Hi Reddit, 

My name is Kevin de León, and I am the Democratic Party endorsed candidate running for US Senate in California. As the former president of the California Senate, I fought for:

- 100% clean energy standards in the state, to protect against the existential threat of climate change.

- Keeping immigrant families together from undue harassment from state law enforcement agencies

- Tuition free college 

- Medicare for ALL 

- A $15 minimum wage  

- Cannabis legalization* 

I am running against long term Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein (in California the top two vote getters move on to the general election 

from the primary, there are no Republicans in this race). I am challenging Dianne Feinstein because now, more than ever, we need better leadership in Washington D.C. that can take on Donald Trump. We need to realize that we are not living in normal times. To truly save our country from Donald Trump and his radical agenda, we need someone who will fight tooth and nail in the halls of the Senate and out on the streets with the people. We're not going to stop him if we keep playing by Congress' country club rules, while he's setting the whole house on fire.  

Here is a video about how I came here, and how much different my life could have been under a Trump presidency: https://twitter.com/kdeleon/status/1041826522376491008

Thanks for your time! I'll be answering questions from 12-3 PM PT. 

- Kevin

edit: verification r/https://twitter.com/kdeleon/status/1047919471766032384

*edit 2: To be clear, I did not work on cannabis legalization policy as leader of the CA State Senate. However, after seeing how California has successfully implemented the will of the voters in regards to legalization, as starting to address vast inequities in our criminal justice system - I am committed to fighting in the U.S. Senate to deschedule and decriminalize cannabis at the federal level.

Edit 3: Thanks everybody, sorry we weren't able to get to every question but I had a blast talking to each and every one of you, even the guy who asked me if I was in the Illuminati. Ultimately, if you believe that Washington is working for you, vote for my opponent. If you're ready for a change, I hope to earn your vote on November 6th. Thank you!

Comments: 392 • Responses: 24  • Date: 

SirLuciousLeftFoot138 karma

Who are your largest corporate donors?

kevin_deleon114 karma

My campaign is working to be as transparent as possible. We have returned donations from the private prisons and other industries we feel do not align with our values. We did accept a donation from the Univision PAC, and here's a list of our top contributors grouped according to the companies they work for. But you'll notice that these are all individual contributions, not corporate contributions.

https://www.opensecrets.org/races/contributors?cycle=2018&id=CAS2&spec=N

readaholic71387 karma

You're known as a staunch supporter of gun control measures. What do you think is the value of the Second Amendment? Is it something you would do away with if you could?

kevin_deleon-110 karma

I believe in the Constitution, which gives Americans the right to own guns. But guns are also crazy dangerous, it seems obvious to me that – considering the number of gun deaths and the rising number of mass shootings – we should advocate for smart gun safety regulations that pass constitutional muster.

jedimaster113885 karma

As a voter in California, I've had a hard time differentiating you from Senator Feinstein in terms of policies you support or oppose. What do you consider to be important differences between you and Senator Feinstein?

kevin_deleon120 karma

Senator Feinstein started her career with the kind of anti-immigrant rhetoric we're used to hearing from President Trump today. It has taken her nearly a quarter-century to catch up to the reality of the situation: that Californians recognize our diversity is also our greatest strength, and we need comprehensive immigration reforms that treat every person with dignity and help bring millions of hardworking people into the formal economy.

Unlike my opponent, I would never vote for 2 wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) that have cost taxpayers trillions of dollars and countless American lives.  I would never vote to try 13 year olds as adults. I would never vote to allow the federal government to spy on American citizens without a judicial warrant, and I would certainly never vote for funding to build a wall on our southern border.

Make no mistake, there's a lot of areas where Senator Feinstein and I agree. We are, after all, both Democrats. I would like to think of myself as the true progressive in this race that understands what California needs today.

McSteelers41 karma

Have you ever been the subject of a sexual harassment/misconduct investigation during your time in the legislature that has not been made public?

kevin_deleon39 karma

No, absolutely not. I have never been the subject of any type of sexual harassment/misconduct investigation during my time in office.

As senate leader, I worked with the Senate Women's Caucus and others to enact victim-focused, trauma-informed reforms in the California state legislature so that we do not retraumatize or silence any woman, man or person who wants to come forward.

usyed135 karma

  • 100% clean energy standards in the state, to protect against the existential threat of climate change.

What's your opinion on the DNC executive committee backtracking on its ban on fossil fuel donations? Even though the initial ban had very strong support?

A compromise was suggested and a measure was proposed to keep DNC fossil fuel super-pac money banned, but allow funds from individuals who work in the field. That measure was also shot down by the DNC executive committee.

Climate change is real and important to me and many other voters.

Are you taking donations from the fossil fuel industry or like-minded super-pacs? If so what is the reasoning?

What actual things would you do or propose to fight climate change?

kevin_deleon31 karma

First and foremost, I am not accepting donations from the fossil fuel industry. Although I'm not terribly happy about the DNC's decision, I am personally committed to moving an agenda in Washington that tackles head-on the existential threat of climate change to humanity.

I am the author of 100% clean energy, making California the largest economy in the world to legally commit itself to generating ALL of its energy from renewable sources and clean technologies. Let's be forward-thinking here: imagine what we could accomplish if we had that type of leadership at the federal level.

ScrappyPunkGreg30 karma

How do you expect the three recent US Supreme Court landmark decisions of Heller, McDonald and Caetano to impact your policies on gun control?

kevin_deleon3 karma

Without getting too into specifics, I believe it's imperative that we craft legislation with respect to what will be found constitutional by the courts. There are a lot of common sense gun safety reforms that we can enact without unduly infringing on a citizen's right to own a firearm. Also, thank you for your service to our country.

myownpersonalreddit28 karma

How can somebody with no US Senate experience fight better than somebody with decades of US Senate experience? Feinstein knows the ropes, has resources, connections, and possibly leverage over people. How do you expect to make up for all that you lack?

kevin_deleon50 karma

Senator Feinstein's two most significant accomplishments (the assault weapons ban, and the desert protection act) were passed within the first two years of her arrival on Capitol Hill in the early 90's. She was a freshman senator at the time and accomplished something significant. All of the seniority she has today means nothing unless she's willing to use it, and so far, she's used it to confirm 60% of Trump's judicial nominees and play by polite country club rules that have consistently disadvantaged Democrats when dealing with Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump.

Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, both freshman senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee, have fought with the courage of their convictions against Brett Kavanaugh. Dianne Feinstein has been far too polite.

pragprogressive53727 karma

How do you propose California finance a single payer health care program? As you know, the bill you passed out of the State Senate had no financing plan.

kevin_deleon34 karma

Passing SB 562, the single-payer healthcare bill, out of the Senate was intended to be a starting point - not a ending point. Quite frankly, it is not uncommon to move "uncooked" bills from one house to another house in order to continue the conversation; to keep an idea alive. Our objective was to continue debating this very important issue, and bring in economists along the way would would be able to identify potential funding mechanisms. We must continue working to figure out how to make sure every single Californian has healthcare coverage, because I believe healthcare is a human right - not the exclusive privilege of the rich. Californians are already paying for a single-payer system - but aren't receiving the benefits.

fourmajor27 karma

What do you think is the reason that we defer so much to incumbents? How can we change this culture?

kevin_deleon50 karma

Incumbents have a lot of advantages. They get a ton of institutional support, they oftentimes have large war-chests, and they are surrounded and protected by a system designed to keep them in power. In the U.S. Senate, incumbency and seniority can be extremely powerful – but only if you use it. One of the reasons I’m running is because I don’t believe Dianne Feinstein has used her incumbency and seniority to adequately confront Donald Trump and his agenda.

E46_M317 karma

Will you fight for Net Neutrality for Californian’s?

kevin_deleon47 karma

Yes! I helped pass the California Net Neutrality bill. These are the strongest net neutrality protections for consumers in the nation, and we wrote it knowing that Jeff Sessions' Department of Justice would sue us. I say bring it on.

fringolino15 karma

Opinion on the bullet train?

kevin_deleon23 karma

Improving and expanding California’s public transit is critical to building our growing economy. While the voters did approve a High-Speed Rail that improves access to two of California’s most populous cities, the escalating costs associated with building the train are concerning. This is something that almost every industrialized country has, and it's a good thing. But we should focus first on integrating public transportation systems in our local communities would lay the necessary groundwork for a High-Speed rail system that would then rely on existing infrastructure, instead of building the entire system from the ground up. The cost overruns are certainly concerning.

Jonfromfinance12 karma

Have you done anything or are planning to do anything about the drought problem in CA? Lake Mead in NV (where southern CA gets most of their water from) is receding to dangerous levels to the point where CA could be cutoff in the next 10-15 years. Will that dependency be shifted to the already heavily tapped reservoirs in Northern CA? This seems like a serious issue that hardly any politicians are talking about.

kevin_deleon18 karma

I did not support the Delta Tunnel Project when it would have meant the construction of a massive infrastructure project that cuts through the Central Valley, and I am still not sure we should move forward on the project in its current form. Climate change is having major impacts on California, with periods of intense drought and explosive wildfires followed by extremely wet seasons. Those shifts will require a comprehensive pivot in water management policy to ensure safe, adequate distribution and sufficient flood protection.

edited: you're right, we don't talk about it enough, and it is important.

Tight_Confusion11 karma

Senator Feinstein has hidden from Californians, will you commit to holding regular town halls in California?

kevin_deleon15 karma

The real work for the people of California starts in town halls, not in the halls of power. That’s why I’ll commit to regular town halls and public forums – providing ample opportunities for hard-working Californians to discuss and debate the issues that matter most.  If elected, I will spend my time at home engaging with the people of this great state so I can represent their interests more accurately in Washington, D.C.

AvTheMarsupial10 karma

Senator, thank you for doing this AMA.

I am challenging Dianne Feinstein because now, more than ever, we need better leadership in Washington D.C. that can take on Donald Trump.

  1. How, specifically, do you believe that Senator Feinstein has failed to adequately confront President Trump and his agenda?

  2. You list several popular policies such as cannabis legalization and tuition free college as part of your platform, but how would you use your pulpit to promote Californian interests under the Trump and future presidencies, similar to how Governor Brown is doing so with his visits to Paris to discuss the climate accord, or "launching our own damn satellite?"

  3. As a State Senator working in Sacramento, I'm sure you've heard much about it, but how would you use your office to alleviate some of the problems facing both the Sacramento area and the rest of the state, such as the current housing and water crises?

  4. What are your positions on the Propositions on the state ballot for this November?

kevin_deleon11 karma

  1. I was talking to a prominent immigrant rights leader in my Los Angeles district last week, who told me she supports my candidacy because working with Senator Feinstein has become too difficult. We should not have to organize and protest just to get our senior senator to represent our interests. Specifically, Sen. Feinstein has confirmed 60% of Trump's judges. She refuses to support Medicare-for-All while the Trump Administration works to gut the Affordable Care Act. How is it the Jr. senator from California is a more vocal opponent of this President, and has done more to dig in and fight back against his Administration?
  2. I've traveled the world, including speaking at a climate conference at the Vatican, to expand a global conversation about the progress we've made here in California as it relates to climate change. Just as important as using the bully pulpit of a senator from California, is organizing at the grassroots to build coalitions that will drive the change we want to see at the state, federal, national, and global levels.
  3. I'm a strong support of Propositions 1, 2, and 10 which collectively seek to alleviate the housing crisis by funding the construction of affordable housing and strengthening rent control laws. I'm the author of Prop 2, called "No Place Like Home", which will provide $2.2 billion for chronically homeless individuals with severe mental illnesses. California is quickly becoming more unaffordable. Younger generations are struggling to realize the California Dream, because of rising housing costs. We need to face this problem head-on, but I'd be lying to you if I told you there was a simple solution.
  4. Yes on Propositions 1, 2, 8, 10, and 4. I'm a no on Propositions 3 and 6.

MarijuanaNews10 karma

You said above that you "fought for" cannabis legalization, but ahead of the 2016 ballot vote on the issue, you said you had "concerns" about it. Can you say more about what you did, if anything, to actually bring about legalization?

kevin_deleon11 karma

I want to be clear that I did not work on cannabis legalization policy as leader of the CA State Senate. However, after seeing how California has successfully implemented the will of the voters in regards to legalization, as starting to address vast inequities in our criminal justice system - I am committed to fighting in the U.S. Senate to deschedule and decriminalize cannabis at the federal level.

deckeym7 karma

Have you witnessed any of your colleagues (Republican or democrat) throughout your career doing anything immoral or to the detriment of the people they represent whilst serving public office?

kevin_deleon15 karma

The unfortunate reality of serving in a legislative body is the influence of extremely wealthy special interests on our process. Far too often, it was clear in committee hearings and during floor votes which members were voting in the best interest of their constituents, and which were casting their “AYE” or “NO” at the will of corporate lobbyists and wealthy donors. It happens on both sides of the aisle. Fortunately, as elected officials, we have the power to reject that influence on our own – but we need to take it to the next level and build a better campaign finance system that keeps power in the hands of the voters, not corporate donors.

claaaay_davis7 karma

Two questions:

Do you worry about California's Net Neutrality law will hold up?

Why do you think Dianne is afraid of debating you?

kevin_deleon20 karma

I think we have a strong case, and I have all confidence in our Attorney General Xavier Becerra. We passed this bill knowing the Dept. of Justice would challenge us. They sued us before on the California Values Act (Sanctuary State) and we won. This fight may be tougher, but my message to the Attorney General Jeff Sessions is: bring it on.

Senator Feinstein is ducking debates because she thinks she thinks that if she got up on a debate stage with us, we would win. Just about every major news outlet in California has offered a host, sponsor, and televise a debate. Californians under the age of 35 have never seen her debate in an election where they’ve been eligible to vote. She's trying to coast to victory without doing the hard work of campaigning.

MartyZorro5 karma

Do you have any plan to call out Sen. Feinstein for not pushing back hard enough on Merrick Garland? All we got were some strongly worded memos when she should have thrown her body on the gears. Can you please - for the sake of the future of this fragile country - give us some examples of how you intend to get respect from CA's voters for being a fighter?

kevin_deleon9 karma

I'm not waiting for election day to start holding Republican Senators' feet to the fire. Today I'm organizing a phone bank in Los Angeles to ring up Alaskans, to urge them to call Senator Murkowski's office and ask her to vote NO on Kavanaugh this weekend. With the power that a Senator like Dianne Feinstein has, why hasn't she been leading the fight among Democrats to ensure that we are united, and mobilizing the grassroots.

I know from my experience as president of the CA Senate that a vote on the Senate floor is just the final step in a much longer process of organizing, coalition building, and maneuvering to get to that point. Dianne Feinstein is letting California down when she plays polite, with a Republican party that doesn't hesitate to ram radical judges down our throats.

MartyZorro5 karma

Californians cold-calling random Alaskans will probably make the situation worse, actually, and it doesn't really have anything to do with the race you're in right now. My question was about calling out Sen. Feinstein for not rising to the challenges this era presents. Saying she's let CA down is a start, but that's not very bold for someone who wants to win. This is politics, and she gave up the privilege of deference when she decided to run again. You're not going to be able to mobilize anyone unless you can show you can throw a punch. What are you going to say to CA's voters to show you've got the guts?

kevin_deleon9 karma

First off, I don't think that we should be cold-calling Alaskans. We pull lists of democrats and independents in Alaska who will be receptive to our message. We urge them to contact their elected representatives, and honestly when I've done it, we get a really good response. Alaskans know that they're in the spotlight right now and we know that they are taking the issue seriously. So are we.

As to showing you that I have the "guts", I want to let my record speak for itself. I've stood up and fought for climate change, medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage, and all against entrenched opposition. I didn't quit, and I didn't back down. I challenged extremely well funded special interests with bottomless war-chests and won. But the measure of someone isn't about how spicy or savage their tweets are in order to seem tough, but by the quality of their work when it counts. I would like to be judged by my record of progressive accomplishments, not by whether or not I'm a provocateur.

orangejulius3 karma

How do you think Senate Democrats could most effectively oppose seating Kavanaugh?

kevin_deleon1 karma

If Senator Feinstein hadn't allowed Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals to hit the Senate floor for a vote in 2006 - his confirmation to the SCOTUS wouldn't be before the Senate today. But here we are.

As of right now, the Democrats' only option is to organize like hell. Organize phone banks, urge constituents to call their Senators, and take to the streets in peaceful protest.

SCD592-1 karma

What do you love most about California?

Also would you say California is a great state or the greatest state?

kevin_deleon9 karma

Man I hate these hardball questions.

The thing I love about this state is that my mother, an immigrant who came here in search of a better life for herself and her kids was able to find a way to do that in California. She worked her fingers to the bone, but I was never denied school or treatment, or opportunity because of the color of my skin or my mother's immigration status. California provided a sanctuary when she needed it and I am 100% a product of the American Dream. I love California for that. I love California for its innovative spirit and eagerness to challenge the status quo. That and the taco stand on Avenue 26 in Lincoln Heights in LA, the al pastor taco. wow.

Greatest state, easily. West Coast Best Coast.

orangejulius-1 karma

Will you vote for removal of POTUS if the House passes articles of impeachment?

kevin_deleon0 karma

While some urged us to have patience with President Trump, and suggested that he could one day be a good President - I never bought it, and Californians haven't either. I think he is manifestly unfit for office; I think he is a racist, a misogynist, and apparently has fallen in love with Kim Jong-un. I've gone on the record saying that his behavior in Helsinki was borderline, if not full-blown, treason. My preference of course is to win back the Presidency in 2020, but Congress has a responsibility to act like a co-equal branch of government and hold the Executive Branch accountable - Trump or no Trump. Under Republican leadership, they have completely and wholly abdicated that responsibility. I look forward to a Democratic majority that will check Donald Trump's anti-democratic behavior.