The Senate approves presidential and other federal appointments, ratifies or rejects treaties and passes legislation.
Currently, Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein serve California in Congress. Feinstein will continue her term until 2018 when she will face re-election, but Boxer is retiring this year. Both House Representative Loretta Sanchez and Attorney General Kamala Harris are on the ballot to fill her seat. Harris is leading the polls at about 42 percent, while Sanchez is polling at about 20 percent.
Loretta Sanchez, Current U.S. House representative
Sanchez has served north Orange County in the House of Representatives for 19 years. As a representative, she voted to remove troops from Afghanistan, co-sponsored the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to support fair pay and supported Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as part of immigration reform.
Platform and Advocacy:
Gun violence: Sanchez advocates for stronger common sense legislation, including closing gun purchase loopholes, which allow sales online and at gun shows.
Immigration: She supports legislation that would create visas for entrepreneurs and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics students and a road map for citizenship that includes humane border control and improved work programs.
Women’s rights: Equal pay for equal work, equal opportunity in the Armed Forces and sexual assault policy reform in the military are among Sanchez’s policies for women.
Education: Sanchez’s “College Education for All” plan includes reduced community college tuition, expanded workforce training programs, expansion of the Federal Pell Grant program and increased access for armed service members.
Kamala Harris, Current California attorney general
Harris served as the district attorney in San Francisco and is now serving as attorney general of California –– the first of Asian and African descent. She worked to reduce recidivism in the criminal justice system, supported the Fair Pay Act and created the California Homeowner’s Bill of Rights to address foreclosure reforms.
Platform and Advocacy:
Civil Rights: Harris is an advocate for womens, LGBT and immigrant’s rights, according to her website. Her platform includes equal pay for women, pro-choice legislation, anti-discrimination for LGBT communities and comprehensive immigration reform.
Criminal Justice Reform: The “smart on crime” approach Harris cultivated means that she focuses on the most serious and violence offenses “at the top of the crime period” according to her campaign website.She also advocates for the reduction of violence through assault weapons bans and ending human trafficking.
Immigration: Comprehensive immigration reform with a fair pathway to citizenship is part of Harris’ platform and history as attorney general. She supports resettling refugees, the DREAM act and President Obama’s executive action around immigration.
Higher Education: The accessibility of higher education through free tuition at community colleges, lowered tuition at public universities and better curriculum in community colleges are part of Harris’ education platform.