PASADENA, CA — Five of the top gubernatorial candidates introduced themselves to the Asian American community.
“This great state was built by the Chinese, built by the Filipinos and Japanese that came here and helped make this great state,” said former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “I couldn’t be prouder to be here because my grandfather came here as well, he came here with a shirt on his back and dream.”
The debate hosted by the Center for Asian Americans United for Self Empowerment or CAUSE, focused on some of the biggest issues that affect California’s fast-growing Asian American community.
“This os our space to show the world that we are here, and our community is growing in power our voice and our vote counts. We’re making history tonight,” said exec director Kim Yamasaki.
While former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who leads in current polls and in fundraising, declined to participate.
Three Democrats and two Republicans shared their thoughts on topics, from voting to education, the economy and immigration.
“The Asian Pacific Islander community has the opportunity this election and going forward, to make a profound difference in the governance of our democracy this state is comprised by 16 percent asians. We’re transforming the electoral state,” said John Chiang, State Treasurer.
“It’s time we have universal preschool, K-12, needs to be properly funded,” said Delaine
“I’m watching as the politicians are destroying opportunity in this state this state has the highest tax rate in the county, the worst business climate,” said John Cox.
“In my first 100 days in office, reverse the illegal sanctuary state. I am the only conservative in the rice the only Republican in the race,” said Travis Allen.
While many of the supporters came out to cheer for their candidate, Filipino American community leaders were among those tuned into the debate.
“We’ve never had our stake at the table in a race like this,” said Melissa Ramosso. “Now we do so we are taking every opportunity to hold our leaders accountable and know the issues that are important to us.
“It’s a very exciting event, and it’s also showing finally Asian Americans are being counted and making a difference,” said Malou Mariano.
Under California’s top two system, the top two candidates in the June primary will advance to the November ballot.
While the debate hopes to empower the Asian American community, the last day to register to vote in the June primary is May 21st.