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My California Dream

Making our state work for everyone starts with making sure everyone has a voice. I’m running for Governor to do big things—starting with rebuilding our middle class by investing in our schools and repairing our infrastructure. But we’re never going to make this state work for us again unless we give voice to the people who are all too often not heard in Sacramento. That’s what my campaign is about—giving voice to everyone. That’s what my service as governor will be about—making sure the people are heard in Sacramento and their priorities are addressed.

…my campaign is about giving voice to everyone.

I grew up in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles and was raised by my mother. I was a high school dropout until a public school teacher, Herman Katz, gave me a second shot. That’s why I know firsthand how an education can open doors and change the course of a life. My mother raised us with a passion for justice. I volunteered with the farm workers’ movement and led student walkouts.

I was one of those kids they didn’t think was going to make it, but I was blessed to live in a state that gave kids like me a second chance. I might have gotten into UCLA through the back door, but I walked out through the front door—with a life-changing college degree in my hand. I then went to the People’s College of Law, a school dedicated to the public interest.

In my mid-twenties, I was elected President of the American Federation of Government Employees, a local union representing employees who enforced civil rights laws in five states. Over the next fifteen years, I continued to work as a union organizer for the Service Employees International Union, United Teachers Los Angeles and then served as President of the Southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

In 1994, I was elected to the California State Assembly and three years later, I was elected Assembly Speaker. While serving, I brought together environmental and business groups for a $2 billion park bond, the largest in California’s history, authored the Healthy Families program for nearly three quarters of a million uninsured children and passed a $9 billion school bond measure, the largest to that date.

In 2001, I ran for Mayor of Los Angeles and lost. I was elected to the City Council in 2003.

In 2005, I was sworn in as the 41st Mayor of Los Angeles. As Mayor of Los Angeles, I led an effort to make Los Angeles one of the safest big cities in America, while building a 21st century transportation system, achieving fundamental and far-reaching education reform, spurring economic development by eliminating government red tape, streamlining the city bureaucracy and making Los Angeles a national model of sustainability and green growth.

The numbers tell the story of what happens when we focus on big things together. While I served as Mayor, we doubled the number of high-performing schools and graduation rates went from 44% to 70.2%. We expanded the public transit system and, with Measure R, raised $40 billion for transportation projects, including new rail and bus lines. Los Angeles was the first big city to set a goal to become independent of coal by 2025 and during my tenure, we reduced overall greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 30 percent.

Today, I want to be California’s next governor because I believe that we need to bring this state together around a shared vision—lifting more families into the middle class and creating high wage jobs by improving our schools and investing in our infrastructure like roads, bridges, transportation, ports and waterways. We can rebuild a California that gives every family the chance to succeed.

While proud to become the state’s first Latino governor since 1875, I would be prouder still to be everyone’s governor and work every day to unite our incredible state in the service of lifting more families into the middle class.

California is the epicenter of innovation, and real innovation is making sure people who work hard have the chance to make it to, and stay in, the middle class. Innovation is continuing to be the 6th largest economy in the world while ensuring that every child has access to a quality education, everyone has access to quality health care and an affordable home, and everyone has the opportunity to achieve his or her own California dream.