Candidates John Chiang, Delaine Eastin and Antonio Villalraigosa speak at “Building Our Future” youth candidate forum at Los Angeles Trade Tech College. Photo by Antonio Mejías-Rentas

Several Boyle Heights Beat youth reporters had the opportunity to interview John Chiang, Delaine Eastin and Antonio Villaraigosa right before they went on the “Building Our Future: A Forum on Children with California’s Gubernatorial Candidates” held at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College on May 15, 2018.

Our team produced an audio postcard with highlights from those interviews by reporters Jackie Ramírez, Keven Almontes and Carmen González. You can listen to it here:

The following is a transcript of the audio postcard:

Jackie Ramírez: My question is about DACA. The future of DACA is of big concern for many in our community. What will you do as governor to ensure that undocumented students don’t go back into the shadows?

Delaine Eastin: I have supported the DACA students consistently. I marched from Sacramento City Hall to Homeland Security building with the DACA students and other recipients in Sacramento. And I will continue to stand with them, I am supporting California sanctuary state status and I do believe that… look around the state, everybody is descended from immigrants. We have very few 100% Native Americans anywhere in this country, so… we need to make a commitment that… if you came here as 3 months old, as 3 years old, this is the only home you’ve ever known, you ought to be treated as if this is your homeland, ‘cause it is.

JR: Is there new legislation that you are hoping to pass?

DE: Well, I’m hoping to pass a lot of new legislations to do a number of different things. First we have to increase investment in our schools. The schools are under invested in California. Second, we have to do a lot more work to give scaffolding to students who have difficulties, whether it’s social or emotional problems at home, or whether it’s problems with food insecurities, whether it’s problems with health, whatever it is. We’ve got to make sure every child feels supported every day, everywhere they go. And that is a big commitment that I will make as governor of California.

Keven Almontes: With marijuana extracts and e-cigarettes that are easier for youth to get their hands on, and with the legalization of recreational marijuana, what will you do in order for youth not to get their hands on them?

John Chiang: We are going to have to make sure we follow the rules and regulations of the state of California, right? We need to bring the cannabis industry out of the shadows. Unfortunately we have a Washington, D.C., that’s taking no action, we don’t see leadership. We need to make sure that we mainstream these businesses… so that they pay them cash above board, that everyone understands the rules and regulations, so that they don’t continue to operate in an underground economy, so that we get the tax revenue so that we can fund education, so that we can fund health care, so that we can fund the medicinal research on this particular issue. I’ve been leading the charge, working with others throughout the country, to try to press upon President Trump, the Congress and the regulatory agencies to do the right thing,

Carmen González: I’m from Boyle Heights Beat, Boyle Heights and East LA…

Antonio Villaraigosa: I grew up in Boyle Heights, you know that?

CG:  Yes, yes… Boyle Heights and East LA residents have some of the highest rates of lead contamination from the now closed Exide battery recycling plant. Residents say the process is too slow and that only a small percentage of homes have been cleaned. Do  you plan on providing additional funding to expedite the process and ensure all contaminated houses are cleaned.

AV: First of all, some of those responsibilities go to cities and the counties. But, I’m not going to put my head in the sound with something like this, I’m going to partner with cities and counties to address this situation. You started out with, you’re from Boyle Heights. I grew up in Boyle Heights. My whole campaign is about growing together, that we’re living in the state with the highest…  fifth largest economy in the world, and the highest effective poverty rate in the United States. I believe that we need to grow together, and that means we need to invest in every community. When i was mayor of LA, I focused on poorer communities, not just the affluent communities, and I will do that as governor.

By the way, you’re questions are way better than theirs [pointing at professional reporters]. Way better!

The California primary elections will be held on Tuesday, June 5.

Watch the full debate here:

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Boyle Heights Beat

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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