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Tuesday March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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California State AssemblyCandidate for District 9

Photo of Jim Cooper

Jim Cooper

50,609 votes (43.8%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Jobs: Continue strengthening and encouraging new job development. We need to support small businesses, encourage entrepreneurship, and incentivize new businesses to locate to our region.
  • Education: I want additional funding for K -12 education to levels when California ranked near the top in the country, invest in universal pre-kindergarten education, and increase funding in higher education so we can roll back tuition rates.
  • Public Safety: We need to ensure that police and fire departments – and the whole criminal justice system – has the resources needed to achieve their goals of protecting and serving the public.



Profession:California State Assemblymember
California State Assemblymember, State of California (2015–current)
California State Assemblymember, State Assembly — Appointed position (2015–current)
Mayor and Councilmember, City of Elk Grove — Elected position (2000–2015)
Captain, Sacramento County Sheriff's Department — Appointed position (1985–2015)


FBI National Academy (current)
Saint Mary's College Master’s degree, Organizational Leadership (2004)
West Point Leadership Academy (2000)


Assemblymember Jim Cooper proudly represents California’s 9th Assembly district, which includes the cities of Sacramento, Elk Grove, Galt, and Lodi. Cooper currently serves on several committees, including: Public Employees Retirement and Social Security Committee, Governmental Organization Committee, and Insurance Committee. Cooper also serves as Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 4 on State Administration and the Assembly Select Committee on Community Law Enforcement Relations and Responsibilities.

Assemblymember Cooper has an extensive background in law enforcement and local government.

Before joining the Assembly in 2014, Cooper served as a Captain in the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department for 30 years and spent 15 years as Elk Grove’s founding mayor and councilmember. He established solid governing values, balanced the city’s budget, and built a city from the ground up.

Cooper has earned numerous awards, including the Bronze Star for Bravery for actions during the 1991 “Good Guys” hostage crisis. He also spent three years working as the Department’s spokesperson and spent nearly a decade working as an undercover narcotics officer and gang detective.

Community service is a significant part of Assemblymember Cooper’s life. He has served on the boards of the Boys & Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Sacramento Children’s Receiving Home.

Cooper grew up in Sacramento and is a graduate of the West Point Leadership Academy and FBI National Academy. He earned a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Saint Mary’s College.

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (4)

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

As a region, we are far behind the rest of the state when it comes to building sufficient rental and affordable housing options for working-class families, the homeless, and citizens on fixed incomes. We need to make every effort to bring stability to the housing market place. The key here is increasing supply at a price point that citizens can afford. It’s a supply issue.


We know from recent media accounts that some 17,000 Bay Area workers are living in our region because of their inability to find housing near their jobs. This influx of people living in our region is putting further pressure on our supply. The department of housing and community development estimates that California must build at least 180,000 units a year to keep pace with demand, not accounting for the backlog of approximately 2 million units that has accrued over the last several decades.


Two years ago, I voted in favor of legislation to help address California’s affordable housing shortage. However, the revenue generated by SB 1 is a drop in the bucket. California is a very diverse state and a one-size fits all approach for rent control could actually hinder economic growth and construction of new homes and affordable housing.

What programs or legislation would you support to meet the water needs of all Californians?
Answer from Jim Cooper:

First, I oppose proposals that would tunnel under the Delta and transport northern California water south. Whether one tunnel or two, these proposals could have potentially devastating effects on Sacramento River communities in my district and across the river and should be stopped.


I do favor whatever we can do to conserve water, curb water abusers, reduce leakage and excessive runoff, limit evaporation from canals and reservoirs, and incentivize homeowners, farmers, businesses and public entities to reduce unnecessary water consumption.


I also support efforts to expand our water storage capabilities through non-intrusive methods like raising the height of existing dams and increasing groundwater storage projects.

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 Jim Cooper:

Climate change is a serious, existential threat to our planet and our way of life, and coping with it – either to reduce emissions or to deal with the effects of it in the way of natural disasters and sea level rise – is going to take a significant toll on our economy and those around the world.


That’s why, since my election to the Assembly in 2014, my Democratic colleagues and I have passed several pieces of legislation aimed at combating global warming, including, passing SB 32 (Global Warming Solutions Act) and extending California's cap-and-trade program.


Additionally, I proudly authored legislation to help combat poor air quality in our region and incentivize low-income residents to replace older, high-polluting vehicles; and supported measures to encourage fleet-wide adoption of electric vehicles, make it easier for large energy consumers like agriculture and industrial uses to access energy efficiency programs, and allow more consumers to purchase power from independent sources rather than utilities.


Many of the objectives of the Green New Deal are attainable, and I agree with them. But I am also a realist, and I try not to make promises that I know we cannot keep. We need to move away from oil and gas as fuel sources; encourage the use of renewable energy by consumers, businesses and agriculture; and incentivize the tech industry to find ways to both reduce fossil fuel consumption and cope with what may be the inevitable effects of sea level rise.    

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 Jim Cooper:

We need to stop the revolving door that has offenders constantly cycling in and out of our prisons.  This means restoring programs to reduce recidivism, including counseling, drug treatment, education and job training programs for prisoners along with discontinuing programs that don’t work as discussed earlier last year by the LOA.  The State must require CDCR to communicate with County jails to really track recidivism rates so we have a better understanding of the problem.  Currently that’s not happening.


We must also focus our efforts on early intervention and education programs – that’s why I’ve been a champion of our First 5’s, investing in youth enrichment programs, and ensuring every dollar possible is invested in our classrooms. If we provide our youth the opportunity to succeed in college and career, we divert them from the penal system and build a more equitable, just community.


In addition, we need to ensure that violent criminals are kept off our streets and out of our neighborhoods.  Over the last few years I have seen victims being forgotten.  For instance, right now in California some crimes are still considered “non-violent” and are even routinely referred to as “low-level”.  These crimes include; sexually trafficking a child, felony domestic violence, raping an intoxicated or disabled person, felony hate crimes, and even arson with all the damage fires have done to our state.  Through various avenues I have supported adding these obviously violent crimes, as violent.  I have also supported giving the public more authority over early release decisions, which are now made by unelected officials with little input from victims, prosecutors or the public.

Questions from The Sacramento Bee (3)

Should California make changes to the property tax system set up in Proposition 13? Why?
Answer from Jim Cooper:

Prop. 13 is an important protection that homeowners in California do not want to lose. At the same time, its strict hold over property tax revenues has had significant impacts on our communities and the abilities of local governments to deliver services and maintain the quality of our schools, infrastructure and vital services.  While I have not yet taken a position on the 2020 ballot measure to split tax rolls and allow reassessment of commercial and industrial properties, I am carefully considering it as more detail about the ramifications become available.

To lower rent costs, should California build more or focus on rent caps and tenants’ rights? Why?
Answer from Jim Cooper:

As a region, we are far behind the rest of the state when it comes to building sufficient rental and affordable housing options for working-class families, the homeless, and citizens on fixed incomes. We need to make every effort to bring stability to the housing marketplace. The key here is increasing supply at a price point that citizens can afford. It’s a supply issue.


That’s why I’ve led on streamlining the permitting and approval process in the Assembly, accelerating housing construction. This has helped bring new housing construction to Elk Grove, Sacramento and Lodi. We need to do more, but supply is picking up.


We know that sky-high prices in the Bay Area have resulted in greater rates of migration to our region, which puts further pressure on our already inadequate housing supply.


In terms of controlling the cost of housing, California is a very diverse state and a one-size fits all approach for rent control could actually hinder economic growth and limit construction of new homes and affordable housing. 

Should California enter the prescription drug business to help drive down prices? Why or why not?
Answer from Jim Cooper:

Clearly, the cost of prescription drugs is a huge burden for consumers, and I have supported efforts like SB 17 that attempted to bring down the price of drugs and prevent future increases. 


The Governor’s proposal to control costs by contracting directly with generic drug manufacturers, including international manufacturers, is an interesting one, and I applaud his efforts to seek new, bold, innovative solutions to a problem that is so important to virtually all Californians.  However, there is much detail that needs to be fleshed out regarding this plan, and I will closely follow the progress of this proposal as more detail emerges before rendering a final opinion.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $1,561,795

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

AFSCME California
Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC)
State Building & Construction Trades Council of California
California State Association of Electrical Workers
California Association of Realtors

More information about contributions

By State:

California 70.48%
Texas 4.03%
District of Columbia 4.01%
Illinois 3.34%
Other 18.13%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.99%)
Small contributions (0.01%)

By Type:

From organizations (98.75%)
From individuals (1.25%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

As a thirty-year law enforcement officer and founding Mayor of Elk Grove, I spent my career on the front-lines, fighting for safer communities, more opportunities for young people, and good-paying jobs with a future.

As your Assemblymember I have heard your concerns during mobile district office hours, at fairs and farmers markets, and in meetings with countless local constituents, and I’ve acted on them — from business owners and farmers coping with labor shortages and foreign competition, to seniors and young people struggling to find affordable housing, and parents coping with the rising cost of healthcare and childcare.

In the State Assembly, I’ve fought for better wages and eliminating pay discrimination for women, protecting pensions and benefits, and bringing good-paying jobs to the area. I voted to fund local transportation projects, combat climate change, keep e-cigarettes out of the hands of minors, provide affordable housing for veterans and residents, and deliver a new homeless shelter with comprehensive health services and a new food bank. A particular legislative focus is protecting victims of sexual assault and giving law enforcement the tools to crack down on sexual offenders. And I have been a staunch and vocal opponent of shipping our water south via the tunnel.

I am proud to be endorsed by the California Democratic Party, teachers, police and fire, state employees, elected officials in Sacramento, Elk Grove, Galt and Lodi, and hundreds of your friends and neighbors.

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