Former Los Angeles Mayor and gubernatorial hopeful Antonio Villaraigosa speaks to Orange County Hispanic business leaders at an event hosted by Mihaylo College's office of the SBDC.

“No matter where you grow up, no matter who you are, no matter where your parents came from, if you work hard and play [by] the rules you ought to be able to make it,” said former Los Angeles Mayor and California gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa at Mihaylo College on July 26, 2017. Photo credit Matt Gush

Mihaylo College’s lead office of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) hosted former Los Angeles Mayor and current California gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa for a discussion with members of the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and distinguished guests on the business-related initiatives he would pursue as the state’s chief executive.

After more than a quarter century of public service, including eight years as mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Ramón Villaraigosa is running for California governor in 2018 in the hopes of improving the state’s economic outlook.

“We’ve got to make it easier for small business to grow their businesses. We’ve got to address what is a very burdensome regulatory framework for small businesses. We’ve got to educate our kids and train them for the jobs of the 21st century,” said Villaraigosa in his conversation with Orange County Hispanic business leaders, CSUF leadership and donors at Mihaylo College on July 26. “We’re leaving a lot of people behind. There are a lot of people struggling. We need to come together as a state and do a better job of lifting more people up into middle class jobs.”

Making the California Dream Accessible

Villaraigosa proposes a housing and transportation trust fund to incentivize cities and counties to sponsor affordable and accessible solutions for demographics impacted by high housing costs, such as students, seniors and the middle class.

“Everybody thinks that the ideal Southern California home is a three-bedroom home, front yard, backyard and a pool in the backyard. Well, not everyone is going to live like that. The fact is you can live a good life with what I call elegant density,” he said. “So along transportation centers and the downtowns of Santa Ana, Anaheim, L.A., San Bernardino, you’re going to have more density there. They need to do parking variances to cut the costs; they need to do height variances; they need to do density bonuses to build the housing that we need.”

College affordability is a significant concern for many millennials, and Villaraigosa recognizes this as a vital factor in making upward mobility possible for this generation. He proposes free community college for low-income Californians, promotion of the state’s middle college high school programs that enable students to earn a high school diploma and associate degree simultaneously, and support for the Cal State and University of California systems.

Antonio Villaraigosa takes photos with Orange County Hispanic business leaders at an event hosted by Mihaylo College's Lead SBDC in summer 2017.

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa stops to take a group photo with guests from the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. His visit to Mihaylo College is part of a series of discussions with gubernatorial candidates sponsored by Mihaylo’s Lead Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Photo credit Matt Gush

“The CSU is where the kids of the working class and the middle class are disproportionately. I’m going to focus on the CSUs to a degree we haven’t seen,” he said. “Technology is an answer, but I also think that we’re turning away kids who are qualified here in California. I think that California kids should be in our California schools, and particularly if they don’t have the option to go somewhere else. We’re turning away tens of thousands of kids from the CSUs and that’s not fair, and it’s not right.”

From ensuring an education for the children of undocumented immigrants to cutting crime, Villaraigosa hopes that equality of opportunity will be achieved in California, serving as a prototype for the rest of the nation.

“We’ve always thought of America as the place where you can start from the bottom and go to the top, second to none. We’re 16th in the world today,” he said. “That’s not something that California is going to tolerate. No matter where you grow up, no matter who you are, no matter where your parents came from, if you work hard and play [by] the rules you ought to be able to make it.”

Gavin Newsom to Visit CSUF Irvine Campus

Villaraigosa’s visit is part of a series of invitation-only events featuring California gubernatorial candidates sponsored by the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Lead SBDC. The next event will feature Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom on Aug. 30 at the Irvine Campus of Cal State Fullerton.

About the SBDC

The Lead Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Mihaylo College is committed to giving local small businesses in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties with resources to help their small businesses succeed, such as no-cost consulting, training programs and access to experienced business consultants in the community.  Visit the SBDC on Cal State Fullerton’s campus in SGMH 4157.

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