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June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
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United States

U.S. House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 11

Photo of Dennis Lytton

Dennis Lytton

Transportation Manager
8,695 votes (5.5%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Universal healthcare
  • Infrastructure investment
  • Holding the Trump Administration to Account



Profession:Manager at Bay Area Rapid Transit District
Supervisor of Operations, Bay Area Rapid Transit District (2016–current)


Georgetown University - McCourt School of Public Policy Masters in Public Policy, Public Policy (2013)
University of California, Los Angeles Bachelor of Arts, Political Science (1998)


Dennis is a Supervisor of Operations at BART (the Bay Area Rapid Transit District) and a proud member of the AFSCME local 3993 (American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO). Dennis is a recognized expert in public transit operations, safety, and security. He also writes and advocates on transportation and electoral reform issues.


A lifelong Californian, Dennis went to college at UCLA and earned a master's in public policy at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.


Dennis met his wife Amelia at UCLA. They have two sons, four-and-a-half year old Ty and 22 month old Freddie and the family makes their home in Pleasant Hill.

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California Education Fund (5)

What financing method(s) would you support to repair or improve roads, rails, ports, airports, the electrical grid and other infrastructure in the U.S.?
Answer from Dennis Lytton:

At the federal level, there are already grant making programs for surface transportation (roads & rails) paid for by the federal gas tax. The federal gas tax is not indexed to inflation and has been gradually going down each year for more than 20 years. It’s time to increase it. Increasing the gas tax is widely supported, even by the conservative US Chamber of Commerce.

Also, we should expand the federal government’s loan program for surface transportation – RIFF (Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing) and TIFIA loans (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act) – and look for more opportunities for deeper P3’s (public-private partnerships) while still providing robust public financing.

The same goes for other infrastructure generally. Look towards enhancing public revenue sources and matching those to innovative P3 finance and procurement arrangements.

What programs or legislation, if any, would you support to help Americans of all ages secure affordable health care?
Answer from Dennis Lytton:

We should have Universal Healthcare that leaves no American uninsured or worried about going into debt and poverty when deciding to get medical treatment.

In a complex federal country of 325 million people there’s more than one way to get to Universal Healthcare. Most of the developed world has single-payer healthcare like the United Kingdom and Canada. Germany mostly has the government pay but also has some private health insurance.

The government already pays for large sectors of the healthcare market: government workers, military retirees, Medicare for the elderly, Medicaid for the poor. Those programs could be expanded.

How about Medicare for All? It would expand an already proven program.

Insuring every American would be good for the economy. It would improve health outcomes and put more people into jobs and into the market.

Moreover, it’s just the right thing to do.

Describe an immigration policy that you would support if presented to the House.
Answer from Dennis Lytton:

First off, we should enshrine DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) into law. President Trump, GOP Senate leader McConnel, and Speaker Ryan repeatedly promised a fix for this but never could deliver. It’s simply the right thing to do to regularize the immigration status of those brought to this country as children through no fault of their own. 

Our immigration policy is among the most successful in the world. We integrate about a million immigrants a year in a country of 325 million people. No other major country does that – not China, France, the United Kingdom, or Japan, for instance. It is our strength as a country and allows us to stay competitive as an economy while other countries face stagnation and population loss. Immigration, immigrants, and Native Americans are at the center of America’s heritage – our DNA. 

My mother immigrated to the US in the early 70’s from the Philippines. My father’s ancestors came to Maryland and New York more than 300 years ago from England and Holland. We all have stories like this. They are immigrant stories. The are all American’s stories. 

I’ll always support robust immigration. 

We also have a special obligation to support refugees from war torn areas. The U.S. has not been taking in it’s fare share of refugees from places like Syria. That got worse after Trump’s horrific and discriminatory Muslim Ban. It’s been a shame on our country and its legacy. 

A nation of laws also gets to have borders and control immigration to be sure. And to keep out potentially dangerous individuals. Apprehensions at the US border with Mexico are the lowest it’s ever been. Our border – by land, sea, and air – is secure. You can thank the Coast Guard and other federal agencies for that. Can we always look to do better? To make a border control more fair, humane, and effective? Of course. But is there some great border security crisis? No. 

Trump’s “Border Wall” has nothing to do with good public policy and is about driving a wedge between different Americans. Americans largely have not been fooled by this fear mongering and division. We will get through this and embrace each other and our diversity as Americans. We’ll keep moving forward as the most dynamic and diverse country on Earth.

What programs or legislation would you support to meet the water needs of Californians and the federal water project infrastructure in California?
Answer from Dennis Lytton:

California’s experience with water management over the 20th century has been and exemplar of American ingenuity. Large water projects have brought water from the mountains and Colorado River to population centers throughout the state. The federal government’s role in this is largely to support the policy decisions made by the state legislature and the people when put to the voters. 

Generally, I believe our water policy should: 

  • Help the environment – Sometimes the large water projects have wreaked environmental havoc. Mono Lake in eastern California is a prime example. Its water receded after the Los Angeles water project. However, it’s also an example of environmental renewal when efforts to save it in recent decades have largely been successful. We don’t have to make a choice between he environment, water, and economic development. Our American ingenuity demands more of us.

  • Support our growing population and conserve – California is America’s dynamic engine of innovation. People want to be here. We need to accommodate their water needs and continue conservation efforts.

  • Support our important agricultural industry – California is America and the world’s breadbasket. If you eat an almond somewhere in this country or around the world, for instance, it was probably grown in the Central Valley. Our farmers need water in this climate. But we also need to protect the environment, sustain our precious supply of water, and provide for a growing population. Naysayers present this as some zero-sum game, a battle between rural and urban, San Francisco and Bakersfield. I don’t believe that. We can craft a policy that works for all.
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 Dennis Lytton:

One concrete, executable thing we can do to improve civility in our political life is to implement Ranked Choice Voting (RCV).

We mostly elect representatives from single member districts with a simple plurality. You don’t even have to get a majority of the vote to win.

A single-member form of RCV is currently used in several Bay Area cities. Voters rank candidates in preference order. If no one gets a majority on the first round then the candidate with the lowest vote total has their votes transferred to each voters’ second choice. This is done in as many rounds as necessary to ensure the winner gets a majority. People can feel free to vote for a minor or 3rd party candidate know their vote won’t be wasted on the looser. Or worse “spoiled” and help to elect the person they want the least. The 2000 Presidential election debacle in Florida and the election of Paul LePage as governor of Maine twice despite most voters rejecting him are but the most prominent examples.

But I think we should go further. HR 3057, the Fair Representation Act, was introduced by Rep Don Beyer (D-VA) last July. The House is currently exclusively elected from single-member districts. The proposal would replace this with multi-member districts elected via RCV.

The system is called Proportional Representation (PR). It’s the system most democracies use. The FairRep Act proposes a form of PR called Multi-Member Ranked Choice Voting (MM-RCV). Voters would rank order their choices for Congress. In a five-person seat, a candidate who gets 16.67% of the vote would be elected. Votes they receive over this amount are proportionately redistributed to other candidates. Here’s a handy YouTube video.

With the “wasted vote” and “spoiler vote” problem largely eliminated, the vast majority of voters would be able to point to one or more of their district’s Congress members and know that they helped elect them. Multi-member districts would be a spectrum of their community’s politics. Because candidates don’t want to alienate voters who may put them as their second or higher choice they’ll tend not to go negative. PR is a better way to deal with diverse, pluralist societies.

Single-member district elections “manufacture” majorities that voters don’t give them. Some of this is due to Gerrymandering no doubt. (The FairRep Act also mandates non-partisan redistricting). But mostly it’s due to the very nature of the single-member district electoral system – literally the math of it.

Third parties would become likely. Green Party, Libertarian Republicans, and breakaway Bernie-crats immediately come to mind as groups that would get representation so long as they don’t alienate voters’ subsequent ballot preferences. Republicans would be elected from urban districts. Democrats from rural conservative areas. Nearly all congressional Districts would now have farms, cities and suburbs. Red District, Blue District distinctions would fade.

A Proportional Representation Congress would have to find consensus. This kind of coalition building is seen all the time in democracies around the world.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $23,299

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

Dennis Lytton
Employees of Dc Dept Of Transportation
Employees of Disney
Employees of Presidio Interactive Corp.
Employees of Rail Passengers Association
Employees of Renteur Corporation

More information about contributions

By State:

California 90.26%
District of Columbia 5.57%
Alabama 1.39%
Hawaii 1.39%
Minnesota 1.39%

By Size:

Large contributions (88.71%)
Small contributions (11.29%)

By Type:

From organizations (0.00%)
From individuals (100.00%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Both sides of the aisle in Washington, filled with longtime incumbents and lackluster leadership, have failed to not just uphold their principles but have failed to legislate and compromise.


Like you, I believe so many things require attention in Washington:


  • I believe we need to fix our politics and reform our electoral and campaign systems.
  • We need universal national healthcare
  • We need to fix and expand our decaying infrastructure, especially local transit and trains
  • We need to ensure human rights for every American and support those abroad who seek the same freedoms
  • We need comprehensive gun control. We're the only country in the world where gun violence kills and maims so many.
  • Our men and women in the Armed Forces are deployed all over the world now in harms way. They represent the best of our country.
    • Our foreign policy should uphold our values abroad and honor service members' sacrifices when they return. 
  • Education and hard work are access points to the America dream. I support making our schools better – from elementary through vocational training and college – and not saddling young people with burdensome debt


I could go on about policy issues. I trust that you and I share the same values for our country and its future. I’m reminded of this quote from FDR’s Four Freedom’s Speech. Given in 1941 during the darkest days of WWII, I think it encapsulates how I feel:


“For there is nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy. The basic things expected by our people of their political and economic systems are simple. They are: Equality of opportunity for youth and for others. Jobs for those who can work. Security for those who need it. The ending of special privilege for the few. The preservation of civil liberties for all.”


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