naciones afectadas por el mismo. Poner fin a la interferencia de los EE. UU. en América Latina, África, Medio Oriente y en todos lados.
  • Desfinanciar y desmilitarizar a la policía, y abolir el Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE) y el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (Department of Homeland Security, DHS). Encarcelar a los policías asesinos y liberar a los presos políticos. Derechos plenos para los inmigrantes. Cerrar los campamentos de detención de inmigrantes y abolir el complejo industrial de prisiones.



Universidad de Buffalo, NY; Grossmont College; Cuyamaca College Estudios universitarios incompletos (estudié en colegios comunitarios y en una institución de cuatro años en Nueva York,, Historia de los Estados Unidos con el objetivo de trabajar en la educación pública (2014)

Actividades comunitarias

Organizer, Party for Socialism and Liberation (2017–current)
State Central Committee member, Peace and Freedom Party (2020–current)
State Central Committee member, Peace and Freedom Party (2020–current)


Jose Cortes is a proud Chicano socialist who grew up in East County San Diego.

Family Background

Cortes is very close with his parents and extended family, most of whom also live in San Diego County. His father is a Colombian immigrant who graduated from El Cajon High School. His mother has been a teacher in the Lakeside school district for years and is Italian and Mexican. His sister also teaches in the Lakeside school district. “My mom, in particular, really inspired me to be the person I am today,” says Cortes. “As a kid I remember her waking up at 4am every day to take care of me and my siblings, teaching a full day of classes, and then volunteering her time to teach computer literacy programs after school for Spanish-speaking parents. That example of commitment to the community, sacrifice and strength is something that I admire and constantly try to live up to.“

Education and Work

As Cortes studied history at the University of Buffalo, he began to think critically about U.S. foreign policy. He became aware of imperialism’s destabilizing and destructive effects overseas, as well as the violent and genocidal history of settler-colonialism on this continent. As a member of the football team he became increasingly aware of misogyny, homophobia and toxic masculinity that are deeply ingrained in our culture. As a young man he also worked various blue collar jobs including as a security guard and a night janitor, where he experienced the alienation and exploitation of capitalism firsthand. These important political experiences rose to the surface after a particularly brutal incident of police terror in Jose’s neighborhood in September of 2016.

 Political Organizing

“I remember hearing that El Cajon PD had shot an unarmed Ugandan refugee named Alfred Olango. It really struck me because the murder occured in the parking lot of my dentist’s office.” At that time, Cortes was working as an aide for children with special needs at a school, and supervised the after-school care program as well. “We had just finished studying and learning about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights era with the kids, so I felt compelled to join the protests.”

Days before the incident, Olango’s childhood best friend had died. He was experiencing extreme mental distress. Alfred Olango’s sister called 911, because he needed immediate medical attention. The police responded and shot him five times in front of his sister within seconds of arriving on scene. Olango’s sister wailed in grief to the police: “I called you for help, and you killed my brother.”

When people in the community gathered to protest this injustice and demand accountability, they were met with extreme repression. “Many people were brutalized by law enforcement, including elderly people. Weapons of war were used against people in the community to disrupt peaceful protests. Tear gas, projectiles, tanks– this is a direct result of the federal 1033 Program. I had a grenade launcher put in my face.”

“[Party for Socialism and Liberation] organizers were present at the El Cajon uprising, and took the initiative to approach me and introduce themselves—I was just sitting in a parking lot. When peaceful demonstrators were being targeted by police, they opened their homes to us and offered us protection. At that time I didn’t know anything about socialism, but they patiently explained Marxist concepts in a way that was very approachable. I found myself aligning with their platform.” 

Jose participated in a series of protests in subsequent months following the election of Donald Trump along with PSL. “I was won over by their discipline, commitment, seriousness, and the way that a small handful of professional revolutionary organizers were able to punch above their weight.” Jose joined the PSL and continued studying political theory and organizing campaigns and events on a consistent basis.

Among other campaigns, Cortes has been a consistent presence at various Chicano Park and Autodefensa events in Barrio Logan. He also spoke at an action at Chicano Park recently which demanded freedom for Leonard Peltier and in support of Indigenous resistance.

Congressional Campaigns

Currently, Cortes works in a call center for health and pension benefits. In this role, he is confronted every day with the violence and cruelty of the for-profit healthcare system: “A newborn child who is denied healthcare coverage because of a missed deadline. Employees grieving the loss of a loved one or a devastating health issue who have to fight to have medical expenses covered. Workers who simply cannot pay the outstanding balance that they owe the company to maintain their health benefits after taking time off. These are the lucky people who have access to healthcare through their employer, three million Californians have no insurance at all.” For this reason, he has been a consistent advocate for a single-payer healthcare option, whether through CalCare or Medicare for All!

Cortes currently works 40 hours (often more) a week and organizes as a volunteer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation. In his free time he enjoys reading and spending time with his family and friends.

Participating in the electoral system as a revolutionary organizer, he hopes to increase awareness of the PSL’s platform, and reach other workers and progressive-minded people to build community power beyond election season. “It is truly an honor to be entrusted by my comrades again to represent the interests of working class and oppressed people in the electoral sphere. This campaign isn’t just about trying to win us a seat at the capitalists’ table, it’s about building real power in our communities that creates lasting systemic change!”

He urges anyone who is inspired by his campaign to apply to join the PSL and get involved. “Just a few years ago I felt hopeless and disillusioned with politics, but getting involved with the PSL has shown me that workers can take an active role in history.”

¿Quién proporcionó dinero a este candidato?


Dinero total recaudado: $6,937

Principales contribuyentes que dieron dinero para apoyar al candidato, por organización:

Employees of Randstad
Employees of Willis Towers Watson
Employees of Justice & Education Fund

Más información acerca de contribuciones

Por estado:

Florida 67.58%
California 32.42%

Por tamaño:

Contribuciones grandes (59.15%)
Contribuciones pequeñas (40.85%)

Por tipo:

De organizaciones (0.00%)
De individuos (100.00%)
Fuente: Análisis de datos de la Comisión Federal Electoral de MapLight.

Creencias poliza

Filosofía política

I believe that the only solution to the deepening crisis of capitalism is the socialist transformation of society. Driven by an insatiable appetite for ever greater profits regardless of social cost, capitalism is on a collision course with the people of the world and the planet itself. Imperialist war; deepening unemployment and poverty; deteriorating health care, housing and education; racism; discrimination and violence based on gender and sexual orientation; environmental destruction—all are inevitable products of the capitalist system itself.

For the great majority of people in the world, including tens of millions of workers in the United States, conditions of life and work are worsening. There is no prospect that this situation can or will be turned around under the existing system.

The idea that the capitalists’ grip on society and their increasingly repressive state can be abolished through any means other than a revolutionary overturn is an illusion. Equally unrealistic are reformist hopes for a “kinder, gentler” capitalism, or solutions based on economic decentralization or small group autonomy. Meeting the needs of the more than 6.5 billion people who inhabit the planet today is impossible without large-scale agriculture and industry and economic planning.

The fundamental problems confronting humanity today flow from the reality that most of the world’s productive wealth—the product of socialized labor and nature—is privately owned and controlled by a tiny minority. This minority decides what will be produced and what will not. Its decisions are based on making profits rather than meeting human needs.

There are really only two choices for humanity today—an increasingly destructive capitalism, or socialism.

Documentos sobre determinadas posturas

End police terror and attacks on immigrants


Defund and demilitarize the police. Full rights for all immigrants.

Defunding and demilitarizing the police is an issue that is very important to me because of my experiences with police brutality in the El Cajon Uprising, the La Mesa Uprising, and other campaigns and rebellions against police terror. My campaign aims to uplift the stories of local people who lost their lives due to police terror and state violence such as Leo Ibarra, Jonathan Coronel, Antonio Martinez, Anthony Harris, Steve Olson, Frederick Jefferson, Dennis Carolino and Toby Diller and so many more. We want to share the stories of people that have faced racist harassment such as Aumaurie Johnson, as well as activists who have been targeted such as Eddie Alvarez or Leslie Furcron. I have faced police repression and harassment myself.

San Diego County spends millions of dollars on police and other law enforcement agencies, and has one of the worst records in the entire country when it comes to in-custody deaths. Racism, abuse of power and corruption are rampant. Funds could easily be moved into important  social services like housing, healthcare, food, education, leisure-- community programs which actually help address the root causes of crime and build stronger neighborhoods.

The Party for Socialism and Liberation stands for the overthrow, dismantling and complete replacement of the police, prisons, military and courts. These core institutions of the capitalist state cannot be reformed into a neutral body. They must be abolished by means of a revolution. We support the fight for reforms while in the current capitalist system that curtail the scale of the capitalist state forces, that reduce their funding and that create additional obstacles to their everyday use of torture and violence.

We support reforms that put up roadblocks to everyday repression, and which therefore make it easier for working people to survive, and give them tools to fight the state’s abuse politically and legally. We call for:

  • Any reform that alleviates the suffering of prisoners. 
  • The immediate release of large classes of inmates in this country’s hyper-inflated and tortuous prison system
  • The end of three strikes and other grotesque sentencing guidelines
  • Amending the 13th Amendment to eliminate the clauses that allow for slavery and “involuntary servitude” for people who are convicted
  • The end of qualified immunity for officers
  • The repeal of federal programs that send military equipment to local police
  • The end of Broken Windows policing tactics, including stop-and-frisk and other police harassment tactics
  • The prohibition of no-knock entry, among other necessary reforms.
  • Reforms that make it harder for the police to obstruct free speech activity. This would include the elimination of sound permits and protest permits, limitations on the use of riot gear at protests; and the prohibitions of mass arrests for those engaged in free speech activity. (Such reforms were introduced for protests in Washington, D.C. because of civil liberties litigation).

Some police officers are now being charged with murder because of the people’s movement, and we will continue to fight for important reforms. This is a far cry from the full justice and social transformation that are needed.

Additionally, our campaign stands for immediately decriminalizing immigration. We call for:

  • Full rights for all immigrants
  • Abolish ICE/DHS
  • End immigrant detention
  • End family separation
  • Demilitarize the border
  • End immigration raids
  • Address the root cause of the refugee crisis: US imperialism

We frequently hear how immigrants are merely “seeking a better life for their children” and trying to fulfill the “American Dream,” but there is no discussion of why the world is such that people cannot sustain their families in their home countries and must migrate to the United States. Much of the rhetoric around this reform—on both sides of the Congressional debate—accept the terms that undocumented immigrants are criminals. Neither side questions the culpability of U.S. economic and military policies in driving global migration. For Latinos living in the United States, their violent displacement is the faded reflection of the violent political and economic intervention waged upon their home countries by years of intervention and imperialism.

While the debate over the pathway to citizenship carries on among ruling class circles in the coming period, it is the role of revolutionaries to explain the real roots of immigration and to expose the capitalists as the real criminals. Immigrants are the products of an economic system, global capitalism, that has reduced opportunities in their home countries, while opening up considerable paths to migration through Western economic, military and cultural penetration of their homelands. While the bulk of this process is celebrated—the free flow of capital and goods across borders—the human beings that react to these trends are described as law-breakers and criminalized.

COVID-19 infections among people held in U.S. immigrant detention facilities are skyrocketing. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported higher-than-ever rates of COVID-19 infections among those held in their custody, reaching more than 50 times the positivity rate of the general U.S. population. Even during the pandemic, ICE has continued to detain people with no regard for the health of those held in its detention centers. During the first year of the pandemic, ICE detained about 138,000 people in facilities that cannot possibly accommodate proper social distancing. Detainees report horrific conditions inside facilities due to inadequate healthcare, lack of personal protective equipment like masks, overcrowding and poor nutrition. 

In 2020, detainees went on hunger strike at Otay Mesa Detention Center here in San Diego to protest ICE’s blatant abuse and were pepper-sprayed in retaliation. These examples are only a few in the list of human rights violations committed by ICE with impunity. We call for the abolition of ICE and an end to all cruel and inhumane immigration policies, including detention, family separation, deportations and immigration raids.

The PSL fights for a movement where the current victims of imperialism are empowered to fight back, and for a world where workers can freely cross borders, but in which no one must for the sake of survival. That means socialism, which in the United States would entail a vast effort to repair and repay those nations oppressed by imperialism, and would liberate the hoarded social wealth to provide a guaranteed living to all.

Housing and healthcare for all


Housing and healthcare are fundamental human necessities, and should not be hoarded or denied for profit.

Housing and healthcare are fundamental human necessities that should be guaranteed to everyone regardless of income, immigration status, employment status, or history with the prison system. And yet both of these basic human needs are controlled by billion-dollar corporations, who deny them to anyone who can’t pay the increasingly exorbitant amounts these companies demand. Our basic survival needs should not be withheld or denied in the pursuit of private profit.

In 2020, the number of people who became homeless for the first time in San Diego County more than doubled. We need to take immediate action to ensure access to housing for everyone in our community. This is not an issue of supply and demand: in 2020 there were an estimated 5 thousand people living on the streets of San Diego, and about 57,000 housing units sitting empty on any given night. The answer to the housing crisis is not criminalizing homelessness or building more luxury housing that working people can’t afford.

Capitalism is an economic system that operates with one purpose: profits for individuals and corporations. This overarching logic determines how the capitalist owners and their administrators act and think. It also creates inescapable contradictions in the structure of the economy, such as people suffering and dying homeless on the streets while there are houses sitting empty and unused just because they can’t be sold or rented for profit. Ironically, under capitalism, the system that claims to uphold the sacred right of private property, homelessness has become a permanent feature and millions of people are losing their homes through evictions or foreclosures.

Under socialism, a home is regarded as personal property, not as a commodity for investment, speculation and profit. Under socialism, housing would be a guaranteed right for everyone, and no individual would be able to own another person’s home.

We plan to take the first steps towards housing for all by codifying housing as a guaranteed human right in our Constitution. We would cancel all rent and mortgage debt that has accumulated over the course of the Covid pandemic and immediately halt all evictions, and implement crucial reforms such as rent control.

Under socialism, in Cuba for example, despite being blockaded by the United States, there is no homelessness because a home is considered a human right. This was only possible through the elimination of “private property,” including landlordism. In Cuba, after the revolution, by March 1959, utilities and housing rents were reduced by half, and evictions banned. This is our ultimate goal; a world in which the majority of people own their homes, or pay a very small percentage of their income in rent to maintain the housing, rather than a landlord taking half of every paycheck and profiting from such a basic necessity.

This is more than just an economic issue. It’s a feminist and LGBTQ issue, an accessibility issue, and a safety issue. When people have access to stable housing, they feel invested in their neighborhood and they’re less likely to commit crimes. Many people, disproportionately women, stay in abusive relationships because they’re unable to find affordable housing on their own; with a housing guarantee they would no longer be forced to choose between a bad living situation and the threat of homelessness. Not to mention artists, musicians, scientists, writers, and other creatives and thinkers who are not able to devote time to their crafts due to capitalist economic constraints would have more opportunities and stability to fully develop their skills and passions. By taking care of our people’s most basic material needs, we can also help them reach their full potential.

The denial of healthcare is just as criminal. I work in healthcare and benefits administration, so this is an issue that I am very familiar with. Every day, I see the cruelty and contradictions of the for-profit healthcare system laid bare: a newborn child who is denied healthcare coverage because of a missed deadline, employees grieving the loss of a loved one who have to fight to have medical expenses covered, workers who simply cannot pay the outstanding balance that they owe the company to maintain their health benefits after taking time off. These are the lucky people, the people who have access to healthcare through their employer, although many are underinsured. Three million Californians have no insurance at all. 

This is not an issue that capitalism can solve. When the costs of food, housing, and medication go up, people find a way to pay for them, because we have no other option. We need to dispel the myth that a capitalist “free market” will make healthcare less expensive. That has been proven false time and time again. Necessities like medicine, healthcare, housing, food, and water should be guaranteed human rights for all, not an opportunity for corporations and the capitalist class to make a quick buck!

Most people support the transition to a single-payer health care system: 57% of all Californians supported replacing private insurance with guaranteed coverage provided by the government, and this was before the COVID-19 pandemic caused millions of Californians to lose their jobs and employer-provided healthcare in the middle of a crisis. No more excuses!

Healthcare should be universal and comprehensive. Abortion rights and other aspects of reproductive care have been under attack for decades; the Republicans have disingenuously presented it as a moral issue rather than one of health and bodily autonomy, and the Democrats have been content to use women’s rights as a bargaining chip or as a way to get out the vote. A similar story is playing out with transgender-affirming healthcare: reactionary politicians are criminalizing the act of providing universally recognized transition care to minors, giving draconian punishments to doctors and parents alike for helping trans kids and teens receive the medical care they need to live their lives as they see fit.

Additionally, the cruelty of health insurance in the U.S. means that vision and dental care are on separate plans from health insurance, as though our eyes and teeth are not parts of our bodies and have nothing to do with any other aspect of our health. This means that workers must either pay extra for this necessary care, or else go without. Though more health plans are covering mental health treatment, care is expensive, and (as with all other aspects of healthcare) insurance companies routinely deny necessary treatment. This is unacceptable!

If our government has the capacity to occupy, bomb and terrorize countries around the world, then it should have the capacity to provide housing and healthcare. Take that $800 billion from Biden’s Pentagon war budget and put it into social programs that are desperately needed!

End the “endless wars” and shut down U.S. imperialism for good


The U.S. war machine is the biggest threat to peace today. It must be shut down and reparations paid to its victims.

After campaigning on a progressive platform including ending the wars and bringing troops home, former President Barack Obama instead vastly increased the number of troops in Afghanistan during his first six months in office. He then pledged to begin withdrawing in 2011, and later said troops would be completely removed by 2014. Over the years, the Pentagon watered down the plan to have most troops withdrawn by 2015, then have just a thousand by 2017.

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign also promised to bring the troops home. But in his first year in power, he too increased the number of troops in Afghanistan — and also in Syria and Iraq — while giving the military the power to continue to increase troop levels as they saw fit, without seeking White House approval. Trump also intensified the deadly air war on the country.

On Sept. 11, 2021 President Joe Biden withdrew all troops from Afghanistan. The occupation of Afghanistan had lasted two decades—there were soldiers fighting a war who had not yet been born when it began. The war cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Afghan soldiers and civilians, thousands of U.S. soldiers, more than $2 trillion in federal spending, and displaced more than 6.5 million people from their homes. Many were understandably relieved by Biden’s decision. But the withdrawal was followed by the imposition of harsh sanctions on the new Afghani government and the seizure of over seven billion dollars from the nation’s central bank.

The U.S. government must withdraw all troops from all the sovereign countries it occupies with more than 800 military bases across the globe. The Biden administration must not stop at bringing the troops home, but must also remove all the mercenary “private military contractors.”

We demand reparations and the right to self-determination for all victims of imperialism and colonialism. We call for an end to the cruel and inhumane blockades and sanctions, especially against Cuba and Venezuela. These blockades prevent food, medicine and other necessities from being imported and are designed to strangle the economy, forcing the world to bend to the will of the imperialist United States. These sanctions and blockades are war crimes that affect vulnerable people like children or the elderly. We call for an end to AFRICOM and imperialist meddling in Africa, an end to the escalating aggression and the propaganda war against China, Iran, Venezuela, the DPRK, and an end to all manifestations of neocolonialism and imperialist aggression.

Imperialism doesn't just manifest itself with boots on the ground. The drone warfare program, dramatically expanded during the Obama administration, allows the U.S. to kill soldiers and civilians alike from comfortable cubicles on the other side of the planet. Even more insidiously, the U.S. has been honing regime change tactics that plunge countries into chaos while denying U.S. culpability. Through agencies like the CIA and its superficially "independent" cutout called the National Endowment for Democracy, the U.S. will give money, weapons, and even training to dissidents and rebels in countries it has targeted for regime change. The U.S. media will champion what they call "pro-democracy protests", and if the U.S. efforts are successful the country's government is overthrown and replaced with a new regime friendlier to U.S. interests. The new leaders are often dictators or warlords, and the people are the ones who suffer. We have seen this script time and time again; they have tried it in Libya, in Syria, in Ukraine, in Hong Kong, even in Cuba. Despite the media portrayal as "peaceful protests", this is simply war by another name. We call for the abolition of the CIA and NED, and the punishment of U.S. war criminals who have brought death and suffering to countless millions around the globe.

Anyone concerned with climate change and the ecological crisis we face has to be concerned with the United States military. The most obvious reason is that the U.S. military’s carbon footprint is gigantic. If the U.S. military was a country, it would be a bigger greenhouse gas emitter than 140 other countries, and there are only 195 countries in the world! It takes a lot of oil and gas to keep the U.S. empire’s 800 military bases running, not to mention their navy and air fleets which are scattered across the globe. In 2017 alone, the military purchased 260,000 barrels of oil per day. Just one of its jets uses about 3,334 gallons per hour, about what the average car driver uses in seven years.

The U.S. military tops the charts for polluters: the most fossil fuels burned, the release of the most greenhouse gases and the biggest source of mercury released into the environment poisoning rivers, lakes and oceans. The Pentagon war machine is the biggest dumper of hazardous materials and medical waste pollution. Having an “environmentalist” or “climate justice” outlook is not just about what an individual can do in their home or consumer choices. It means going after the real culprits of environmental destruction. The U.S. military and weapons manufacturers are among the worst perpetrators of toxic practices in the world.

Videos (1)

— May 19, 2022 Jose Cortes for Congress

Jose Cortes is running for the 51st Congressional District in 2022 under a progressive, socialist platform based on meeting the needs of the people. Issues:

  • Housing for All
  • Medicare for All
  • End the "Endless Wars"
  • Defund and Demilitarize the Police
  • Guarantee Full Rights for All Immigrant


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