Release: Antonio Villaraigosa launches campaign

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For Immediate Release
November 10, 2016

Campaign to Unite California Around Solutions to Rebuild the Middle Class

Los Angeles, CA — Today, former Assembly Speaker and Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa officially launched his campaign for Governor of California.

Villaraigosa said his campaign would focus on uniting California around solutions to rebuild the middle class by investing in our schools and repairing our state’s infrastructure. And he pledged to organize his campaign to ensure every voice is heard—particularly for those who have been ignored or left behind.

Villaraigosa noted his entry into the race for governor just two days after Donald Trump was elected president created a clear contrast between a California vision of shared prosperity and the national political climate.

“We are a state that builds bridges, not walls. We are inclusive. We celebrate our diversity. And we welcome newcomers,” Villaraigosa said. “We know the answer to fear is hope. The answer to division is unity. And the answer to the millions who feel they have no voice is to make sure they are always heard.”

As the 41st Mayor of Los Angeles, Villaraigosa prioritized improving education—doubling the number of high-performing schools and increasing graduation rates from 36% to 77%. Villaraigosa’s transportation agenda expanded Los Angeles’s public transit system and raised $40 billion through Measure R for transportation projects. Under his leadership on the environment, Los Angeles was the first big city to set a goal to become independent of coal by 2025, and the city reduced overall greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 30 percent.

“I’m proud of what I have been able to accomplish in Los Angeles and motivated by the opportunity and possibility we can continue to unlock in our great state. California is the epicenter of innovation, and real innovation is finding ways to revitalize and strengthen 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,” Villaraigosa said.

Villaraigosa’s tenure as Speaker of the Assembly was defined by his ability to build consensus—leading to a $9 billion school bond measure, the largest to be enacted by the Legislature. Villaraigosa also authored the bill to create the Healthy Families program for nearly three quarters of a million uninsured children.

Villaraigosa grew up in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles and was raised by a single mother. He was a high school dropout until a public school teacher, Herman Katz, gave him a second shot, which is why he knows firsthand how an education can open doors and change the course of a life. From there, and through affirmative action, he graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and went on to the People’s College of Law, a night school dedicated to public interest law.

“I was one of those kids they didn’t think was going to make it,” Villaraigosa said. “But I was blessed to live in a state that gave kids like me a second chance, and I will keep paying it forward.”

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 become elected, he would be California’s first Latino governor since 1875.


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