Candidates for Secretary of State


Meet the three candidates for Secretary of State: 


Derek Cressman

 For the past 19 years, Derek Cressman has been a national leader in the fight for fair elections, expanded democracy, and more transparent government. Until June of 2013, Derek Cressman served as Vice President of State Operations for Common Cause, a non-partisan government watchdog organization.

 He previously held the positions of Western States Regional Director and Assistant Director for Election Reform. He is a registered Democrat but is committed to administering the Secretary of State’s office in a non-partisan manner.

 Cressman has worked professionally as a good government advocate since 1995 when he directed the Democracy Program for the Public Interest Research Groups. He has worked to pass and implement California’s Independent Redistricting Commission, enact California’s on-line voter registration system, and filed a successful complaint at the Fair Political Practices Commission that led to an investigation of $11 million that was secretly spent on our elections in 2012.  Two organizations linked to the Koch Brothers network received a record fine as a result of Derek’s work.

 He has testified before the U.S. Senate, California Assembly and Senate, served as an expert in federal litigation, and authored numerous reports as well as the book, The Recall’s Broken Promise—How Big Money Still Runs California Politics.

 Cressman began his career as a community organizer working with students at UC Santa Barbara and UC Berkeley around environmental issues. He graduated with honors from Williams College with a degree in political science in 1990.

 He lives in Sacramento with his wife and two children.


 Alex Padilla

Through fifteen years in elected office, Senator Alex Padilla has built an impressive record of accomplishment and has been recognized for his exceptional leadership skills. Now Alex Padilla is running for Secretary of State to engage millions of new voters and make it easier to start a business in the biggest state in the country.

 As State Senator, Alex Padilla represents more than 1.1 million people in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles.  Eighty Padilla bills have been signed into law since he was elected to the State Senate in 2006.  Around the Capitol named Padilla one of 2013’s “Most Effective Legislators,” citing his ability to “take on big bills and keep warring parties within the caucus.”

 Frequently mentioned as one of America’s Latino rising stars, Alex Padilla is President of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, representing 6,000 Latino leaders nationwide. Winning a seat on the LA City Council at age 26, Alex Padilla was later elected by his peers as Council President, becoming the first Latino and youngest member ever to serve as President.

 Like so many Californians, Padilla’s parents immigrated here in pursuit of the American Dream.  His father, a retired member of UNITE HERE, worked as a cook and his mother cleaned houses.  Alex Padilla grew up in the working class neighborhood of Pacoima and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in mechanical engineering.  He lives in the San Fernando Valley with his wife Angela and their two sons.


Leland Yee

After serving four years in the California State Assembly, Leland Yee was elected to the State Senate in November 2006 with the largest winning percentage for any Democratic candidate.  In 2010, Senator Yee was re-elected, receiving the most votes of any Democratic legislator in the State. Yee is the first Chinese American ever elected to the California State Senate.

Senator Yee has fought for children, mental health services, working families, seniors, education, open government, consumer protection, civil rights, election reform, and the environment.  He has consistently voted against budget cuts to education, social services, and health care.

Yee has been named “Legislator of the Year” by the American Psychological Association, California School Employees Association, California Psychiatric Association, California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, Community College Association, San Francisco Women’s Political Committee, California Faculty Association, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

In 2013, Senator Leland Yee had 14 bills chaptered into law. Most notably, SB 44 requires all websites operated by the state of California to add a link to the Secretary of State’s voter registration page. SB 286 extends the Green Sticker program, incentivizing the use of plug-in hybrid vehicles so clean our air and reduce our carbon footprint. SB 528 provides assistance to pregnant and parenting foster youth. SB 553 increases oversight standards for fee elections. SB 751 required large intergovernmental agencies to comply with the Brown Act, keeping them more accountable to the public. SJR 14 called upon Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act.