Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
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League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
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California State AssemblyCandidate for District 76

Photo of Philip "Phil" Graham

Philip "Phil" Graham

23,155 votes (21.1%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Work to make California more business friendly, so our economy grows and creates jobs.
  • Expand charter schools in order to provide more educational choices.
  • Fight to make the government spend our taxes dollars efficiently. I'll shine a light on government waste and work to stop poorly managed projects like the bullet train.



Profession:Businessman / Educator
Professor / Adjunct Faculty, National University (2017–current)
Cause Leadership Instructor at the Sanford School of Philanthropy, National University - Sanford School of Philanthropy (2016–2016)
Vice President of External Relations, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (2010–2015)
Government Affairs and Marketing/Business Development Consultant, Self (2006–2010)
Vice President of Strategy and Government Relations, Crossflo Systems (2003–2006)


INSEAD Executive Education, Negotiation Dynamics (2002)
Thunderbird School of Global Management Masters of Business Administration, Global Marketing, Asia Focus (1996)
University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business Bachelor of Science, Entrepreneurship (1990)

Community Activities

Founders Board Member, Preuss School at UCSD (2012–current)
Vice Commander, Sons of the American Legion, Squadron 416, Encinitas, CA (2016–current)
Board of Directors, Pedal The Cause (2012–2016)


After an international business career, which took him throughout the world including seven years in Singapore, Phil turned his focus to life sciences and philanthropy. As an executive at the La Jolla-based Sanford-Burnham Institute, a world-renowned leader in cancer research, Phil helped create and fund medical research for cancer, as well as efforts directed at Wounded Warriors. At the nexus of life sciences and technology, Phil has worked as a catalyst for our North County economy.

North County is growing fast and creating new and diverse jobs. Phil will be a representative in Sacramento who understands our local economy and the important companies driving its growth. Phil is focused on the infrastructure and quality of life issues facing our region, and how to best address them and protect our region.

A graduate of USC’s Marshall School of Business with a Master of Business Administration from Thunderbird School of Global Management, Phil was born and raised in San Diego. He’s volunteered for numerous local causes including the Founders Circle Board of the Preuss School at UCSD, the board of directors for Pedal the Cause, and a guest lecturer at Rady’s School of Management at UCSD.

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California Education Fund (4)

What do you think the State should do to encourage affordable housing for all Californians?
Answer from Philip "Phil" Graham:

It is time for Sacramento's war on affordable housing to end. 

Continuing to raise taxes and adopting regulations that limit the supply of housing only increases the price of housing.

Cities like Dallas, Phoenix, and Atlanta have managed to stay affordable by simply allowing housing to continue to be built as their populations grow. California should do the same. 

The State should immediatly start cutting taxes and regulations so that more people don't fall into poverty, as housing costs are the biggest reason people fall into poverty. 

According to a "Civility In America” survey, 75% of Americans believe that the U.S. has a major civility problem. If you are elected what will do to address this?
Answer from Philip "Phil" Graham:

I will address and promote the civility issue by doing what I have done in the private sector, lead by example. Period.

Climate changes, and the shifting between very wet weather and drought, worry Californians. What strategies would allow that your district to both satisfy its water needs and protect the environment? Please be specific.
Answer from Philip "Phil" Graham:

San Diego county is a leader when it comes to managing our water supplies. Reclamation, water storage and building the largest desalinazation plant in the Western hemisphere has made this fact a reality.

The rest of the state needs to do a much better job of managing their water sources. We need to invest in water infrastructure, capture the millions of gallons of water that flow into the ocean every year and invest in more desalinization plants. 

What programs or strategies would you suggest to meet the educational needs of the youngest and most poverty stricken Californians?
Answer from Philip "Phil" Graham:

I've sat on the board of a leading Charter School for many years. In order to be accepted, and there is a long line of applicants waiting to be accepted, the parents of the applicant must not have gone to a four year college, they must be from a low income family and they must accept a longer school year. The vast majority of those accepted are minority and, by design, are poverty stricken. The graduation rate has kept steady at 99% and almost all go on to great four year colleges. Allowing parents to have more choice in where they can send their children, when so many of our public schools are failing, is an outstanding way to solve our educational problems. 

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $353,775

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

California Chamber of Commerce
Kevin McCarthy for Congress
Employees of Crivello Corporation
Employees of Barnhart-Reese Construction
Employees of Equestrian Real Estate
Employees of TRES-DAC

More information about contributions

By State:

California 95.46%
Maryland 1.39%
Virginia 1.25%
Texas 0.71%
Other 1.20%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.85%)
Small contributions (0.15%)

By Type:

From organizations (26.99%)
From individuals (73.01%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Even though we have the highest taxes in the country, too many politicians in Sacramento demand the middle class and working families pay even more. Before I decided to run for Assembly, I volunteered to the fight against a massive new gas tax that is going to cost families and those who are in most in need.

California’s record-high budget remains in a surplus, though amazingly politicians insist on passing the largest gas tax increase in California history. They are also considering a new tax on real estate transactions, and even an assault on Proposition 13. I will fight their efforts that make California even more unaffordable.

The priorities of too many Sacramento politicians are clearly not yours. Instead of asking you to pay more every year to the State government, we should instead focus on funding core services like public safety, education, and infrastructure. By setting priorities for the services most important to our communities, we can fully fund the state government while saying NO to new taxes.

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