FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 2017
“We should have the courage to define and defend our views in public as we shape the future of our party and our state,” Villaraigosa said.
Los Angeles, CA – Today, Democratic candidate for Governor of California Antonio Villaraigosa asked his fellow Democratic candidates to agree to a series of substantive debates on issues that will define the future of the state and, given the size and importance of California, potentially the future of the national political landscape as well.
“All the Democratic candidates for governor call themselves progressive. But we owe it to the people of this state to show how we will make actual progress on creating high-wage jobs, improving our schools, creating affordable housing, protecting immigrants and bringing the state together,” Villaraigosa said.
Villaraigosa suggested setting up separate debates for public pre-kindergarten to 12th grade education, college affordability and accessibility, affordable housing, closing the wealth gap, health care and coverage, the environment, immigration and public infrastructure. He said he was also open to other topics suggested by his fellow Democratic candidates.
“Voters deserve an honest and substantive debate about how we are going to lift up more Californians and close the gap between the rich and poor. We should have the courage to define and defend our views in public as we shape the future of our state,” Villaraigosa said.
Villaraigosa suggested the debates could be co-hosted by community groups or simply by the candidates working together to set up guidelines for respectful and insightful debates on issues. He said he would simulcast all the debates on his website and social media properties, inviting the other candidates, debate partners and hosts to do the same.
“There are already big issues emerging. For example, Gavin Newsom says we should embrace a $400 billion dollar single-payer healthcare proposal, and I believe our first goal should be to protect the millions in danger of losing coverage if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. Let’s hear each other out and let the public hear from us directly,” Villaraigosa said.
The former Mayor of Los Angeles said debates with all the candidates, including the Republican candidates, would be equally important and suggested there would be time for those debates next year.
“Californians need more than just talk to tackle the tough issues ahead – we need leaders who can embrace the truth and deliver real solutions. Debating together will only make this party stronger,” Villaraigosa said.
He acknowledges that early debates are unusual. “Business as usual isn’t working in campaigns. Creating a forum for honest and civil debate empowers our rank and file to engage with us, and it helps diminish the power of special interests,” he said.
Villaraigosa said he emailed his fellow candidates and will phone them directly, asking them to debate. He is committed to reporting back on their replies.