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March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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California State AssemblyCandidate for District 1

Photo of Elizabeth L. Betancourt

Elizabeth L. Betancourt

Farmer/Watershed Scientist
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Improve education and healthcare access and options throughout AD1 through building on existing successes and expanding the reach of community healthcare centers throughout rural CA.
  • Workforce development and jobs growth through increased natural resources investment and increased in-region educational opportunities, including access to university education as well as increased career/technical education options.
  • Expand housing options at all economic levels, as well as schools and other community infrastructure, ensuring all communities are able to accommodate community needs, building union job availability and sustainable economic growth.



Profession:Rural Advocate, Watershed Scientist, Farmer
Member, Redding Community Development Advisory Committee — Appointed position (2017–current)
Board Vice Chair, Western Shasta Resource Conservation District — Elected position (2018–2019)
Director, Western Shasta Resource Conservation District — Appointed position (2011–2017)
Trustee, Sacramento River Watershed Program — Appointed position (2011–2016)


Colorado State University Masters of Science, Watershed Science (2015)
UC Davis Bachelors of Science, Environmental Biology and Management (2004)

Community Activities

Active Member, Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ, Redding, CA (2011–current)
Founder and Convener, Redding Women's March (2017–current)
Regional Lead, Yes on Proposition 37 (Labling GMOs) (2013–2013)


For the nearly 20 years I have focused my professional career on ensuring healthy forests and watersheds. I have specialized experience in collaborative forest management, including innovative product development combined with bioenergy facilities, as well as in water resources planning and management, including water rights and supply management.


I have worked with state policy and how it affects our federal forest system, and the variety of approaches to ensuring that all beneficiaries (including urban communities!) are part of planning and funding our healthy forests and watersheds. I’ve done a significant portion of this work as an advocate to the California Legislature, building bridges with urban areas and other rural districts and advocating for investment in our rural landscapes.


I’ve served on the Western Shasta Resource Conservation District Board for five years, one as our Board’s Vice Chair. I have also served on Redding’s Community Development Advisory Committee, hearing from many of our important non-profit service providers in the region and providing recommendations to the City Council for how to spend federal grant funds to best serve our friends and neighbors. 


My husband and I have a small farm in Happy Valley and for eight years have provided food to dozens of families in the region, and annually mill the fruit of our heritage olive trees to make oil. We have experienced the challenges of any small business, including struggling with capital availability, skilled workers, and outlets for our produce. We have also struggled with the state’s regulations, which are structured largely for large conventional agriculture and don’t respect the important role that small farms play in our regional economy as well as the natural world.


I have dedicated my life to public service, and see serving as your next Assembly Woman a natural next step: I have implemented laws, advocated for laws, and now it's time for a true child of northern California to help in shaping those laws.

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (4)

Describe what proposal(s) you would support to alleviate the shortage of affordable housing for all income groups in California?
Answer from Elizabeth L. Betancourt:

Streamlining permitting

Accessory dwelling units

Incentives for up-zoning

Enforcement of affordable housing minimums

Community banking to put resources back into the community and help in offsetting affordable housing costs

What programs or legislation would you support to meet the water needs of all Californians?
Answer from Elizabeth L. Betancourt:

Safe drinking water for all

Locally- and regionally-specific resilience and reliability projects, such as storage, interconnections, and shared treatment facilities

Higher safety thresholds for chemical applications on agricultural land

More sophisitcated groundwater management and modeling

Shared data and information systems among state agencies

Tribal self-determination and water rights commensurate with land use and development plans

Healthy watershed/upland investment by all beneficiaries

To reach a goal of carbon neutrality by 2045, as set forth in a 2018 executive order what, if any, proposals, plans or legislation would you support?  Please be specific.
Answer from Elizabeth L. Betancourt:

Forest management

Renewable energy (biomass energy, tidal/wave energy, micro-hydro, appropriately-placed wind, battery storage, pumped storage, solar, gravitricity, heat pumps)

Electric cars

Ethanol from biomass

Local production for local consumption (decreasing transportation miles for food and other consumer products)

Passive solar building

Increased innovation in and use of hemp-based products

Putting a price on carbon emissions


According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, we spend over $81,000 per individual who is incarcerated.  Other than incarceration, what ways can the State address safety and justice?
Answer from Elizabeth L. Betancourt:

Restorative justice beginning in elementary school

Mentoring for all ages

Youth justice workshops

Jobs training

Racial and socioeconomic justice programs

Employer incentives and logistical support for hiring formerly incarcerated people

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $44,744

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

Northern California Carpenters Regional Council
California Association of Professional Scientists
Women in Power (WIP)
Employees of Barbara Chapman
Redding Rancheria Tribe

More information about contributions

By State:

California 99.13%
Colorado 0.58%
Missouri 0.29%

By Size:

Large contributions (77.11%)
Small contributions (22.89%)

By Type:

From organizations (62.31%)
From individuals (37.69%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

For nearly 20 years I've advocated for rural communities and rural issues, and understand both the way policy is made and how to develop policy that doesn't leave our communities out in the cold when it comes to implementation. Understanding the big picture and legislating from a holistic perspective is an important way to increase efficiency, efficacy, and on-the-ground innovation. I am interested in doing more of what works, and in unleashing the innovation present throughout our region to build our economy and create opportunities at all socioeconomic, academic, and professional levels. We have the solutions; we simply need the opportunity to express those!

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