California gubernatorial candidates square off in Fresno debate

Left to right: California gubernatorial candidates Travis Allen, Antonio Villaraigosa, John Cox and Delaine Eastin engage in a debate at Valley PBS Studios in Fresno, April 25, 2018. (Courtesy of Valley PBS)

The 2018 California Gubernatorial Candidate Debate “Your Voice-Your Future” was held at the Valley PBS Studios in Fresno on Wednesday, April 25.

KMJ Radio’s Morning Anchor, Matt Otstot, as well as anchors from FOX26 and Univision hosted the debate.

San Diego businessman John Cox, former State Superintendent of Public Education Delaine Eastin, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Assemblyman Travis Allen made their case for why they should be the next governor of California.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and California State Treasurer John Chiang declined to participate.

Cox, running as a republican candidate, said California has been mismanaged because of an awful sanctuary state policy, outrageous gas tax, housing costs and water that’s not available.

“I’ve been a businessman for over 40 years building my own business, starting from the bottom and building my way up,” Cox said. “I want to turn around this state and make it affordable, make it open for business and make sure every Californian has an opportunity to live a wonderful, safe life.”

Eastin, democrat, said she has spent a lot of time in the Central Valley while visiting schools as State Superintendent of Public Education.

Eastin said education, housing and healthcare for all are the urgent needs in California.

“When I was a kid growing up – and this state was a lot poorer than it is today – we were fifth of the 50 states in per-pupil spending. We have dropped to 41st,” Eastin said. “But we are No. 1 in per-prisoner expenditure. Those are not my values. I’m running for governor to change that.”

Villaraigosa, a democrat, said the state has lost some of the shine to the California dream.

“We’re the sixth largest economy in the world, with the highest effective poverty rate in the United States,” Villaraigosa said. “Three of the top five cities with the highest poverty rate in the United States are in the Central Valley. The next governor has to focus on growing together.”

Allen, republican, said he has seen many people leave California because democrats have driven the state into the ground.

“We used to be the best state in the nation with the best roads, best schools, best water system,” Allen said. “Now they’re crumbling before our eyes. Our schools are among the nation’s worst. Our roads are the second worst in the nation with the worst in the nation in traffic.”

Allen said he has a five-point plan to take back California. His plan is to cut taxes starting with the gas tax, get tough on crime, fix the roads without new taxpayer dollars, fix the education system and complete the state water project.

“I will reverse the sanctuary state and I will make sure we have voter ID in California,” Allen said.

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