There are candidates in the race for governor taking a lot of positions (and sometimes taking both sides of the same position!), but Antonio knows the facts speak for themselves. That’s why he’s focusing this week’s online video on the fact that California has the highest overall poverty rate in the nation.
Antonio’s campaign is all about creating millions of new high-wage jobs. He knows that to close the gap between the rich and the poor we need to rebuild an economy that works for the millions of families who are doing everything right, but are still falling behind.
Please take a look at our new “The Facts Speak For Themselves“ video – and share it with all of your friends and colleagues.
The Endorsements Keep Rolling In
Thank you to Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, former Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez and Moreno Valley Mayor Dr. Yxstian Gutierrez for their endorsements! These Inland Empire leaders are adding their names to the thousands of supporters and elected officials who have joined our campaign. We’re excited to work with these leaders in creating a better future for every Californian.
Speak Submission of the Week
“The pride of the U.S. I want California to be the catalyst for which other states strive to achieve in business, cultural diversity and religion. I am an Army Veteran, MBA graduate and Second Generation Mexican American, but I AM a U.S. citizen first and a Native Californian next. My background alone has been hit with so much rancor and distaste from what I can only define as ‘Middle America.’ I want California to be the state that looks past ‘types or races’ and focuses on the individual and his/her merits. We are California. We are the U.S.A.” – Joe Espinoza, Valencia, California
In the News
Antonio Villaraigosa: “I think in California, we need to acknowledge that we are the sixth-largest economy [in the world] in no small part because of the contributions of immigrants, including the undocumented. As a result, here in California, we revel in our diversity, and welcome our foreign-born.” – Al Jazeera Features, August 5, 2017
On the Campaign Trail
Antonio is hitting the campaign trail this week with stops in Moreno Valley, Watsonville and Salinas. He will visit Moreno Valley for the State of the City address, Watsonville for the Annual Pajaro Valley Cesar Chavez Democratic Club Dinner and then on to Salinas to speak at Alisal High School assembly and attend an agricultural tour. Don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to see photos and video from these and other upcoming events!
Thank you to The Honorable Fred Keeley, former Speaker pro Tem of the California Assembly, Blanca Alvarado, former City of San Jose Vice Mayor and Santa Clara County Supervisor, and Leticia Perez, Kern County Supervisor, 5th District, for your recent endorsements! We are humbled by the support of these incredible leaders.
They are joining the nearly 1,000 elected officials, former elected officials and prominent community leaders who are now taking leadership roles for our campaign in every corner of California. Thanks to these leaders, we are building the kind of campaign structure that can make sure every voice is heard in California – and most of all make sure we can adopt policies that create more high-wage jobs and close the gap between rich and poor.
Do you want to be a part of this core group of 1,000 early supporters and leaders?
Our campaign for good jobs and economic equality continues to attract national attention. This past week Antonio spoke with Jacob Soboroff on MSNBC. Antonio has always understood that one of the foundations of economic prosperity is safe neighborhoods where communities and businesses can thrive. In the interview, Antonio discussed the policies he developed as Mayor that dramatically reduced crime in Los Angeles – including community-based policing and job re-entry programs. “It was why we went to one of the most dangerous cities in the United States of America, except for New York, to the safest big city with a population over one million.”
— The Beat With Ari (@TheBeatWithAri) July 31, 2017
Antonio was also a featured guest on “The Beat with Ari Melber,” talking about the failed Republican health care bill. Antonio once again defended the Affordable Care Act and called for both parties to work together. “Everybody agrees that we can fix Obamacare – let’s do that,” Antonio said. You can watch his appearance on MSNBC here.
“But while Newsom has only ‘set standards,’ Villaraigosa portrayed himself as a doer who in eight years as LA mayor oversaw infrastructure improvements, a 28% reduction in carbon emissions, growth in green-energy jobs and contract concessions to hold down rising public employee pension costs.” – Voice of Orange County, August 3, 2017
“In many ways, the split between north and south mirrors the ‘Two Californias’ that Villaraigosa talks about. The nine counties of Northern California’s Bay Area have been the heart of the state’s technology boom, while the sprawling suburbs of Southern California have seen growing poverty and still show signs of hardship in the wake of the Great Recession of a decade ago.” – Pacific Standard, August 1, 2017
Antonio’s campaign is about giving a voice to those who’ve been left out or left behind. Make your voice heard by submitting your dream for a better California today!
And in case you missed it, Antonio’s campaign got some serious buzz in Politico’s California Playbook – check it out for yourself here.
July 27, 2017
Dear Senator Hueso & Assembly Member Holden:
Thank you so much for raising the issue of Affirmative Action and the challenges faced by the poor and communities of color in California.
Your advocacy is brave – and timely. I wanted to respond to your thoughtful letter in kind, which is why I have considered my response for the last several days.
As you know, I have been a champion of Affirmative Action my entire career – starting with my work as the president of my local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. I not only fought for Affirmative Action, but I fought against attacks on immigrants, the poor and communities of color – opposing measures such as Propositions 187 and 209. I fought these battles because equal access, equal opportunity and social justice are the driving purpose of my life.
I, myself, am a beneficiary of an Affirmative Action program. I was a high-school dropout who was able to graduate thanks to the help of extraordinary teachers. I was a student at East Los Angeles College before I was accepted by the University of California, Los Angeles. That acceptance letter changed my life and launched my career in public service.
I have been able to live the California Dream because California invested in me. Every day of my career in public service, I have tried to remember my obligation to pay this debt forward so that others in this great state can enjoy the same opportunities – and second chances – that were offered to me.
That’s why I fought so hard to dramatically expand health care for children when I served in the California State Assembly. That’s why I worked to overhaul how we fund the renewal and rebuilding of our schools – so kids in poor communities could also attend safe and healthy schools. That’s why I wrote and passed what was, at the time, the nation’s toughest assault weapons ban – because it is in poor communities where the scourge of gun violence is most painfully felt. That’s why, as Mayor, I took on the task of turning around failing schools in poor communities, which resulted in dramatically lower dropout rates and increased graduation rates.
Your letter to me and to my colleagues campaigning to be the next governor of California asks us to consider how we would promote the interests of communities of color and bolster
First and foremost, the best way we can promote everyone in California is to lift up the millions of Californians who are falling behind. California has more billionaires than any other country, except China and the United States, but we also have the highest poverty rate in the nation.
Perhaps you saw the most recent report – fully 38 percent of California families are just one lost paycheck away from economic despair. We are truly two Californias now – one rich, one poor. One state booming. One state falling behind.
My entire campaign for governor is dedicated to addressing this challenge. Closing the gap between rich and poor is simply THE challenge of our time.
It is also undeniable that there are racial and ethnic components to the wealth disparities we see in California. Unless we approach Affirmative Action by balancing both the ethnic and gender disparities with the tremendous disparities in wealth, we will not solve the underlying problems of inequality.
That’s why we must continue the work of lifting up every public school – even when powerful groups oppose us. More than 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education and 70 years after Mendez v. Westminster, which worked to end de jure segregation of Latino students in California, we simply can’t tolerate separate and unequal public schools.
We must also dedicate ourselves to investing in rail, roads, water conservation and storage, clean energy, affordable housing and the other fundamental infrastructure improvements that help our economy grow high-wage jobs.
We must take a new look at Affirmative Action and rethink this successful 20th century program for the 21st century.
As I travel around California, it is clear to me that poverty, while certainly concentrated in some communities of color, is not unique to only communities of color. There are struggling families of every race – and in this emerging post-racial world, struggling families of mixed races.
Although we must continue to fight every day to create a more perfect union by addressing racially inequality, we must acknowledge that Affirmative Action must also work to address the inequities of gender and economics.
Our fundamental struggle is to close the gap between rich and poor and unite our state around the common purpose of lifting millions of families into the middle class.
The new needs-based Affirmative Action must lift up poor people of all colors.
We must bring back Affirmative Action, in a manner that specifically addresses the lack of female, African-American and Latino representation in our schools, universities and government while also focusing like a laser on economic disparity.
We have millions of families in California of all races and backgrounds doing everything right, but are still falling behind.
That’s why we must act now so the California Dream stays alive.
Candidate for Governor
Californians have no shortage of politicians who claim to “speak” for them.
But it is impossible to speak for the millions of Californians who have been left behind without first listening to them tell their own stories of struggle and their own stories of hope.
Whether you are a farmer in Tulare pinching pennies to provide a college education for your child, a single parent in San Francisco worried about escalating rent or a kid in Compton being forced to study without access to textbooks, your story deserves to be heard because your story matters. You matter.
There is an old saying, the moral of which my mother instilled in me as a young child: “Tell me who you walk with and I’ll tell you who you are.” There are many politicians in California who are happy to walk with big donors and mingle with tech and business leaders. They spend their time at exclusive conferences in Davos, Switzerland, where an invite-only group of elites debate solutions to problems they have never experienced. For them, the problems are as abstract and distant as the destinations they enjoy while “solving” them.
But for so many of you, these problems are not abstract. They are concrete and real. And it is time for them to be heard by all who claim to speak on your behalf because the California where families are struggling to make ends meet deserves a voice. The California where millions of people cannot find a job that affords them the opportunity to buy a home deserves a voice. The Californians trying to figure out how they can send their child to college and retire with dignity deserve a voice.
This is personal to me. Before I was the Mayor of Los Angeles, I was the Speaker of the Assembly. Before I was the Speaker of the Assembly I was the President of the ACLU, and before that I was a community organizer. But before all of that, I was a teenager in Boyle Heights. I had just been expelled from Cathedral High School. I was angry and confused. I was voiceless. Then I found someone who believed in me – not because he saw something special in me, but because he saw something special in everyone. His name was Mr. Katz and he changed my life because he listened to what I had to say. With his help, I found my voice. I got into politics because I wanted to do for the communities I served what Mr. Katz did for me.
That is why this campaign is organized around a powerful idea – hand over the microphone and give Californians the tools to speak for themselves. In that spirit, we have launched “Share your California story” — the first of many ways we will be working to ensure that voters have a voice that will not be ignored.
The “Davos Democrats” say they have the solutions, but they have been saying that for years – and for years, the problems have gotten worse. The gap between the rich and poor in California is not a problem that they, or anyone, can solve from Switzerland.
We who call ourselves progressive must work tirelessly to make sure that the progress we make as a state is enjoyed by all who call California home. Of course, it is great that Marin County is doing well, but that does not mean we can ignore what is happening in Merced County. Doing well in California should not depend on whether you work on an almond farm in the Central Valley or at an Apple campus in Silicon Valley. And our success as a state must always be measured by how well we treat the most vulnerable among us.
To be clear, we want to hear from everyone – and that includes those in the business community who will be key partners in our effort to create millions more high-wage jobs to employ more California workers.
The problem is not that we have been listening to Tesla drivers, we should listen to everyone. But it is time to listen to the Californians who are skipping the gas station not because they drive electric cars, but because they simply cannot afford a car of any kind. We need to hear from the families who take the bus, just as my mom used to do every single day.
We need to hear from everyone – and that includes you.
If we want to change how government operates, we need to change how we elect our leaders. Our campaign wants to make that change — starting with making sure you can be heard.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 13, 2017
MONTEREY COUNTY SUPERVISOR SIMÓN SALINAS ENDORSES ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA FOR GOVERNOR
Villaraigosa continues to receive support from prominent officials across the state
Los Angeles — Today, Monterey County Supervisor Simón Salinas announced his support for Antonio Villaraigosa for Governor of California. Salinas served for six years in the California State Assembly before returning to the Monterey County Board in 2007. Additionally, he has the distinction of being the first Mexican-American on the Salinas City Council and the first Mexican-American Monterey County Supervisor in 100 years.
He leads a list of elected officials from Monterey County endorsing Villaraigosa for Governor, including:
Supervisor Salinas Statement:
I am proud to endorse Antonio Villaraigosa as the next Governor of California. His track record of fighting for health care, education and equal opportunities for all Californians is unmatched in this race, and I look forward to his leadership for Monterey County and all of California.
Mayor Pro Tem Victoria Statement:
Communities like King City need Antonio Villaraigosa’s knowledge and expertise to be inspired. Every Californian needs to be treated with dignity and respect.
Antonio Villaraigosa Statement:
Supervisor Simón Salinas has spent his entire public service career breaking barriers and striving to improve the lives of the people of Monterey County. I am thrilled to have his support as we continue to work collectively with these leaders to help better the lives of all Californians.
As a public servant, Villaraigosa served as Mayor of Los Angeles (2005-2013), Los Angeles City Council Member (2003-2005), Speaker of the California Assembly (1998-2000) and California State Assembly Member (1994-2000). Should Villaraigosa be elected, he would become California’s first Latino Governor since 1875.
Learn more about Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign for Governor of California, giving voice to every Californian to make our state work for everyone. Visit antonioforcalifornia.com
One of the great things about the race for Governor of California is that it is being so closely covered by the press. Frankly, one of the reasons why we are doing so well is that the press is covering all the campaigns – and our message is getting out there.
One of the most diligent news organizations covering the race is PolitiFact – a Pulitzer Prize winning organization that fact checks statements made by candidates, elected officials and even other media outlets.
I love the whole idea of this project. Our campaign is about telling it like it is and we all win when politicians and candidates are held to account.
But I’m also not afraid to debate them when I think they are wrong. And I believe they are wrong when they say it is not true that California has 77 of the top 300 cities with the highest poverty in the nation.
Recently, I said at a forum hosted by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC):
“Seventy-seven of the top 300 cities with the highest poverty rate are in our state.”
PolitiFact weighed in and said that according to federal statistics on poverty, there were far fewer and that the 2015 study we used might be out of date since one of the factors creating poverty is unemployment, and unemployment has dropped in California. They also questioned our use of the term “poverty rate” when our source said “economically challenged.”
Five important points to make:
First, “economically challenged” in our view is equivalent to high rates of poverty. For any reader or listener, they are the same thing. The clear fact is California has the highest poverty in the nation.
Second, our source is the National Resource Network’s report, “Hidden in Plain Sight,” which said “California also has the highest concentration of economically challenged cities in the nation. While roughly 30 percent of all U.S. cities meet our definition of economically challenged, fully 25 percent of these cities are in this one state. These 77 localities account for just under 40 percent of all cities in the state with more than 40,000 residents. In total, nearly 12 million people live in these distressed communities, a population equal to that of the state of Ohio.” [National Resource Network, “Hidden in Plain Sight,” November 2015]
Third, it isn’t just the National Resource Network’s report that is showing this concentration of poverty in California. According to TownCharts.com, of the top 500 cities ranked by total in poverty, 100 of them are in California. [“Towncharts.com – United States Demographics Data.” Towncharts.com – United States Demographics Data. December 15, 2016.]
Now, it is fair to point out that according to TownCharts.com, of the top 300 cities ranked by poverty rate, 48 of those cities are in California. That number is lower than the 77 cited by the National Resources Network. But again, the number you find depends on how many factors you look at when you are considering poverty.
Fourth, yes the National Resource Network’s jobs numbers could have been out of date, but as unemployment fell, the cost of housing rose, and the cost of housing is one of the driving forces putting so many Californians into poverty. In fact, PolitiFact itself found it was true that California had the highest poverty rate in the nation using the Supplemental Poverty Measure from the U.S. Census. That measure takes into account costs like housing.
Fifth and finally, thank you to PolitiFact. We might not agree with them on this issue, but we appreciate the work they do.
For Immediate Release
June 29, 2017
Compton Mayor Aja Brown Backs Antonio Villaraigosa for Governor
Mayor is joined by Council Colleague McCoy in endorsing Villaraigosa
LOS ANGELES — Compton Mayor Aja Brown joined council colleague Tana McCoy in announcing their endorsement today of Antonio Villaraigosa for Governor of California.
Mayor Brown Statement:
“Antonio Villaraigosa knows what it means to stand up for his community and fight for equal rights and access. As a former President of the Southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and organizer for working families, Antonio has a proven track record in defending progressive values. He is the right choice for Compton, and for all Californians.”
Antonio Villaraigosa Statement:
“I am so proud to have the support of these visionary local government leaders,” said Villaraigosa. “We’re going to build a better future for California from the ground up, and I look forward to working with Compton and cities across our state to create opportunities and defend our shared values.”
As a public servant, Villaraigosa served as Mayor of Los Angeles (2005-2013), Los Angeles City Council
Member (2003-2005), Speaker of the California Assembly (1998-2000), California State Assembly Member (1994-2000). Should Villaraigosa become elected, he would be California’s first Latino governorsince 1875.
Join Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign for Governor of California, giving voice to every Californian to make our state work for everyone. Visit antonioforcalifornia.com.
The rhetoric over single-payer healthcare in California has taken an ugly, even dangerous, turn and now every responsible leader has a role in returning this discussion to a civil and honest debate.
Press reports detail how California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon received numerous death threats after he postponed the vote on the single-payer bill, threats the state Highway Patrol is now investigating.
Speaker Rendon had the courage to pause the headlong rush into a flawed single-payer proposal, calling for a thorough debate in order to properly vet the legislation.
As a result, the Speaker is now receiving threats via social media that include references to various means of execution. One poster is reported to have written he “prays someone checks Rendon’s schedule for baseball practice,” an obvious reference to the recent attempted assassination of members of Congress at a Congressional Baseball practice.
This must stop. This must stop now. We must all condemn this hateful speech at once.
And we should remember, we are better than this. A progressive speaker like Anthony Rendon standing up to make legislation better is not an action to be condemned, it is work that should be praised.
The organizations and leaders raising the temperature of this discussion to the boiling point should also pause and reflect on their own responsibility to dial down the rhetoric and return to a civil debate.
This is not, after all, a debate about whether we should have single-payer healthcare in California. This is a debate about how we will achieve it. Virtually every person engaged in this healthcare discussion supports the concept of single payer. I have been a supporter of single payer my entire career; I introduced and passed a massive expansion of public health insurance for California children when I was Speaker of the California State Assembly.
The current proposal, according the Legislature’s own analysis, would carry a price tag of up to $400 billion and require tax increases of up to $200 billion. It is true that other studies show a lower price tag, but even the authors of the State Senate bill acknowledge their proposal still has many financial details to be resolved.
Even if you accept the best-case data, adopting single payer now will mean massive cuts in other state programs and significant increases in taxes. It will also require explaining to voters why the state will take away trusted providers, like Kaiser and even Medicare, and require every Californian to join a state-run system. Of course, the premise of the proponents’ argument is based on the obviously false hope that President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress would grant a waiver, turning over federal healthcare funds to California.
Given these hard facts, the Speaker is correct to work to improve the proposal before moving it forward.
The supporters of single payer are not responsible for these death threats. But we are all responsible for elevating the level of our civic discourse and speaking out at once against violence and threats.
My campaign is dedicated to giving voice to all Californians. And the most powerful thing about giving voice to everyone is that when you actually hear from Californians, you understand clearly that our residents want real solutions – not false promises.
What I am hearing everywhere I go (and that’s just about everywhere) is that preserving The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is one of the very highest priorities for Californians. The ACA is working. The Republican plan to gut it is a false promise that will endanger millions of Californians.
In California, the ACA is bringing life-saving and life-changing care to 3.7 million Californians, and it is one of the most important parts of our health care systems.
That’s why our number one health goal as a state must be to protect the ACA by standing up to the Republican plan to kill it – or, if they eventually do succeed in repealing or gutting this program, to fund it here in California.
Our second goal must be to continue to extend coverage to more Californians, until coverage is universal. We have worked tirelessly to make sure Californians have health insurance and our work is paying off. Nearly 92 percent of the state’s residents now have coverage – including one-third of the state which is covered under Medi-Cal. But 92% is not 100% which is why I strongly support moving forward with plans to craft a “Public Option,” that would allow Californians to buy into public programs for their insurance coverage.
But even when everyone has coverage, we will still need to keep working to make sure that obtaining insurance guarantees quality medical treatment when our loved ones and neighbors need it.
That’s why our goals also need to include protecting and enhancing Medi-Cal, which covers Californians from all walks of life: from the working single mother in National City, to the disabled son of a Central Valley farmer and the college student studying computer science in Arcata. It also covers half of all children in California.
Medi-Cal patients are three times more likely than those with private insurance to have trouble accessing the life-saving care that they are promised. This is largely because Medi-Cal patients far outnumber providers in the Medi-Cal program – and because the doctors, dentists and clinics that Californians rely on for medical care are paid at rates lower than nearly every other state – including Texas, West Virginia and Alaska.
What does this mean for Californians? When a Medi-Cal patient gets sick, they face longer wait times to make an appointment, or they may need to travel thirty, forty or fifty miles to find a provider who can accept new patients. This type of delay is unacceptable when it means a patient must wait months for life-saving cancer treatment.
The good news is that Californians spoke up and overwhelmingly passed Proposition 56, the tobacco tax measure, last November. This $2 tax on cigarettes and tobacco products has generated over a billion dollars in revenues that voters approved to improve patient access to medical and dental care in the Medi-Cal program. The proposition was also written to draw down federal matching funds – so that California has the maximum amount of revenue to invest in the health of its people.
While the compromise spending plan provided $465 million for increased payments to Medi-Cal doctors and dentists, it doesn’t fulfill the full promise of Proposition 56. It is crucial to support the will of the voters and ensure that tobacco tax funds support the nearly 14 million Californians on Medi-Cal.
We should invest every penny of these voter-approved funds to make sure that Californians can see a doctor or dentist when their need is greatest.
California embraced the ACA and became an example to the nation of the success that we can achieve together. Now we must continue to lead by investing tobacco tax funds to ensure that insurance coverage is never separated from access to health care.
For Immediate Release
June 23, 2017
SUPERVISOR AND FORMER LATINO CAUCUS CHAIR LUIS ALEJO ENDORSES ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA FOR GOVERNOR
Villaraigosa receives support from top Latino leaders across the State
LOS ANGELES — Today, Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo announced he is supporting Antonio Villaraigosa in his bid to become the next Governor of California. Alejo previously served in the California State Assembly from 2011 to 2016, where he also served as chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus. He leads a list of Salinas elected officials endorsing Villaraigosa for Governor, including:
Supervisor Alejo Statement:
Antonio Villaraigosa is the leader we need to unite all of California, help our state thrive economically and preserve our environment for future generations. No one in this race matches his track record on jobs, the environment, economic development and civil rights. California is at a critical juncture, and Antonio Villaraigosa is the champion that our state needs.
Antonio Villaraigosa Statement:
“It is truly humbling to have the support of Supervisor Luis Alejo,” said Villaraigosa. “With his experience at all levels of government, Luis understands the importance of having a Governor that will work with local and state level leaders that will keep improving California.”
As a public servant, Villaraigosa served as Mayor of Los Angeles (2005-2013), Los Angeles City Council Member (2003-2005), Speaker of the California Assembly (1998-2000), California State Assembly Member (1994-2000). Should Villaraigosa become elected, he would be California’s first Latino governor since 1875.
Join Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign for Governor of California, giving voice to every Californian to make our state work for everyone. Visit antonioforcalifornia.com.