By ANDY VITALICIO
Five out of six California gubernatorial candidates have confirmed their attendance for Friday’s first-ever Asia-Pacific American-focused gubernatorial debate in California history, to be held at Pasadena City College from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Organizers predict broad state-wide issues will be discussed.
Those who have confirmed attendance are State Assembymember Travis Allen, State Treasurer John Chiang, business John Cox, former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin, and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
The sole question mark is front-running Gavin Newsom, Lieutenant Governor of California since 2011, who has not said if he will attend. Newsom’s office did not return requests for information from Pasadena Now on Thursday.
Miko Jeao, Manager of Voter Engagement at Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment (CAUSE), a co-host of the debate, said the event is supported by a number of other community organizations.
“There are a lot of debates that have happened throughout California with a bunch of different communities in mind, and there’s never been one for the Asian-Pacific-American citizens,” Jeao said. “So we decided to team up with over 70 community partners and over 20 media partners to form together and host the first-ever APA gubernatorial debate this Friday. Some of the questions are going to be topics that are geared towards our community, but a lot of the questions are just general debate questions.”
Today more than one-third (5.7 million) of the United States’ Asian-Pacific-American population resides in California, according to CAUSE. California is also home to the largest number of APA-owned businesses (32 percent of the total in the nation) and boasts an Asian-Pacific-American consumer market of $172 billion.
With the Asian-Pacific-American population comprising nearly 15 percent of California’s electorate, the community has the potential to decide the outcome of the 2018 elections.
The debate is also hosted by the National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC) Greater Pasadena Area.
Assemblyman Travis Allen was first elected to the State Assembly in November of 2012, representing the 72nd Assembly District, which includes the cities of Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Westminster, and Los Alamitos, also the unincorporated communities of Sunset Beach, Midway City, and Rossmoor. In addition, the 72nd Assembly District also includes portions of Cypress, Stanton, Anaheim, and Santa Ana.
Allen is running on a 5-Point Plan to Take Back California, which says the state must cut taxes, get tough on crime, fix its roads and reduce traffic, once again provide the best education in the country, and complete the State Water project.
John Chiang was elected on Nov. 4, 2014, as California’s 33rd State Treasurer. As the state’s banker, he oversees trillions of dollars in annual transactions, manages a $75 billion investment portfolio, and is the nation’s largest issuer of municipal bonds.
In addition, he chairs financing authorities that help provide good-paying jobs, better schools, improved transportation, quality health care, more affordable housing and a cleaner environment. He handles those duties while sitting on the governing boards of the nation’s two largest public pension funds with combined assets exceeding $496 billion.
John Cox, as a businessman, has been a conservative leader for more than 35 years, serving on Jack Kemp’s national steering committee and as Newt Gingrich’s California Finance Chair. He was a leader of the successful effort to remove disgraced Democrat Mayor Bob Filner in San Diego, and a major backer of the Paycheck Protection campaign to rein in the corrupting power of the public employee unions. Now, at the request of California’s Republican Members of Congress, John Is serving as Chairman of Give Voters a Voice, the initiative campaign to repeal the gas tax increase.
Cox built his own business from scratch to a $200 million enterprise with almost 100 employees. He is active in charitable organizations, and serves as a Board member for the San Diego USO. Cox also founded an organization that repairs the homes of low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities. Since 1991, that organization has mobilized 20,000 volunteers and repaired over 1,000 homes. He is both a fiscal and social conservative, and supports 2nd Amendment rights and strongly opposes Gov. Jerry Brown’s Sanctuary State.
Delaine Eastin, a professor of education, was the first and only woman to date to be elected California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, serving from 1995 to 2003 under Governors Pete Wilson and Gray Davis. Eastin represented parts of Alameda County and Santa Clara County in the California State Assembly between 1986 and 1994.
After leaving elected office, Eastin became the first Executive Director of the National Institute for School Leadership, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Educational Leadership at Mills College, where she directed the Center for Civic Engagement and Women’s Leadership.
She has served or serves on a number of boards advocating for foster youth, women’s rights, healthy lunches, civic engagement of youth, gardens in schools, electing more women to public office and getting more women into STEM education. She also served on the Gevirtz School of Education Board at UCSB and the Alumni Board at UC Davis, as well as chairing the UC Davis Center for Nutrition Education Board.
Antonio Villaraigosa was the 41st Mayor of Los Angeles, from 2005 to 2013. Before becoming mayor, he was a member of the California State Assembly (1994–2000), where he served as the Democratic leader of the Assembly (1996–98), and Assembly Speaker (1998–2000).
During his tenure as mayor, he gained national attention for his work and was featured in Time’s story on the country’s 25 most influential Latinos. He was the first Mexican American in over 130 years to have served as Mayor of Los Angeles. He was term limited and could not run for re-election in 2013. He continues to be actively engaged in education, civic engagement, water, immigration, transportation, and economic development issues.
Villaraigosa believes that “making our state work for everyone starts with making sure everyone has a voice.”
“I’m running for Governor to do big things – starting with rebuilding our middle class by investing in our schools and repairing our infrastructure,” he said. “But we’re never going to make this state work for us again unless we give voice to the people who are all too often not heard in Sacramento.”
Friday’s debate will be at PCC’s Sexson Auditorium at 1570 E. Colorado Blvd. The event is free and open to the public.
For more information, visit www.nwpcgpa.org/events or www.eventbrite.com/e/2018-apa-gubernatorial-debate-tickets-42300610264 to register.