In 2013 President Obama called Antonio Villaraigosa “one of the finest leaders we have in this country”. I stand behind Obama, and urge you all in two weeks’ time to vote for another leader with big dreams who will protect our interests end defend our core values.

In the midst of a tumultuous White House administration, California needs to continue to stand strong, to dream big and fight for what is best for everyone living in California. Our leaders have steered clear of the negative shift in federal policies since Trump was inaugurated and continued to fight for a stronger investment in public education, progressive immigration reform, clean energy, and affordable housing. Together, we have worked hard to create more equitable jobs in our effort to continue to boost the state’s economy – which is now the fifth largest economy in the world.

A similar pursuit will undoubtedly continue under the leadership of Former Speaker of the California Assembly and Former Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa – a leading gubernatorial candidate in this year’s race – should he be elected. I’ve know Antonio for a long time and I believe he is the strongest candidate who will advocate for our community and others statewide.

In June 2013, just after his second term as mayor came to an end, the Los Angeles Times wrote that Villaraigosa left a “legacy of thinking big” in Los Angeles. The former mayor took on the city’s toughest issues and found holistic solutions – many of which were distinctly intertwined in expanding economic opportunity for minority groups.

For example, as he battled through one of the worst recessions in modern times Villaraigosa partnered with Goldman Sachs to provide training programs and other resources to small businesses, particularly focusing in on helping minority and low-income business owners in South Los Angeles. The program helped small business owners in the community connect with mentors and work to finance their expansion.

Similarly, during his two terms as mayor Villaraigosa promoted a construction careers program that provided more than 3,000 apprenticeships and hundreds of jobs in the building trades for African Americans.

It is clear Villaraigosa is a passionate California politician with big dreams that lead to even bigger successes. The former speaker and mayor has been a longstanding champion for creating pathways to opportunities for all communities. He understands the value of education and the need for equality of access. He is committed to creating fair-paying jobs and believes in investing in infrastructure. His approach to policy is through a lens of equality and fiscal responsibility, and his outlook is exactly what California needs.

Villaraigosa will make the tough decisions, like he has always done in hard times, and will not bend to special interests. He has a longstanding commitment to supporting small businesses and encouraging job creation for all Californians. He knows how to ensure that our economy thrives and benefits more than just the top earners. And he will stand up for California minorities at a time when it is most needed.

I will continue to fight for you in Washington, and I know Antonio will fight for each and every one of you in California. Our future—our kids’ future—depends on a Governor who knows what it is like to battle the odds and remember where he came from.

Karen Bass, United States Representative (37th District)

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