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March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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United States

U.S. House of RepresentativesCandidate for District 7

Photo of Jeff Burdick

Jeff Burdick

Public Information Officer
15,114 votes (7.2%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Voting for Medicare for All to provide all Americans with simpler, less expensive and more effective health care. More than half of all Americans already favor this approach, including 77% of Democrats and 53% of Independents.
  • Launching a non-partisan Election Reform Constitutional Amendment to fix broken parts of our democracy. This includes reforming our corrupting campaign finance system, overturning Citizens United, and ending corporate personhood and gerrymandering.
  • Voting for a Green New Deal to aggressively combat climate change, quickly reach zero net new emissions, end fossil fuels and remove heat-trapping greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.



Profession:Father, husband, former journalist, Caltrans PIO
Public Information Officer, Caltrans (2019–current)
Writer and producer, Self (2012–2018)
Director of Digital Communications, College of American Pathologists (2010–2011)
Senior Communications Manager, ComEd (2005–2010)
Senior Associate, Taylor Johnson Public Relations (2002–2004)


Northwestern University Bachelor's of Science, Journalism (1992)

Community Activities

Overnight Shelter Coordinator (Volunteer), Lincoln Park Homeless Shelter (2002–2010)


Hello. I’m Jeff Burdick. I’m 49, a father and a husband, who lives in Arden-Arcade. I am former newspaper and magazine journalist, who has also worked in state and local government, including currently for Caltrans. I have also worked in D.C. and on a couple Congressional campaigns – one that was successful, and one that was no so much.


I’ve usually worked behind the scenes in politics and government, but that changed when I saw that our current incumbent had never been primaried by a fellow Democrat and that my solidly Democratic positions weren’t being represented by him in D.C. That’s when I decided to put my knowledge of government, policy and campaigns to work for this district. But first, I decided to make two crucial commitments.


No. 1, I would run on a traditional Progressive platform. Fortunately, this wasn’t hard to do since California's 7th Congressional District is now solidly Democratic and most Democrats and independents favor my own positions in support of Medicare for All, Comprehensive Drug Cost Reform, and the Green New Deal.


No. 2, I would not compromise my core principles simply to win. This has meant taking the most principled fundraising pledge in the nation. Not only am I taking no PAC or corporate money, I will accept donations only from voters like you who live in our district. The goal with this simple. I want to maximize your voice and influence once you send me to D.C. No dual loyalties to big outside donors who always get special access while my constituents are invited to stay in touch through my Web site.


I launched my campaign 7 months ago. It has been a very enjoyable marathon so far, and with your support in this primary, I look forward to tackling the next marathon ahead that will finish in November. Again, I am Jeff Burdick and I appreciate your consideration to serve as your next representative in Congress. Together, we will restore the "for the people, by the people" concept to the gated community that our federal government has become.

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (3)

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 Jeff Burdick:

I believe our nation needs another ICE-TEA bill or major infrastructure plan, and I favor ensuring a significant portion is dedicated to expanding public mass transit. There is definitely a lot of backlogged infrastructure maintenance and repair work. I work for Caltrans, and even with SB 1 funds, the needs are greater than the available fund.


But we can’t just protect existing infrastructure assets. We need to use the next big infrastructure bill to invest for the future. That means investing to transition our country to be less dependent on GHG emitting modes and investments that have long-term benefits.


That is why I am a proponent of ensuring expanding mass transit be a major goal of any next infrastructure plan. in future needs and address climate change. That’s providing federal matching dollar to increase prioritization of this by state and local agencies.


I would stick with the government’s regular financing method through the standard budget process. We could pay for a $2 trillion program over 10 years with half the money coming from undoing half of the Trump business tax cuts, and the other half coming from ending corporate welfare programs that benefit solidly profitable major corporations. (I am not a fan of Trump plan to use special bonds outside of our normal Treasury bills. It struck me as a typical real estate developer scheme that only adds extra costs on the backend.)

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

I support Medicare for All, which would simplify, reduce the cost and improve healthcare outcomes. Most studies estimate it would reduce overall medical costs in America by 10% from its current $3 trillion total. Plus, according to the most recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 77% of Democrats already favor Medicare for All and 53% of Independents/Unaffilitated voters, with 51% overall in support.

I also support comprehensive drug cost reform to let Americans pay the same price for the same medicine as the rest of the world. This is supported by 80% of voters of all stripes.

Describe an immigration policy that you would support if presented to the House of Representatives.
Answer from Jeff Burdick:

I am partial to the 2013 Senate Immigration Reform bill as a good starting point. It passed the Senate with 68 votes. It provided a pathway to citizenship, required paying back taxes. It reformed aspects of the H1B program, eliminated the visa lottery, and protected the Dreamers. The 2013 bill also included increased funding provisions for border patrol and facilities. Given all the funding increases since then, I would need to review the current state of border funding to see what, if any, increase is still needed for modern equipment, etc.

The one change I would recommend to this bill is greater enforcement provisions and penalties against business owners who hire illegal immigrants. It is a puzzling aspect of our immigration enforcement system that goes easy on law-breaking business owners, but demonizes illegal immigrants. By letting the business owners off so easily, this allows private leveraging of the profits from illegal immigration through lower cost illegal workers, but socializes the cost of interdiction to the taxpayers. Major penalties should exist for such businesses that are caught employing undocumented workers. This would reduce the demand, and in turn the supply.

Questions from The Sacramento Bee (3)

In an era of polarized politics, which issues show the most promise for bipartisan agreement?
Answer from Jeff Burdick:

This question reflects a flawed understanding of the fundamental cause of gridlock in D.C. The true cause of most gridlock is our corrupting campaign finance system that has infected both political parties and all three branches of federal government. Consider how many issues exist on which a vast majority of Americans already agree, but that moneyed interests have effectively bought a veto right from them ever coming to a floor vote in one or both houses of Congress. See prescription drug reform, campaign finance reform, guaranteeing a women’s right to choose, banning assault weapons, immigration reform, addressing the opioid crisis, net neutrality, fighting income inequality, making vaping illegal, a la carte cable, Wall Street reform, selling personal data, runaway college tuition, curtailing corporate welfare, ending corporate personhood, and combating climate change. 

Thus in our current system, the issues with the greatest chance for bipartisan agreement would actually benefit average voters the least and benefit rich industries the most. We already see that in the bipartisan agreements to regularly increase Defense Department spending and how the 2016 DEA bill was passed by unanimous voice vote. But that bill took away key enforcement power from the Drug Enforcement Administration. This only helped big Pharma, and lengthened and deepened the Opioids Crisis. Think about that. In our famously gridlocked political system, a major bill passed with significantly harmful health effects but with no floor debates and not a single dissenting vote. How does that happen, but for the half billion dollars spent every election cycle by Big Pharma.  

So the most critical fundamental change we need is to reform our broken election system can only come by a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That is why key to my platform is running to introduce and lead passage of a nonpartisan Election Reform Constitutional Amendment. This would fix several fundamental flaws in our elections that most voters already agree on, but that the Supreme Court has either refused to fix or has made worse through its rulings. This includes removing 80% of the money from our federal elections by only allowing federal candidates to accept donations from individuals who can vote for them (no PAC, corporate, Union or outside donations); overturning the 2010 Citizens United ruling that opened the dark-money flood gates; ending corporate personhood; and ending gerrymandering.

With these and a few other smaller reforms, we can remove most of the corrupting money and partisan gamesmanship from our electoral system and return voters of all political persuasions to their rightful central position in our political system. This will allow more candidates to run who are more interested in public service than telemarketing and diminish the extreme partisanship we see in Washington.

Should the federal government help California with its homelessness problem? If so, how? If not, why not?
Answer from Jeff Burdick:

As someone who once volunteered at a homeless shelter for nine years, this is an issue with which I am passionate about and well-acquainted. In the short-term, the federal government has some role to play in helping California with its homeless population, but its most significant role is making fundamental long-term fixes that address income inequality and reduce the other causes that lead so many individuals and families live so close to financial ruin.

In the short-term, the federal government can work with the state on loosening rules involving government-owned properties in urban areas that can be used for temporary housing. Emergency funds could also be made available to subsidize more low-income housing – both of a permanent and transitional variety. Additional funding can also be provided for so-called “wrap-around services” that work to address root causes that contributed to and lengthen an individual’s unsheltered time. This includes providing service to address mental issues that afflict roughly a third of the homeless population, and addiction recovery services that would benefit another third of this population. Job counseling, interview training, temporary housing, lease/downpayment assistance and meals are also common services that help the most in this population return to independent living.

In terms of long-term benefits, the most important contributions the federal government can make is by addressing the root causes of income inequality and the increasing percentage of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, with little cash reserves to survive a life emergency –such as major medical expense or loss of a job. And the fact that there are already so many Americans in this category during a supposed “booming economy” is extremely distressing.

But this underscores the need for passing a $15 national minimum wage index for inflation, passing Medicare for All to remove access and cost issues of health care as a cause of homeless. This includes providing access to mental and addiction-recovery services early on. And by reducing our income inequality, we would see market forces flatten housing costs from our current conditions of extreme spiking that can so quickly and dramatically push current residents out of a community through rent spikes and extreme gentrification.

The federal government can also address assist with the housing shortage issue by investing in a new ICE-TEA bill or major infrastructure plan that features a significant portion dedicated to expanding public mass transit. This would reduce commuting costs for middle-class citizens, students, and low-income workers, and would increase the attractiveness of more infill development in urban areas and slow the tendency toward sprawl that pushes more and more home buyers further away from job centers. This in turn leads to more households less able to adjust to the loss of a vehicle and being able to quickly find another proximate job following an employment disruption.

Should federal income taxes be reduced again? If so, for whom? If not, why not?
Answer from Jeff Burdick:

No, federal incomes should not be reduced. We need to reverse a good portion of the Trump tax cuts for the very rich and corporations as part of lessening income inequality. I would increase rates on seven-figure and higher incomes, I would remove the FICA tax cap on income over $130,000, and I would cut in half the Trump business tax cut by at least half. The Trump business tax cut dropped the tax rate from 35% to 21%, but I would increase this to at least 28%. This would generate more than $1 trillion over 10 years for deficit reduction. The impact of halving the business tax cut would be lessened by Medicare for All removing health care as a business expense. Medicare for All would also save most Americans some money on health care, especially senior citizens who would no longer need to pay out of pocket or for supplementary insurance to cover vision, dental and hearing needs.

I do not foresee a need for any net tax increase for middle- and working-class taxpayers. This includes to pay for Medicare for All. Furthermore, any additional costs from expanded coverage for seniors and covering the uncovered could be paid for by eliminated corporate welfare programs. The non-liberal Cato Institute has conservatively identified at least $100 million per year that goes to already highly profitable corporations. This would result in another $1 trillion in savings over 10 years.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $27,198

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

Jeff Burdick
Employees of Hudson Rpo
Employees of United States Postal Service

More information about contributions

By State:

California 100.00%

By Size:

Large contributions (92.07%)
Small contributions (7.93%)

By Type:

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

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I firmly believe in the concept of American democracy as "for the people, by the people," and I despise what a gated community our federal government has become. But every election offers the opportunity for change, but this requires two things. First, it requires individuals of ability and principle to bravely offer themselves up as candidates, and for voters and the surrounding community to overcome their learned inertia that nothing can ever be changed and vote for those candidates.

I understand how powerful that inertia can be. In our 7th Congressional District, us voters here haven't had a choice of two Democrat primary candidates in 22 years. That's since 1998. That's since last century. Given that history, it's easy to forget what it's like for center-left voters to have an actual choice of candidates. This may also be why none of our major area TV, radio or daily newspaper is covering any aspect of this primary race. But that is not an acceptable excuse. As a former journalist, I feel media coverage of our local exercise in democracy has been nothing short of professional malpractice. After all, we journalists love pointing out that our profession is the only one protecting by name in the Bill of Rights. Given this, it should be reflexive for all media outlets to shine a little attention on every election. But our local Sacramento news media have succumbed to the same inertia.

Then there's the inertia that comes from wondering how any principled candidate like myself who refuses PAC and corporate donations can beat a corporate-backed opponents. But goliaths do fall, but never in a vacuum of inertia. But with an army of powerfully convicted and active supporters, we can turn every corporate-raised dollar spent by our opponent into an advertisement against corporate-owned and corporate-run government. We just need to get over our learned inertia of the mind and action.  

The same goes for my major issue of passing a non-partisan Election Reform Constitutional Amendment. It is now our only option for ever driving out all of the corrupting outside money from our political system, but the good news is more than 80% of voters of all stripes agree. It will take a journey of a 1,000 miles to enact this critically needed change, but with such support, the only thing that can stop us is our own inertia. But let's remember how that army of wheelchairs and other concerned citizens flooded Congressional offices and stopped a Republican-controlled Congress from repealing the Obamacare protection for pre-existing conditions. So we can prevail in this fight to win back voter-control of our federal government. After all, when it comes to wanting positive change, the inertia we must most fear is the inertia in ourselves. Let's overcome it together.

Position Papers

Nonpartisan Election Reform Constitutional Amendment


My nonpartisan Election Reform Constitutional Amendment would eliminte all corporate and PAC money from federal elections, overturn Citizen’s United, end gerrymandering and reform other aspects of political fundraising and elections. It’s all part of restoring the core principles of representative democracy that once made us the envy of the free world. 

Key to real election reform is ending the Citizens United ruling, banning outside money, removing corporations’ right as people, and ending gerrymandering. Thus central to my proposed 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is a ban on candidates accepting donations from any source not eligible to vote for them. This would outlaw all political donations from PACs, corporations, special interests, national parties and most super-rich individuals.

This should eliminate perhaps 80% of all campaign donations and make local elections truly local again. This would also encourage more citizens of strong character to run who prefer to focus more on public service than fundraising.


However, some loopholes will still need closing to protect the integrity of our elections, and we should likewise reform several other aspects of our elections. Here are the specifics of my Election Reform Amendment:

  1. Candidates may accept campaign donations and in-kind contributions only from individuals eligible to vote for them.  

  2. Overturn the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court ruling by declaring:

    • Corporations are not people, in any respect or context.

    • Political donations are not free speech and can be regulated.

    • An effective end to “dark” money by prohibiting major broadcast, cable, print, digital and social media outlets from running paid political ads submitted by any entity that lacks a transparent donor list or has foreign ties.

    • A ban on candidate-specific outside advertisements within 30 days of the start of balloting. (“Outside” is defined as any person or entity that is not the campaign of a registered candidate in that race.)

  3. No primary can be scheduled more than six months before the general election.

  4. Major broadcast, cable, print, digital and social media outlets may not run any paid ads supporting or opposing Supreme Court nominations. 

  5. Gerrymandering is prohibited by requiring Congressional districts to resemble, as much as possible, simple rectangles and to fairly represent the local political and ethnic diversity. District boundaries should be straight and feature no more than 10 corners. (See below.) A curved boundary may substitute if formed by a coastline, river, lake or a historically established municipal, county or state line. 

However, introducing the Election Reform Amendment is just one of several steps needed to achieve ratification. Jeff Burdick has a plan for building the support in Congress to get the Amendment passed by two-thirds of both houses and then ratified by the states.

It will require a lot of focused hard work. But because Jeff will not spend 70 percent of his time fund-raising like other Congressmen², he will have the time to lead this drive. 

² According to former Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD) & former U.S. Rep. David Jolly (R-FL).

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