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2018 governor's race

Villaraigosa: 'There’s not enough concern about the environmental impacts of climate change on the poor'

 (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa said Wednesday that Democratic wins in Virginia and New Jersey are clear signs that voters across the United States want to elect leaders who have a vision of uniting the nation. 

That vision, Villaraigosa said, should include a focus on creating clean energy jobs and job training, especially for low-income residents.

“I think what [the election] portends is that Democrats need to keep on working,” Villaraigosa said. “I believe we need to focus a lot more on the economy and moving people into the middle class — that’s what I’m doing as governor.”  

Villaraigosa was in Los Angeles to discuss climate change, energy and water issues at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, a nonprofit organization that houses entrepreneurs and laboratories focused on creating new green technologies. 

In conversation with David Nahai, former general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Villaraigosa said he wants to see environmental strategies implemented that are evidence-based and cost-effective — and to ensure that there are no disparities in who benefits from the state's environmental policies.  

“We can’t just subsidize Teslas and not [help] people who drive a Toyota or ride a bus like my mama did,” Villaraigosa said. “And that’s why, in terms of our environmental agenda, carbon emissions is important, but so is pollution. … There’s not enough concern about the environmental impacts of climate change on the poor and working people.”

Villaraigosa was also pressed at the event about the release of his tax returns — he is the only Democratic candidate for governor who hasn't released them — after Delaine Eastin provided her returns to reporters Tuesday. He said he will release his tax returns “probably sometime in the next couple of weeks.”

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