Villaraigosa makes campaign stop in Claremont
Gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa made a stop in Claremont last week at a private event hosted by Bob and Trish Bowcock.
Guests, who were largely affiliated with California water treatment facilities and providers, enjoyed an early-evening Mediterranean-style dinner before Mr. Villaraigosa made his remarks.
Mr. Bowcock, founder and owner of Integrated Resource Management, LLC, introduced Mr. Villaraigosa by expressing support for his candidacy.
“Villaraigosa is approachable and someone we can all work with,” Mr. Bowcock said. “I’ve known him a long time and he finally has his chance at the governor’s office—that’s exactly where I want him to be. Antonio is the man.”
Mr. Villaraigosa, a Democrat, first ran for Los Angeles mayor in 2001 but lost in a runoff. By 2003, he successfully ran for the LA city council and was elected mayor two years later, making him the first Mexican- American in more than 130 years to serve in that capacity.
In 2016, he announced his intent to run for governor.
“My grandpa came here 100 years ago with a dream and his shirt on his back,” Mr. Villaraigosa said in a short speech. “By the 1920s, he had a middle-class quality of life, but then he lost everything, including his wife. But he rebuilt again. That’s the California dream. When people come to America, they choose California for a reason.”
Mr. Villaraigosa vowed to tackle California’s housing crisis, citing unreasonable CEQA regulations as reason for delays in development.
His gains in infrastructure were also highlighted.
“When I first suggested building three light rails and a subway to the sea, they laughed at me. But I’m the one laughing now,” he said.
Booming business and a strong economy are at the top of his list should he become governor, and the state will need to focus on education to get there.
“If we’re going to thrive, we have to graduate more kids from college,” he said.
Educational opportunities and reducing red tape to open new businesses are central to closing wage gaps and getting people back to work.
“We made it free to open a business in Los Angeles and from 2010 to 2013, news business doubled in LA,” he said.
Mr. Villaraigosa emphasized his work on CalPERS reform, saying through successful collective bargaining he was able to get government workers to contribute 11 percent, up from a previous six percent contribution.
“At that point, we just had to say, ‘Hey, you still have a job,’” he said.
Other areas of concern include cleaning up the state’s underground aquifers and dramatically increasing use of recycled water by improving technology.
“It has to be an ‘all-of-the-above’ strategy as far as the state’s water crisis,” he said. “But we need to build trust. If there’s no trust, you can’t do a grand bargain.”
Mr. Villaraigosa was scheduled to tour the Pilgrim Place Health Center earlier in the day, but a delayed flight from San Jose prevented his visit.
Mr. Villaraigosa is currently fighting for second place with Republican John Cox, while Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, also a Democrat, remains out front, according to Public Policy Institute of California.
A primary election will take place June 5 in California to determine which two candidates will advance to the state’s November 6 gubernatorial election.