WEEKLY UPDATE: Breaking News

WEEKLY UPDATE: Breaking News

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Congresswoman Karen Bass completed her press conference in Los Angeles announcing her strong support for Antonio’s campaign for California Governor. Congresswoman Bass is now the third former Speaker of the California State Assembly to endorse Antonio, joining former Speakers John Pérez and Fabian Núñez.

“I’ve known Antonio for over 40 years and throughout his entire career, his passion and mission has been to fight for equal opportunity and be a voice for social and economic justice,” said Rep. Bass. “As a freshman legislator, to his work as our seasoned Speaker of the California Assembly and Mayor of Los Angeles, he fought to improve lives because he believes that everyone should have access to the American Dream.”

“As our next Governor, Antonio will work to lift up our state so that our communities have an equal opportunity at success,” added Rep. Bass. “He’ll work towards a California where everyone is heard and every single one of us has an equal chance to learn and earn. It is with great pride that I endorse Antonio Villaraigosa to be the next Governor of California!”

“I’m honored to have the support of my good friend Congresswoman Karen Bass,” said Villaraigosa. “Education has always been a cornerstone of my agenda. As Los Angeles Mayor, I worked to double the number of high-performing schools, and graduation rates went from 44 percent to 72 percent. It was hard work, and there is much work left to do to make sure Californians have access to the training and skills needed to succeed in today’s economy.”

Congresswoman Bass joins a coalition of endorsers and supporters from every corner of California. Add your name to our growing list of endorsers today!

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Keeping the DACA Dream Alive

President Trump has long been threatening to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). This decision will not only decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of immigrants, but will directly impact our state economy. Reports from Washington indicate that a decision could come as early as this week, just as a new report released by an Associate Professor at the UC San Diego shows the significant economic impact of DACA. Reversing DACA could cost California more than $11.6 billion in annual GDP losses. This reiterates what Antonio has often said – attacking immigrants is an assault on our values and our economy.

Stand with us and sign our petition to demand the Trump administration continue the DACA program: Defend DACA Now!

On the Campaign Trail

Last weekend, Antonio attended the California Democratic Party Executive Board meeting in Anaheim where he met with countless state leaders, organizers and supporters. Making sure California elects a governor who knows that true equality starts with economic equality will help shape our own Democratic Party and the national Democratic Party in the years to come. Antonio spent the weekend spreading the word: California needs to come together to create millions of new high-wage jobs, not just in a few small pockets on the coast, but everywhere.

In the News

In case you missed it, Antonio was featured in The New York Times. Read the California Today interview for yourself.

In the interview, Antonio said, “I’ve been talking about the need to focus on an economy that’’ working for more people and building more middle-class jobs. We need to restore the luster of the California dream and make sure that that dream is for everyone, not based on your zip code or what part of the state you live in.”

Get the latest from the campaign trail by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn!

BREAKING NEWS – DACA Created A Stronger America

BREAKING NEWS – DACA Created A Stronger America

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This article was originally published by the Center for American Progress. You can download the full study here

Posted on 

DACA Recipients’ Economic and Educational Gains Continue to Grow

Since it was first announced on June 15, 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals(DACA) policy has provided temporary relief from deportation as well as work authorization to approximately 800,000 undocumented young people across the country. As research has consistently shown, DACA has not only improved the lives of undocumented young people and their families but has also positively affected the economy more generally, which benefits all Americans.

From August 1, 2017 to August 20, 2017, Tom K. Wong of the University of California, San Diego; United We Dream (UWD); the National Immigration Law Center (NILC); and the Center for American Progress fielded a national survey to further analyze the economic, employment, educational, and societal experiences of DACA recipients. This is the largest study to date of DACA recipients with a sample size of 3,063 respondents in 46 states as well as the District of Columbia.

The data illustrate that DACA recipients continue to make positive and significant contributions to the economy, including earning higher wages, which translates into higher tax revenue and economic growth that benefits all Americans. In addition, DACA recipients are buying cars, purchasing their first homes, and even creating new businesses. The survey’s results also show that at least 72 percent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies employ DACA recipients. Moreover, 97 percent of respondents are currently employed or enrolled in school.

DACA’s impact on employment

Work authorization is critical in helping DACA recipients participate more fully in the labor force. The data show that 91 percent of respondents are currently employed. Among respondents age 25 and older, employment jumps to 93 percent.

After receiving DACA, 69 percent of respondents reported moving to a job with better pay; 54 percent moved to a job that “better fits my education and training”; 54 percent moved to a job that “better fits my long-term career goals”; and 56 percent moved to a job with better working conditions.

We also see that 5 percent of respondents started their own business after receiving DACA. Among respondents 25 years and older, this climbs to 8 percent. As the 2016 survey noted, among the American public as a whole, the rate of starting a business is 3.1 percent, meaning that DACA recipients are outpacing the general population in terms of business creation.

As one respondent stated, “I started a bookkeeping business which gives me the opportunity to help our Hispanic community be in compliance with tax law […] If DACA ended, I will not be able to keep my small business and help my community.”

Another respondent stated, “Because of DACA, I opened a restaurant. We are contributing to the economic growth of our local community. We pay our fair share of taxes and hire employees […] It will be hard to maintain my business if DACA ended. I depend on my [social security number] for a lot of my business, such as when getting licenses, permits, leases, and credit.”

DACA’s impact on earnings

The data make clear that DACA is having a positive and significant effect on wages. The average hourly wage of respondents increased by 69 percent since receiving DACA, rising from $10.29 per hour to $17.46 per hour. Among respondents 25 years and older, the average hourly wage increased by 84 percent since receiving DACA.

The data also show that respondents’ average annual earnings come out to $36,232, and their median annual earnings total $32,000. Among respondents 25 years and older, the figures are $41,621 and $37,595, respectively. These higher wages are not just important for recipients and their families but also for tax revenues and economic growth at the local, state, and federal levels.

Last year, we noted that further research is needed to parse out the short- and long-run wage effects of DACA as well as whether short-run gains represent a plateau in earnings or if more robust long-run wage effects may exist. This remains true. However, as DACA recipients are now further along in their careers, and as we continue to see growth in their earnings, it is likely there is even more room for recipients’ wages to grow.

The immediate impact of wage increases is evident in 69 percent of survey respondents reporting that their increased earnings have “helped me become financially independent” and 71 percent reporting that their increased earnings have “helped my family financially.” Among respondents 25 years and older, these percentages rise to 73 percent and 74 percent, respectively.

DACA’s impact on the economy

The purchasing power of DACA recipients continues to increase. In the 2017 study, nearly two-thirds of respondents, or 65 percent, reported purchasing their first car. The average cost paid was $16,469. As we have noted previously, these large purchases matter in terms of state revenue, as most states collect a percentage of the purchase price in sales tax, along with additional registration and title fees. The added revenue for states comes in addition to the safety benefits of having more licensed and insured drivers on the roads.

The data also show that 16 percent of respondents purchased their first home after receiving DACA. Among respondents 25 years and older, this percentage rises to 24 percent. The broader positive economic effects of home purchases include the creation of jobs and the infusion of new spending in local economies.

Additionally—and importantly—the data show that at least 72 percent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies—including Walmart, Apple, General Motors, Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, Home Depot, and Wells Fargo, among others—employ DACA recipients. All told, these companies account for $2.8 trillion in annual revenue.

DACA’s impact on education

Overall, 45 percent of respondents are currently in school. Among those currently in school, 72 percent are pursuing a bachelor’s degree or higher. The majors and specializations that respondents report include accounting, biochemistry, business administration, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer science, early childhood education, economics, environmental science, history, law, mathematics, mechanical engineering, neuroscience, physics, psychology, and social work, to name a few.

When it comes to educational attainment, 36 percent of respondents 25 years and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Importantly, among those who are currently in school, a robust 94 percent said that, because of DACA, “I pursued educational opportunities that I previously could not.”


Our findings could not paint a clearer picture: DACA has been unreservedly good for the U.S. economy and for U.S. society more generally. Previous research has shown that DACA beneficiaries will contribute $460.3 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product over the next decade—economic growth that would be lost were DACA to be eliminated.

As our results show, the inclusion of these young people has contributed to more prosperous local, state and national economies; to safer and stronger communities through increased access to cars and home ownership; and to a more prepared and educated workforce for the future. Ending DACA now would be counterproductive at best and, at worst, cruel. At present, 800,000 lives—as well as the lives of their families and friends—hang in the balance. At a time when the continuing existence of DACA is facing its most serious threat ever, understanding the benefits of the program for recipients; their families and communities; and to the nation as a whole is all the more important.

Tom K. Wong is associate professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego. Greisa Martinez Rosas is advocacy and policy director, Adam Luna is senior advisor for communications, Henry Manning is research fellow, and Adrian Reyna is director of membership and technology strategies at United We Dream. Patrick O’Shea is Mellon/ACLS public fellow at the National Immigration Law Center. Tom Jawetz is vice president for Immigration Policy and Philip E. Wolgin is managing director for Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress.

The authors thank all those who took the survey for their time and effort in helping to bring these stories to light.


The questionnaire was administered to an online panel of DACA recipients recruited by the partner organizations. Several steps were taken to account for the known sources of bias that result from such online panels. To prevent ballot stuffing—one person submitting multiple responses—the authors did not offer an incentive to respondents for taking the questionnaire and used a state-of-the-art online survey platform that does not allow one IP address to submit multiple responses. To prevent spoiled ballots—meaning, people responding who are not undocumented—the authors used a unique validation test for undocumented status. Multiple questions were asked about each respondent’s migratory history. These questions were asked at different parts of the questionnaire. When repeated, the questions were posed using different wording. If there was agreement in the answers such that there was consistency regarding the respondent’s migratory history, the respondent was kept in the resulting pool of respondents. If not, the respondent was excluded. In order to recruit respondents outside of the networks of the partner organizations, Facebook ads were also used. Because there is no phone book of undocumented immigrants, and given the nature of online opt-in surveys, it is not possible to construct a valid margin of error.

ICYMI: Antonio Villaraigosa Featured in The New York Times

ICYMI: Antonio Villaraigosa Featured in The New York Times

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In case you missed it – Antonio’s interview with Mike McPhate was featured in The New York Times this morning.

“I’ve been talking about the need to focus on an economy that’s working for more people and building more middle-class jobs. We need to restore the luster of the California dream and make sure that that dream is for everyone, not based on your zip code or what part of the state you live in.”

You can read the New York Times article by Mike McPhate below:

California Today: A Candidate for Governor Looks to the Central Valley

antonio villaraigosa new york times orange county register ap photo

Antonio R. Villaraigosa, a former mayor of Los Angeles, has been courting Central Valley voters in his bid for governor. Credit Mark Rightmire/The Orange County Register, via Associated Press


The path to the governorship of California winds through the Central Valley.

That, at least, is the idea animating the candidacy of Antonio R. Villaraigosa, a former two-term mayor of Los Angeles and speaker of the State Assembly.

While California is a blue state, candidates in the 2018 governor’s race won’t be able to rely on Democratic votes alone. Among registered voters, roughly 45 percent are Democrats, and 26 percent Republican.

Mr. Villaraigosa, 64, was raised by a single mother in a poor neighborhood on Los Angeles’s Eastside.

In speeches and interviews, he has portrayed himself as a potential champion of California’s interior, where he spent time during an extended “listening tour” that began in 2015.

Along the way, he’s taken shots at his better-funded rival, Gavin Newsom, the lieutenant governor and former San Francisco mayor, whose candidacy has been a favorite of voters in the Bay Area.

We caught up with Mr. Villaraigosa by phone. Some excerpts:

Q. How do you differ from the other Democratic candidates?

A. I’ve been talking about the need to focus on an economy that’s working for more people and building more middle-class jobs. We need to restore the luster of the California dream and make sure that that dream is for everyone, not based on your ZIP code or what part of the state you live in.

What have you been hearing from people in the Central Valley?

I think there is a sense that they want to be included in the California rebound that they hear politicians talk about in Sacramento virtually daily. When you hear people say “We’re creating more jobs,” what they don’t say is that, while that’s true, most of that has been in the Bay Area and along the coast.

I think we should all be concerned that Marin County has among the nation’s highest rankings for well-being and 100 miles away in the Central Valley, they have among the lowest.

What’s your pitch to the Bay Area?

The pitch to the Bay Area and to the affluent parts of Los Angeles or San Diego or any place on the coast is that we won’t survive and thrive if we’re not growing together.

A high-wage worker puts more money into our Social Security system. A high-wage worker is buying more goods. A high-wage worker is less dependent on the public health system.

How do you assess Eric Garcetti’s tenure as mayor of Los Angeles?

Oh, I’m not running against Garcetti.

You’re the former mayor, you must …

I take a page out of Bush’s playbook, where he didn’t comment about Obama, and Obama doesn’t comment for the most part about Trump — you would think he’d comment a lot more given what Trump does — but you know Garcetti is a very popular mayor in this town. He’s got his own record that he can point to.

This interview has been condensed and edited.



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When Antonio launched his campaign for Governor, he made a simple yet powerful pledge – his campaign would work to give voice to EVERY Californian. Antonio understands that the millions of Californians doing everything right but still falling behind also need to be heard in Sacramento and in every corridor of power.

That’s why our campaign is working to give every Californian the tools to be heard – by Antonio, our campaign and beyond. We have been asking people all over the state to share their own California Dream – from prominent leaders like Cruz Reynoso to hundreds of rank and file voters – and the response has been amazing and inspiring.

Please add your voice here and let us share it with the rest of California.

Cruz ReynosoSpeak Submission of the Week

“I am a farmworker’s son who has five brothers and five sisters. My first job was picking oranges in Orange County, California. My dream is to have free public education (as we once had) from K-12 to college and graduate school. That is what helped me become an attorney.” – Cruz Reynoso, Civil Rights Leader and Retired Jurist


Add your voice today!

Latest Endorsements

This week, we want to thank Merced County Supervisor Rodrigo Espinoza, Coachella Mayor Steven Hernandez, Downey Councilwoman Blanca Pacheco and former San Francisco Supervisor David Campos who have added their names to the long list of supporters for Antonio’s campaign. Every day, more and more people recognize the importance of Antonio’s mission to give voice to every Californian and join our campaign.

If you would like to add your name to the growing list of endorsers, please endorse Antonio today!

The Team Gets Stronger

We have some big news here at the Antonio for California campaign – veteran communications strategist Luis Vizcaino has joined the team as Communications Director. Luis has worked on political campaigns at the local, state and national level.

In 2005, he served as communications advisor for Antonio’s successful race for Los Angeles Mayor and later was the spokesperson for the Mayor-Elect’s transition team. He has also served as a spokesperson for the California Democratic Party, the Democratic National Committee and the Human Rights Campaign. In 2007, he was recruited by the Hillary Clinton Presidential Campaign to serve as California Communications Director.

You can reach Luis at [email protected].

In the News

“California gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa made a campaign stop in Monterey County Friday, and local ag representatives filled him in on the local labor shortage. Ricky Cabrera, owner of Cabrera Ranch, told Villaraigosa that he normally would be employing 340 people at this time of the year, but right now he has only about 240 workers.” – Monterey Herald, 8/18/17

“Gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa said during a stop in Riverside on Wednesday, Aug. 16, that he wants Inland cities such as Riverside, Moreno Valley, and Fontana to be known as ‘Villaraigosa country.’ ‘All these areas have strivers,’ Villaraigosa said. ‘Some of them, they wanted to buy a home, build a business, and L.A. was too expensive.'” – The Press-Enterprise, 8/16/17

“Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is running for governor, spoke after Gutierrez and offered praise to the city. Villaraigosa, who joined Gutierrez for a tour of the 1.8-million square-foot Skechers warehouse developed by Highland Fairview after the event, said he supported the World Logistics Center.” – The Press-Enterprise, 8/16/17

“Many of USC Village’s retailers are touching down in South L.A. for the first time, including Trader Joe’s, Target and trendy Sunset Boulevard eatery The Butcher, The Baker, The Cappuccino Maker. ‘Thank you for understanding the key to the future of this university is in its connection to its neighborhood,’ said Antonio Villaraigosa, who was Los Angeles mayor when the project was approved.” – USC News, 8/17/17

On the Campaign Trail

Yesterday, Antonio spent the day in Sacramento with UDW/AFSCME, AFL-CIO and the Anti-Recidivism Coalition. This weekend, he’ll be in Anaheim with the California Democratic Party Executive Board. Don’t forget to connect with us on FacebookInstagramTwitter and LinkedIn to get updates from the campaign trail!



WEEKLY UPDATE: New #FactsSpeak Video from Antonio for California Campaign

WEEKLY UPDATE: New #FactsSpeak Video from Antonio for California Campaign

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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.

Don’t forget to add your name to the growing list of supporters today!

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

Our campaign is driven by your voice – I hope you will submit your California dream today.

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 FacebookInstagramTwitter and LinkedIn to see photos and video from these and other upcoming events!

WEEKLY UPDATE: Another Exciting Week for the Antonio for California Campaign

WEEKLY UPDATE: Another Exciting Week for the Antonio for California Campaign

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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?

Make sure to add your name to the growing list of supporters today!

The Campaign Goes National

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.”

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.

Also in the News

“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

Your Voice, Your California

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.
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WEEKLY UPDATE: Another Great Week for the Antonio for California Campaign

WEEKLY UPDATE: Another Great Week for the Antonio for California Campaign

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We’ve had another great week here at the Antonio for California campaign and wanted to share all our news! Today, we’re launching the first of our “Facts Speak for Themselves” video series. Did you know that immigrants contribute $715 billion to California’s GDP each year? As the Trump administration continues to attack immigrants, let’s stand together and remember that without the contributions of immigrants, our state would be in deep economic trouble. Like and share our new video and don’t forget to sign our #NoBanNoWall petition! 

Town Hall on Education

Our campaign is about giving voice to all Californians, and this week we launched one more way people can be heard. Last Thursday, we held our first town hall on education policy. This is just the beginning, and we’ll continue to hold more online town halls on issues such as immigration, housing and more. Not everyone can make it to an event, but everyone with a computer or a mobile smartphone can be heard.

If you were unable to join us, you can read the full town hall here. And if you have questions that didn’t get answered, you can email them to us at [email protected].

Don’t forget to follow us on social media (FacebookInstagramTwitter and LinkedIn) to get updates and an invitation to our next town hall.

New Endorsements Keep Rolling In

This week, we want to thank Los Angeles City Councilmember Curren Price and California State Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra for their endorsements. In addition, we’re honored to have the endorsement of Santa Ana Mayor Pro Tem Michele Martinez. These elected leaders join hundreds of others and tens of thousands of Californians who have now joined our campaign. If you would like to add your personal endorsement for Antonio, click here.

On the Campaign Trail

Antonio continues to visit every corner of California. If you missed his stop in San Diego last week, you can read about it in La Prensa San Diego. This week, Antonio spent a morning in Orange County and finished the day in Oakland. And finally, he finished the week in the Coachella Valley.

In the News

“A May poll by UC Berkeley put Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom atop the field at 22 percent, followed by Villaraigosa at 17 percent and San Diego businessman John Cox at 9 percent…state Treasurer John Chiang (5 percent) and former state schools Superintendent Delaine Eastin (3 percent).” – OC Register, 7/26/17

“The primary campaign for California governor might be a year away, but one candidate is already traveling around the state chatting up likely voters. Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa visited Oakland last night at an event hosted at Tertulia Coffee. Among attendees were Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer, and Oakland Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney.” – East Bay Express, 7/27/17

“California gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa said Friday that he supports the state’s 10-year plan for the shrinking Salton Sea and would follow through to develop a long-range plan if he is elected in 2018.” – Desert Sun, 7/28/17

ICYMI: Antonio’s Letter to Latino and African American Caucuses

Antonio has spent his entire career fighting for the poor and communities of color in California. This week, he reiterated his support for Affirmative Action with a letter in response to the Latino and African American Caucuses. Antonio was, himself, a beneficiary of an Affirmative Action program and knows how that changed the course of his life by allowing him to attend and graduate from UCLA.

In his letter, Antonio wrote, “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 racial inequality, we must acknowledge that Affirmative Action must also work to address the inequities of gender and economics.” You can read the full letter here.

P.S. Don’t forget to connect with us on FacebookInstagramTwitter and LinkedIn for the latest campaign news!

Letter to Latino and African American Caucuses

Letter to Latino and African American Caucuses

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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
Affirmative Action.

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.


antonio villaraigosa affirmative action




Antonio Villaraigosa
Candidate for Governor

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WEEKLY UPDATE: Hitting the Road

WEEKLY UPDATE: Hitting the Road

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Good Morning California!

We’ve been seeing the sunrise this past week as we hit the road early to campaign around our beautiful state. We spent last Thursday in San Diego before heading off to Sacramento. And yesterday, we were back in Fresno. This week, we’re looking forward to a busy two days in the Bay Area with stops in San Francisco, Oakland and Richmond. Thank you to all of the incredible people who are helping us host these events and tours. Would you like to host an event in your community? Please email [email protected] with what you have in mind!

Powerful New Endorsements

Another week, another set of powerful new supporters and endorsers to announce. This week, we are honored to announce the support of Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (AD-31), former State Senator and member of the California Air Resources Board Dean Florez and San Joaquin County Supervisor Miguel Villapudua. Thank you to everyone for their support. Looking to add your name? You can join right here.

Hearing Every Voice

Antonio has said it again and again – a truly progressive state needs to be making progress everywhere. And to make sure we are moving forward together, we need to listen to every voice. That’s why he has made listening and hearing everyone a key part of the campaign with our Every Voice web tool and now by launching our Every Voice online Town Hall series.

Our first online Town Hall is this Thursday, July 27 at noon. We will focus on how we can improve every school in our state. You can RSVP here. We will send you an email alert when we start the Town Hall with a link to join. Do you have a question you want to see answered? Simply reply to this email with your question.

Antonio Villaraigosa in the News

“Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is now a member of the shortlist of gubernatorial candidates and governors who have visited Stockton. And he was welcomed enthusiastically by business leaders and community members at two stops during his visit to Stockton on Tuesday.” – Stockton Record, 7/18/17
“Though he’s not Jewish, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa might be the most Jewish candidate in the 2018 election for California governor. In a recent visit to the Journal’s office, he sold his long connection with L.A.’s Jewish community – as well as its other ethnic communities – as a winning attribute for the state’s next chief executive. ‘I was the Jewish mayor, I was the Muslim mayor, I was the Korean mayor,’ Villaraigosa said. ‘I was everybody’s mayor. I was in every community. I think that counts for something.’” – Jewish Journal, 7/19/17

“In short, Villaraigosa, not yet in hyperactive campaign mode and still holding onto the bulk of his campaign cash, gained as much backing as was lost by the very active Newsom, who saw a loss of almost one-fourth of his prior support.” – Columnist Thomas Elias, “Newsom loses ‘sure thing’ standing,” 7/19/17

Help Antonio Take This Campaign to Every Corner of California

We’re garnering new support every day but to give voice to every Californian, we need to take this campaign to every corner of our state. We need your help in the months ahead. Please contribute here.

P.S. Don’t forget to connect with us on FacebookInstagramTwitter and LinkedIn for the latest campaign news!

‘Giving Voice to Every Californian’ Starts with You

‘Giving Voice to Every Californian’ Starts with You

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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.

Please share your voice, your vision, your California dream.