EXCLUSIVE–Antonio Villaraigosa on Governor’s Race 2018: ‘I Have a Lot of Service Left in Me’

Antonio Villaraigosa (Adelle Nazarian / Breitbart News)
Adelle Nazarian / Breitbart News

BEVERLY HILLS — Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spoke with Breitbart News on Wednesday about a possible gubernatorial run in 2018.

Villaraigosa was a speaker at the California-Israel Water Summit at the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts, lecturing about water conservation efforts in the Cities of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.

Villaraigosa said that while he “wasn’t going to make any announcements,” he has not retired his mantle of public service. “I have a lot of service left in me.”

In 2005, he became the first Latino mayor of Los Angeles in over 130 years, and California’s third Mexican-American to hold that post. An early Field poll, released in October of last year, showed Villaraigosa and Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom neck-and-neck in terms of voter support to replace Gov. Jerry Brown, who will be termed out after 2018.

Several months ago, Villaraigosa hosted a fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at his Hollywood Hills home, during which he announced that he would visit Bakersfield, Visalia and Fresno as part of a “listening tour” similar to the one launched by Clinton early last year.

Villaraigosa told Breitbart News: “I’ve learned a lot from the listening tour. So I can tell you that there are challenges peculiar to the rest of the state and particularly areas like the Central Valley that I will be speaking to.”

During his speech Wednesday, Villaraigosa noted that during his time as mayor, one of his primary focuses was on security, education and the environment. “The issue of security [and] public safety always runs deep. In fact, it was something I focused on virtually every single day,” he told the audience.

Expanding upon that theme in his interview with Breitbart News, Villaraigosa said: “I would say the issues I had focused on as mayor were public safety, improving our schools, addressing our environmental and energy challenges and the challenges of transpiration and infrastructure. These are things that I’ve been fairly familiar with. I used to be speaker of the assembly so I’ve also worked on expanding healthcare and a number of other issues.”

During his talk, he recalled several visits he had made to the State of Israel over the past few years to examine and even integrate various Israeli technologies into Los Angeles. He noted that certain security measures that he learned about in Tel Aviv have been implemented at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

As for California’s historic drought, he explained his view that “we need to be willing to be as big as the crisis ahead and we need to treat the current situation as a crisis.”

With regard to Israel’s technological innovations and advancements in addressing water issues of its own, he said: “I can tell you this, Israel has led and we should follow.”

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.


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