John Legend wants you to vote in Sacramento County’s DA election. Here’s what’s on his mind

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A lot of celebrities use their platforms to share their thoughts on national politics, urging their fans to vote in big-ticket races like U.S. president or governor of California. Grammy award-winning artist John Legend, on the other hand, wants to get down to the ground level. He’s turning his attention to local elections around the country where he sees an opportunity to support candidates he believes will make a difference on the issue he most cares about: discrimination in the criminal justice system. This year, one of the candidates benefiting from his support is Alana Mathews, who is running for Sacramento County District Attorney against Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Thien Ho.

Legend highlighted Mathews on Twitter last month in a batch of six district attorney endorsements, touting her campaign to the more than 13 million people who follow him on the social media platform. “We know that Alana has actual traction in the community, and she’s committed to investing more in social services, victim services, and mental health services,” Legend said. “She knows that incarceration is not the solution to all issues of crime and that we need to be smarter and consider alternatives.”

Legend wrote on Twitter last month he is paying “close attention” to races around the country that feature people of color running for prosecutorial positions that influence the legal system. “We started doing that because the more we listened to activists, the more we listened to folks who have a role in the system. We realized that one area that wasn’t being focused on enough,” said Legend, who has been weighing in on local district attorney elections around the country for the past five years. “The role, the influence and power that prosecutors have in the system. They have so much influence over which charges are brought.”

Legend once sang that “the future started yesterday, we’re already late”. He encourages voters to get involved, learn about the candidates, and make the best decision for themselves and their communities. Mathews was blown away by the celebrity’s endorsement. “Well, I was very excited about that and I just think that it shows that the change that I want to bring to Sacramento County is really a change as needed across the state and across the nation,” said Mathews.

Whoever wins the district attorney race in Sacramento next month will make history as the first person of color to hold that office. Ho, a Vietnamese immigrant, is touting his experience as a career prosecutor who helped put away, Joseph DeAngelo, the so-called Golden State Killer who terrorized Californians in the 1970s and ‘80s. He’s supported by law enforcement organizations and outgoing District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert.

Mathews, who is Black, is emphasizing removing illegal guns from the street and addressing domestic violence. She has also criticized Schubert’s record of not filing criminal charges against officers who have shot people on duty.

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