Releases & Statements

Speaker Pérez, Assemblymembers Torres, Eng Urge Measures to Prevent Foreclosures, Strengthen State’s Bid for $700 Million in New Federal Home Foreclosure Funds

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SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblymembers Norma Torres (D-Pomona) and Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park) today urged the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA) to consider several home foreclosure prevention approaches as CalHFA develops the state’s program proposal for $700 million in new federal Hardest Hit Housing Market (H4M) assistance. The proposal for the federal H4M funding is due by April 16, 2010.

“California has been hit harder by the foreclosure crisis and subsequent recession than any other state in the Union, and these funds will help stabilize California’s housing market,” said Speaker Pérez. “Stopping the hemorrhaging in the housing market will help to stabilize our economy, and allow us to focus on creating the quality, high-paying jobs that are our pathway to recovery.”

“As you know, the H4M program presents California with an opportunity to help homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure, are underwater in their mortgages, and/or are unemployed,” the legislators wrote in a letter to CalHFA. “Recognizing the short time period the California Housing Finance Agency has to develop this program, we commend the Agency for your efforts to solicit input from stakeholders who work with at-risk homeowners.”

The legislators added, “As the Assembly continues our efforts to help California recover from the recession and the foreclosure crisis, we look forward to working with you to ensure that the proposal and programs developed by your Agency will be successful in helping California homeowners – and the neighborhoods and communities that suffer from foreclosures as well.”

Specifically, the legislators suggested the following measures:

•      Develop strategies with banking partners to leverage the $700 million available to the state to ensure that the funds are used to the maximum advantage.  Encourage lenders to participate as equal partners in the program so that the private sector investment complements the government investment

•      Offer homeowners comprehensive information and tools to evaluate foreclosure alternatives including short sales

•      Devise strategies to help ensure that homeowners assisted through the program can maintain their mortgages for the long-term

•      Build upon an existing program with Genworth to provide unemployment insurance to homeowners who may be temporarily out of work and therefore unable to pay their mortgage

•      Consider the establishment of partnerships with programs that provide counseling or mediation services to homeowners at risk of foreclosure

The Assembly’s home foreclosure prevention approaches are based on recent outreach efforts conducted by Assemblymember Torres in the Inland Empire, Assemblymember Cathleen Galgiani (D-Livingston) in the Central Valley and Assemblymember Marty Block (D-San Diego) in the San Diego region.

Attached is the letter to CalHFA. (Link below)

Website of Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker

Contact: Shannon Murphy (916) 319-2408

Assemblymember Fuentes: Help Make California Count in 2010 Census

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SACRAMENTO – In this Democratic weekly address, Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar), Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on the Census, discusses how census participation helps California receive its fair share of federal funding and congressional representation. Fuentes notes that there is still time to mail in census forms and that because the Census Bureau keeps the information confidential and does not share it with anyone, no California resident should fear participating in the census.

 

English - The running time is 1:46. mp3

Spanish - The running time is 2:28. mp3

Website of Assembly Felipe Fuentes: www.asm.ca.gov/fuentes

Transcript:Hello, this is Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes, Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on the Census.

National Census Day was April 1st, but Californians still have time to fill out this simple but very important questionnaire.

Census forms postmarked throughout April and beyond will be accepted and will help us avoid costly visits Census staff would have to make to homes beginning in May

There is no other civic act that impacts our state and local communities like returning your census form.

It will decide whether or not California will receive its fair share of the 400 billion dollars of federal funding that is given out to states each year for the next ten years.

The census will decide if schools will be properly funded, hospitals have the resources to care for the sick and elderly, and whether or not our roads and bridges will be safe for Californians.

This very important count will also be used to decide how many congressional representatives we will have in Washington DC.

It’s important for all Californians to know that any information you give the US Census Bureau will be kept confidential and will not be shared with anyone.

No resident in our state should fear participation in the census because of their legal status.

Even though the census will have a huge impact on our state, it is very easy to participate in.

There are ten simple questions to complete and return and the Census Bureau’s toll free help line is in English at 866-872-6868 and in Spanish at 866-928-2010.

Again, that’s 866-872-6868 for English and 866-928-2010 for Spanish.

Please visit 2010 census.gov for more information.

With everything our state stands to gain I invite you to join us in making California count in the 2010 census.

This is Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes.

Thank you for listening.

CONTACT: Shannon Murphy (916) 319-2408

Asambleísta Fuentes: Ayude a que California Cuente en el Censo del 2010

SACRAMENTO – En el mensaje demócrata semanal, el asambleísta Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar), presidente del Comité Selecto de la Asamblea sobre el Censo, comenta cómo la participación en el Censo ayudará a California a recibir su porción justa de los fondos federales y su representación al Congreso. Fuentes indica que todavía es tiempo de enviar por correo su forma del Censo y que la Oficina del Censo mantiene la información confidencial y no la comparte con ninguna otra agencia o individuos, y es por esta razón que ningún residente de California debería tener miedo de participar en el Censo.

Portal del asambleísta Felipe Fuentes: www.asm.ca.gov/fuentes/

El discurso radial en archivo de MP3 puede ser localizado en el sitio de Internet:

Spanish mp3

MENSAJE RADIALHola, les habla el asambleísta Felipe Fuentes, presidente del Comité Selecto de la Asamblea sobre el Censo.

El día nacional del Censo fue el primero de abril, pero los californianos todavía tienen tiempo para llenar el simple pero muy importante cuestionario.

Las formas del Censo enviadas antes del 30 de abril y después de esta fecha serán aceptadas y nos ayudaran a evitar las costosas visitas del personal del Censo a nuestros hogares programadas para comienzos de mayo.

No existe ningún otro acto cívico con tal grado de impacto para nuestro estado y comunidades locales que llenar y enviar de vuelta la forma del Censo

Esto decidirá si California recibe o no su justa parte de los 400 mil millones de dólares en fondos federales que se distribuyen a todos los estados cada año por los próximos diez años.

El censo decidirá si las escuelas recibirán los fondos apropiados, los hospitales contarán con los recursos necesarios para atender a los enfermos y ancianos, o si los puentes y carreteras serán los suficientemente seguros para los californianos.

Este importante conteo será usado para decidir cuantos representantes al Congreso tendremos como estado en Washington DC.

Por eso que es muy importante que los californianos sepan que cualquier información proporcionada a la Oficina del Censo es confidencial y por ley no puede ser compartida con ninguna otra agencia o individuos.

Ningún residente de nuestro estado debería tener miedo o excluirse de participar en el Censo debido a su estado legal.

Aunque el Censo tendrá un gran impacto en nuestro estado, también es muy fácil de participar en el. Son solamente diez simples preguntas para completar y enviarla de vuelta, y la Oficina del Censo cuenta con una línea telefónica de ayuda gratuita en español llamando al 1-866-928-2010.

Otra vez, es el 1-866-928-2010.

Por favor visite el portal de Internet 2010 census.gov para más información.

Con todo lo que el estado tiene por ganar, le invito a que nos acompañe para que nos cuenten como se debe en el Censo del 2010.

Gracias por su atención. Les habló el asambleísta Felipe Fuentes.

CONTACTO: Shannon Murphy (916) 319-2408

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Pérez Calls Job Creation Measures Down Payment on Effort to Help California Workers

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SACRAMENTO – In this Democratic weekly address, Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) highlights bills passed by the Legislature this week that create jobs by boosting California’s housing and green technology markets. He explains the efforts represent only a down payment on what’s needed to turn the economy around and that the Legislature’s cooperative, bipartisan effort to create jobs continues.

 

English - The running time is 1:02. mp3

Spanish - The running time is 1:38. mp3

Website of Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker

Transcript:Hello, this is Assembly Speaker John Pérez.

This week the Legislature approved two important job creation measures that start putting Californians back to work.

One bill provides a $10,000 tax incentive on the purchase of a new home that will create construction jobs for new homebuilding.

The incentive can also be used by first time homebuyers to purchase pre owned homes, helping our housing market rebound.

The other bill we passed provides a tax credit that helps create new jobs for manufacturing of green technology products.

This investment will help spur development of California’s green economy.

I’m proud we’ve been able to pass these measures that start creating the jobs we need.

However, they represent only a down payment on the policies we need to turn our economy around.

The Legislature will continue to work with Californians throughout the state on creating the jobs we need to get out of this recession.

Cooperation and bi-partisanship, not partisan gridlock, is essential if we’re going to help every Californian succeed.

This is Assembly Speaker John Pérez.

Thanks for listening.

CONTACT: Shannon Murphy (916) 319-2408

Pérez Llama a Medidas de Creación de Empleos un Primer Paso en los Esfuerzos para Ayudar a los Trabajadores de California

SACRAMENTO – En el mensaje demócrata semanal, el presidente de la Asamblea John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), destaca las medidas aprobadas por la Legislatura durante la semana que tienen por objetivo crear trabajos al impulsar los mercados de la vivienda y tecnología verde. Pérez también resalta que estos esfuerzos representan el primer paso para la recuperación económica y que la cooperación bipartidaria dentro de la Legislatura continuará con la tarea de crear nuevas fuentes de trabajo.

Website of Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker

El discurso radial en archivo de MP3 puede ser localizado en el sitio de Internet:

Spanish mp3

MENSAJE RADIALHola les saluda John Pérez, presidente de la Asamblea estatal de California.

Esta semana la legislatura aprobó dos propuestas de ley muy importantes enfocadas en empleos y en poner nuevamente a trabajar a los californianos.

Una propuesta provee un crédito en los impuestos de $10,000 para la compra de un nuevo hogar, ayudando así a que la industria de la construcción genere empleos.

El crédito también puede ser usado por aquellos que nunca han sido dueños de casa y compran una casa usada y ayudan a las comunidades a restablecerse.

La otra propuesta provee un crédito en los impuestos que ayuda a crear nuevos empleos en la producción de productos relacionados con la tecnología verde.

Estas propuestas representan una inversión para el desarrollo de la economía verde en California.

Yo estoy muy orgulloso de que logramos aprobar estas propuestas que empiezan a crear los empleos que tanto necesitamos.

Pero, estas propuestas son solo el primer paso en nuestra meta de revitalizar la economía del estado.

La legislatura continuará trabajando mano a mano con todos los californianos para crear los trabajos que necesitamos para salir de esta recesión.

Para alcanzar esta meta, necesitamos dejar a un lado las ideas partidistas y trabajar juntos para ayudar a cada californiano a tener éxito.

Les habló John A. Pérez, presidente de la Asamblea estatal. Gracias por su atención.

CONTACTO: Shannon Murphy (916) 319-2408

Pérez Quickly Moves Job-Creating Tax Credits Through Assembly

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SACRAMENTO – As part of Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez’s efforts to create jobs and help homeowners in California, the Assembly today passed legislation to provide $10,000 tax credits to buyers of new and pre-owned homes and to provide a sales tax exemption on the equipment manufacturers buy as they expand green business in California.

“Today, the Legislature approved two important job creation measures that put Californians back to work,” said Speaker Pérez.  “One bill will help put construction workers back to work by providing tax incentives to first-time homebuyers, spurring the construction of new homes and the sale of existing housing stocks while the other will spur the development of the green economy by exempting the manufacturing of green technology products from sales tax. These measures will help get Californians working again, but they only represent a down payment of the kinds of job-creation policies the Legislature needs to enact to get California out of this recession.

Here are the links to audio of Speaker Pérez:

Speaker Pérez says that the Assembly passed two proposals that will create jobs for Californians. One of them being a $10,000 tax credit for first time home buyers. mp3

Speaker Pérez says the other measure will help California become a leader in the Green Economy. mp3

Speaker Pérez says that it’s important to look the gas tax swap as job creation product. mp3

Speaker Pérez says that the Governor was very happy with the package that the Assembly put together. mp3

Website of Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker

Nava Builds Support for Oil Industry Fair Share Act

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Texas Taxes = $14.33/barrel | California only gets $4.22/barrel

Sacramento - Assemblymember Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara) was joined Monday by educators, healthcare providers, nurses, seniors, organized labor, and environmentalists to promote Assembly Bill 1604 – the Oil Industry Fair Share Act. Representatives from the Congress of California Seniors, the California Nurses Association, the California Teachers Association, the California Federation of Teachers, the California School Employees Association, and Environment California, all advocated in support of the oil severance tax.

Currently, according to an analysis by the Board of Equalization, California taxes oil at 1/3 the rate of Texas. Texas’ taxes amount to about $14.33/barrel of oil, and in California the taxes amount to about $4.22/barrel. Nava’s legislation imposes a modest 10% charge on the gross value of each barrel of oil produced in California. This tax will provide approximately $1.5 billion in additional revenue to the California General Fund that can be used for public safety, education, health services, and other vital programs.

“Compared to other states, California oil companies are getting a free ride. California is the only major oil producing state that does not charge a severance tax on oil extraction. It is time to catch up with Alaska, Texas, Alabama, and Arkansas.  We need to collect the people’s share of this potential revenue source by getting oil companies to pay their fair share,” said Nava.

Here are links to audio of Assemblymember Nava in English:

Assemblymember Nava says the proposed oil severance tax will raise $1.5 billion in new revenues. mp3

Assemblymember Nava says California is the only oil-producing state in the U.S. that doesn’t levy a severance tax on oil extraction. mp3

Assemblymember Nava says consumers should not see an increase in gas prices as a result of the proposed oil severance tax. mp3

Assemblymember Nava says the public should know who is responsible for keeping common-sense revenues out of state coffers. mp3

Here are links to audio of Assemblymember Nava in Spanish:

El asambleísta Nava dice que la industria del petróleo es la única que obtiene grandes ganancias y por esa razón no necesitan explorar por nuevos yacimientos en las costas de California. mp3

El asambleísta Nava dice que las compañías petroleras se oponen a pagar un impuesto que es justo. mp3

El asambleísta Nava dice que no cree que las compañías petroleras vayan a bajar la producción de gasolina porque la economía de California esta basada en el petróleo. mp3

El asambleísta Nava dice que la gente debe saber que los republicanos no respaldan los programas que ayudan a la comunidad Latina. mp3

CONTACT: John D. Mann (916) 718-7420

Speaker Pérez Names Assembly Committees

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Honors Commitment to Bipartisan Solutions; Names Two Republican Committee Chairs

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) today announced his Democratic leadership team and unveiled the Assembly’s committee assignments for the remainder of the 2009-2010 Regular Session. Honoring his commitment to encourage bipartisan solutions to the challenges facing California, Pérez appointed Assemblymember Cameron Smyth (R-Santa Clarita) to chair the Assembly Committee on Local Government and Assemblymember Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley) to chair the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs. The last time a Republican was appointed by a Democratic Speaker to chair an Assembly committee was 2002.

Pérez’s appointments also improve the balance of representation on committees, and Republicans will see a net gain of two committee vice chairmanships. In announcing the appointments Speaker Pérez said:

“When I was sworn-in as Speaker I said we must embrace bipartisan cooperation in order to create jobs, turn the economy around and help solve the many other challenges facing our state. The appointments I’m announcing not only reflect the values of the strong Democratic majority the people of California sent to Sacramento, they also include more representation of Republican points of view. As I pledged, I have appointed two Republican members to chair Assembly committees, and there are also more Republican vice-chairs and greater bipartisan balance on committees. With the difficult tasks before us of creating new jobs and implementing real reform, I want to make sure Assembly Committees maximize the talent and experience of all our members.”

Website of Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker

CONTACT: Shannon Murphy (916) 319-2408

Pérez Highlights Ways to Fix California at Community Swearing-In; Says Legislature Must Share Sacrifice - Cuts 15% from Assembly Budget

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LOS ANGELES – At his community inaugural ceremony today, Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) described the continued economic challenges facing California and announced that as part of the shared sacrifice required to get the state past the recession, he is cutting the Assembly’s budget 15%.

“We have been forced to ask fellow Californians to sacrifice much in the past few years, and the Legislature must share in that sacrifice,” Pérez said. “I believe we must continue to embrace that spirit of shared sacrifice, and to that end, I am directing the Assembly operating budget be cut by 15%. Every dollar we save is a dollar we can use to mitigate further cuts to the state budget. Unfortunately, savings and efficiencies alone will not close this deficit—it is simply too large, and the situation demands a thoughtful, balanced solution.”

Speaker Pérez said his top priority is to get Californians working again and that he would implement innovative ideas around job creation and strategies that promote high-paying, high-skilled jobs that restore the essential middle class.

He also pointed to the importance of bipartisan cooperation to solve the state’s problems and added that he hoped that same kind of cooperation can help pass the sweeping bipartisan reform package just introduced in the Legislature. The reform package will stabilize state finances, increase accountability, enhance public oversight of government operations and make government more effective for the people of California.

Pérez, who was officially sworn-in as Speaker of the Assembly in the State Capitol on March 1, noted that since that time several California communities are pursuing the same type of ban he placed preventing special-interests texting Assemblymembers during votes and committee hearings. “Whether it’s a vote for the budget or any other issue when we cast a vote on the floor or in committee, the people of California will have the last word because of the prohibition I have ordered on text messages from lobbyists while we conduct the people’s business,” Pérez said. “It’s a simple common sense step and it’s already being emulated in communities across the state.”

Participating in the ceremony at the Japanese American Museum were Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, Mayor Ana Rosa Rizo of Maywood, Assemblymember Isadore Hall III (D-Compton), Los Angeles County Federation of Labor Executive Secretary-Treasurer Maria Elena Durazo, Little Tokyo Center Director Bill Watanabe and Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chair Eric C. Bauman. The oath of office was administered by the Honorable M.L. Villar, judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court. Other special guests attending included Congresswoman Judy Chu, Speaker-Emeritus Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) and former Governor Gray Davis. Performances by Los Angeles High School #9 for the Visual and Performing Arts Women’s Chorus and The Franklin High School Marching Band rounded out the program.

Website of Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker

CONTACT: Speaker's Press Office (916) 319-2408

Legislative Leaders and California Forward Announce Major State Government Reform Package

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SACRAMENTO – Today Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), and representatives of California Forward announced a major package of reforms to improve government effectiveness in California, stabilize state finances, increase accountability and enhance public oversight of government operations.

For the past seven months, the Legislature has engaged in a bicameral conversation about reform through the hearings of the Senate and Assembly Select Committees on Improving State Government, chaired by Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) and Assemblymember Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles). Ideas discussed in the hearings were also reflected in proposals of outside groups and individuals. The reform package announced today resulted from melding the work done by the Senate and Assembly Select Committees on Improving State Government and good-government group California Forward.

The Legislature will amend the constitutional reforms proposed by California Forward into constitutional amendments in the Assembly and the Senate that will be vetted through the committee process in both houses. Additionally, the Legislature will undertake a series of institutional reforms to improve oversight, prioritize key issues and promote bipartisanship.

“California Forward has presented a unique opportunity to begin changing our system,” Steinberg said. “We will fix what we can on our own and work to put constitutional change on the ballot as soon as possible.”

“As I said when I was sworn-in, this needs to be a year of real and meaningful reform,” Pérez said. “That’s why I am pleased to join my colleagues and the leadership of California Forward to advance a set of proposed solutions that help make our government more accountable and effective.”

“California’s fiscal crisis provides the Legislature with a historic opportunity to reform state government,” DeSaulnier said. “We know we can't fix everything at once - but we must get started with changes we can make on our own along with putting the best ideas of outside groups like California Forward through the legislative process.”

“Our reform package is comprehensive, practical, and balanced. It advances big ideas Democrats support, major changes Republican favor, and bipartisan reforms that just make sense,” said Feuer. “This is the kind of compromise that Californians rightly demand of us.”

The constitutional amendments will include the following elements of the California Forward proposal:

  • Reducing the vote threshold for passing a budget to a simple majority vote.
  • Raising revenues would still require a 2/3 majority vote.
  • Requiring legislators to forfeit pay and per diem if a budget is not passed on time.
  • Giving authority to the Governor to reduce spending in the Budget Act if the Legislature does not pass a measure to address a fiscal emergency.
  • Requiring the Governor to include longer-term budget forecasts.
  • Limiting the use of “one-time” revenue for one-time purposes.
  • Establishing performance standards for state programs that are periodically reviewed.
  • Requiring a 2/3 vote threshold for fees that replace taxes.
  • Requiring lawmakers to identify funding sources for bills that cost the state at least $25 million per year.

Legislative reforms include:

  • Institutionalizing oversight of the executive branch as one of the Legislature’s most important ongoing duties.
  • Requiring committee chairs to prioritize a small list of issues and report them to leadership.
  • Re-invigorating the Sunset Review process to evaluate the effectiveness of boards and commissions.
  • Reducing by 1/3 the number of bills members may carry; allow an exception of up to 2 bills to bipartisan-authored measures.

Legislative Leaders Announce Major State Government Reform Package

(Sacramento) – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), and representatives of California Forward have announced a major package of reforms to improve government effectiveness in California, stabilize state finances, increase accountability and enhance public oversight of government operations. The reform package includes work done by the Senate and Assembly Select Committees on Improving State Government and California Forward. Here’s more from Assembly Speaker Pérez in this Assembly Access video.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Government Reform Package Improves Budget Process and Accountability

(Sacramento) - Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) says the government reform package was developed by the bi-partisan good government group California Forward and state legislative committees. Speaker Pérez says the reforms will make the state’s budget process more efficient and effective, includes penalties for lawmakers if a budget is not completed on time, makes state government more transparent and improves accountability. Here’s more from Speaker Pérez in this Assembly Access video.

 

 

For a comprehensive description of the constitutional amendments and institutional reforms, see the attached document.

Below are links to audio from today’s news conference:

Speaker John A. Pérez’s opening statement at today’s news conference. (2:41) mp3

Speaker Pérez says the reform package was not developed by the state legislature. (:24) mp3

Speaker Pérez says reforming state government and dealing with the current budget deficit can be accomplished simultaneously.(:23) mp3

Speaker Pérez explains why a majority vote budget increases accountability and improves the budget process. (:22) mp3

Speaker Pérez says the reform package increases accountability and penalties for lawmakers. (:35) mp3

Speaker Pérez says the reform package will not change the tax vote threshold. (:17) mp3

California Forward co-hair Bob Hertzberg says the reform package is crucial to the state’s future. (:10) mp3

Contact: Shannon Murphy (Pérez) (916) 319-2408
Contact: Alicia Trost (Steinberg) (916) 651-4188
Contact: Krista Pfefferkorn (DeSaulnier) (916) 651-4007
Contact: Arianna Smith (Feuer) (916) 319-2042

Speaker Pérez Praises Signs of Job Gains, Federal Housing Aid

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SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) issued the following statement regarding today’s news that California added 32,000 jobs in January and that the state will receive up to $700 million in federal funds to help stabilize the housing market:

"Californians received excellent news today: for the first time in two months, California posted an increase in job creation, and the federal government announced that California is eligible for up to $700 million to prevent foreclosures and help bring stability to the housing market. This is excellent news that will bring relief to California families hit hard by the recession, and only serves to underscore how important it is that California’s leaders focus like a laser beam on creating quality, high-paying jobs to help the more than 2.2 million Californians still unemployed."

Website of Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker

Contact: Speaker's Press Office (916) 319-2408

New California Speaker John A. Pérez: California Must Unite Around Solutions

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SACRAMENTO – At his swearing-in as California's 68th Assembly Speaker at the State Capitol today, Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) said his top priority is to get Californians back to work. In his speech, which was delivered before several hundred community and business leaders, working men and women and elected officials, Pérez said he would work to implement innovative ideas around job creation and government reform and he also pledged to work across both sides of the aisle to deliver results for Californians.


Speaker Pérez’s address: (19:20)
Part 1

 


Part 2

 


Speaker Pérez taking the oath of office:

 

 

Pérez's remarks, as prepared for delivery, follow:

Speech

“Thank you all very much.

“To everyone who took part in the ceremony, thank you for making this a truly meaningful and memorable experience.

“Governor Schwarzenegger, though my first months as Speaker overlap your last months as Governor, I hope we will have the time to forge a working relationship that will make a real difference for the people of California.

“Constitutional officers, welcome to the people's house. I look forward to working with each of you as we do the people's business.

“To the former speakers who honor us with your presence, thank you for your service, your example and your wise counsel.

“Justice Moreno, you can't imagine how thrilled I am to be sworn in as Speaker by such a champion of justice and progress.

“I want to acknowledge my partner across the aisle, Republican Leader Martin Garrick, and my partner across the hall, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.

“Speaker Bass, I thank you for your leadership, your friendship and for creating a transition that has helped prepare me to accept this great responsibility and all of its challenges.

“I think the only thing smoother than our transition might be the magnificent voices of the chorus we just heard.

“To my family, friends and staff, who add so much to making life memorable and meaningful everyday, this moment would not be the same without each of you.

“Above all, to you, my colleagues in the Assembly who have placed your trust in me, it is with profound gratitude and humility that I assume this office to serve as the 68th Speaker of the California State Assembly.

“You know, the first time I was ever in this chamber I was a 16 year old delegate from the American Legion's Boys State.

“I was one of the dozens of kids you see swarming the halls every June.

“As a 16 year old, I stood in awe on the floor of this great chamber. I was overcome by the history of this place, where our very laws are debated and created. It never occurred to me that I could one day stand here amongst you as a member, much less as the speaker.

“My first trip to the Capitol wasn't that long ago, but at the time only a handful of Latinos and but one Latina had ever served in this chamber. And there had never been an openly gay member.

“Today I am still filled with awe when I stand in this chamber, but now I have more certainty about what is really possible in California, for I am but one example of those golden possibilities.

“Possible because of people like Ed Roybal, Phil Soto and Gloria Molina whose leadership carved out a path for generations of Latinos to serve our state.

“Possible because of people like Elaine Noble, Harvey Milk and Sheila James Kuehl who blazed a trail of pride and purpose for gay and lesbian Californians to serve our state.

“Possible because of my parents, whose love, hard work and commitment guided my path.

“I first became politically active as a junior high school student and a few years later, in high school, I fought a proposed prison that was to be built in my community.

“To my young mind, that was the last thing we needed, so I got active. I registered voters. I attended rallies and handed out fliers.

“I even read through my first Environmental Impact Report. Somehow, they seemed more exciting back then than they do today.

“I learned many lessons from that early effort. I learned the power of community, the power of organizing and the power of perseverance.

“I learned from the example of a priest I didn't even know who believed we deserved better and led our community's opposition to the prison.

“That priest was Father John Moretta, and I am so honored that he could join us today to deliver the invocation.

“As I stand here among my friends, family and colleagues for this momentous occasion, this chamber does feel just a little empty to me.

“Two extraordinary people are missing and I can't begin to tell you how keenly I feel their absence. This moment would never have been possible but for the love, hard work and support of my mother and father.

“This moment is bittersweet because my parents are no longer with us, but I am heartened by the memory that my mother was actually in this chamber before—twelve years ago, when my cousin was sworn in as Speaker. I remember the pride she felt that day, and I pray she is again filled with pride as she looks down over us.

“Sitting in the seat my mother occupied that day is my dear friend, Lois Williams. Lois is that wonderful loving mother or grandmother we hope every child has, and her presence and the presence of so many other special people in this room help me fill that void.

“Moments such as this fill us with a sense of vulnerability and emotion that can't help but cause us to reminisce about our families, our childhoods, and our driving forces – the things that define the very essence of who we are.

“In 1903, my mother's father came to California with nothing but the hope for a decent life and a better future.

“Today, the second of his grandsons has risen to one of the highest offices in government in the greatest state in our nation.

“Can you imagine what he would have said if someone back then would have suggested that possibility to him?

“In 1951, my father came to California with little more than a sixth-grade education. His opportunities were limited by his circumstances, but he was determined to make a good life.

“He worked as a sheet metal worker by day and a cook by night until an industrial accident left him permanently disabled. He always worked hard, in hard jobs, because he had a vision and an unshakeable dedication and love for his family. And that dedication did not end when he could no longer go to work.

“You don't need to look far to see where I got my commitment to working people and their families.

“Though my father never went past the sixth grade, I can vividly remember him helping me with my trigonometry homework and challenging my analysis of the Greek classics I was studying.

“In the many generations of my father's family, his children were the first to go to college — and he instilled in us a deep respect for that opportunity.

“I am proud to say that there are hundreds of UC students from across the state here at the capitol today. They are fighting for the same things I did as a UC student 20 years ago- and they are doing it the right way instead of the way it happened on the streets of Berkeley last Thursday night. They are fighting for the opportunity to partake of the greatest system of higher education in the world.

“I ask each of you to join with me in working to turn around an upside-down system where we demand students pay more every semester for classes they can't get, to fulfill ever-changing requirements for their education. As Speaker I will fight for all of California's higher education systems- the UC the CSU AND our community colleges because we need to restore common-sense to higher education and put our students' needs first.

“Growing up there were many occasions when times were tough and my parents sat at the table talking over the painful choices they'd need to make to see us through. My parents weren't rich with money, but our home was rich with love, encouragement, hope and opportunity.

“Our California family is going through similar times, and facing similar challenges. Helping solve this dilemma is our paramount concern right now. We don't have sufficient resources to meet all our needs, but that cannot be an excuse to turn on each other. We must remember that our state is like a big family, and for that family to be strong, every person must have the opportunity to succeed.

“Today -- across our state -- too many families are sitting around too many tables making too many painful choices.

“These families must be our priority!

“Our number one focus must be to get Californians working again! Our economic woes and budget deficits will not be fixed until the job market recovers, the unemployment rate falls and the spirit of entrepreneurship is restored across our state.

“Californians are hurting and we've all heard the frustration that state government isn't focusing on the things that will provide real help to get us out of this crisis.

“We were sent here to do a job. We must roll up our sleeves today and do the job we were elected to do.

“We need to focus on strategies that promote high-paying, high-skilled jobs that restore the essential middle class.

“We must be innovative and seek out new ideas and opportunities. We cannot just rely on old traditional methods of job creation – this is the 21st century. Above all else, we must be open-minded and creative in setting an environment in which our economy can thrive.

“Each of you knows of innovative success stories. Let's share those stories and spread them widely across our state.

“Here's an example: a community college in Massachusetts recently initiated a public-private partnership that allows students in their Nursing and Allied Health programs to shorten the time spent in school by guaranteeing access to the classes they need to graduate.

“This is a win for the students who move into good-paying jobs sooner…it's good for the college because they can help more students enter the job market sooner…and it's good for the state, which gets badly n eeded health professionals on an accelerated basis.

“In that spirit, I'm pleased to announce that I have been talking with Chancellor Jack Scott of the Community College System to see how a similar program can be established here in California, and I have introduced AB 2385 to that effect.

“That's the first innovation I'm personally putting into the mix.

“We need not all embrace the same philosophies to address the same problems; in fact our differences may lead to the most innovative outcomes, as long as we listen to each other and keep our minds open to new ideas.

“We are absolutely capable of setting aside our differences and coming together to produce solutions for the people of California -- as we have many times this past year.

“One of my first bills as an Assembly Member was one to clean up the tap water in the City of Maywood.

“When my bill was first heard, more than two dozen of my constituents boarded a bus at midnight to attend the hearing in Sacramento the next day.

“These folks did not hold out great hope as they had long been frustrated by inaction, but in the end, members on both sides of the aisle joined together and my constituents were rewarded with bipartisan support and the Governor's signature on a bill that will lead to clean water in their city.

“Last year, during the height of the fiscal crisis, our state was forced to give out IOU's for only the second time since the Great Depression.

“One of my colleagues from the other side of the aisle, Mr. Anderson, felt that people who received IOU's should be able to use those same IOU's in lieu of payments they owed to the state. I thought that was a common sense idea and worked to join Democrats and Republicans in supporting this sensible proposal.

“In both instances, members of this house recognized there was a problem, and we came together to support a solution, without regard to which side's proposal it was.

“As we confront the enormous challenges facing California in the coming year; that is exactly the spirit of bipartisan cooperation and common purpose we need to embrace if we are to succeed.

“For my part, I want every member of this chamber—Democrat AND Republican—to know that I value you, your service and your dedication to making this place better for all Californians.

“As Speaker, my role must be to enable each of you to be the best representative to your constituents that you can be. To that end, my door will always be open to all of you.

“Let me be clear, this is true for my Republican colleagues as well as for Democrats: I am your Speaker too ! Your ideas deserve to be heard and considered, as, do the ideas of the majority. And to my friends in the Minority party, believe me when I tell you, I know what it's like to be a minority.

“In keeping with my commitment to be a full partner to all members, and because I understand that actions speak louder than words, I want you to know that when I name the new committee leadership in the next few days, I will be appointing two Republicans to serve as Committee Chairs.

“As we embrace this new spirit of working together and hopefully increasing the respect we have for one another, one issue we must absolutely approach together is reform.

“In addition to focusing on solving our budget crisis and creating jobs, I want this to be a year of reform, real reform!

“I envision a three pronged attack.

“There are reforms the people in their wisdom must vote on.

“For example, I believe that California's budget should be approved by a simple majority, just like 47 other states and the federal government. As history has shown time and again, if the people lose confidence in the majority party, that party will soon find itself in the minority.

“There are reforms the legislature can adopt in a bipartisan, bicameral way—and we will be finalizing some of those proposals in the next couple days.

“However some reforms must be made immediately.

“I've already announced that the budget will not be written behind closed doors in Big 5 meetings. A full budget committee and subcommittee process will ensure all members get to participate and there is time for public input and independent review of the proposals.

“Hearings will be held around the state so that everyday Californians have the opportunity to look us in the eye and tell us how our budget proposals will affect their lives. And more importantly, they will have the chance to offer new ideas to us.

“We w ill broadcast our budget hearings and deliberations on the web and where possible on TV. Posting information on the Internet will make it easy for Californians to view the budget, see our proposals for themselves and evaluate the impact on their lives.

“Now I'm a big believer in technology, but sometimes we need to limit its reach. Another essential reform we must make immediately is to limit the use of certain technology on the floor and in hearings.

“Starting today, text messages from lobbyists are banned while we're on this floor or in committee doing the people's business. Californians expect us to pay full attention to the issues and to each other -- and they deserve to know who is involved in the debate. They need not worry that special interest lobbyists are secretly sending messages of opposition or support to us as we deliberate.

“At each of these levels – with the voters, with our Senate colleagues and in our own house, we must work together to produce a package of reforms that each and every one of us can be proud of and that allow us to serve our constituents better.

“We can do much this year if we are creative and open to new ideas and new reforms. This is a unique opportunity to do great things for our golden state, if we rise to the challenge, together.

“Members, I have been privileged to serve with you.

“You have asked me to be your leader and I intend to lead as you expect me to… boldly, creatively, and decisively.

“And after whatever period of months or years, when it is my turn to step down as Speaker and hand over the gavel, I intend to look back and say that we delivered.

“That we put California to work. That we fixed the broken budget system and helped restore the trust and the confidence of the people in this great institution.

“That we did the kind of job that an awe-struck and reverent 16 year old kid who stood in this room not daring to dream he could be here would be proud of. That we simply worked together to do the people's business.

“This is a huge challenge, a complex challenge, an historic challenge but we are equal to the task. So let's roll up our sleeves and get to work!”

Audio:

Speaker Pérez’s address: (19:20) mp3

Speaker Perez taking the oath of office: mp3

Website of Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker

Contact: Speaker’s Press Office (916) 319-2408