Entries in Antonio Villaraigosa (4)


Los Angeles Mayor Talks Immigration Reform, Gun Laws

Jerod Harris/Getty Images for BGR(WASHINGTON) -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said fights on the debt ceiling and spending cuts should not distract Congress from efforts to fix a “broken immigration system” and introduce new comprehensive immigration legislation in 2013.

“They should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time,” said Villaraigosa to a crowd of around 70 in Washington, D.C., Monday.

Villaraigosa characterized the current immigration system as “long on enforcement and short on opportunity.”

The mayor also presented a six-part plan for achieving legal residency, which includes an employment verification system, border protection and criminal background checks.

“Legalization should be earned, but not be unattainable,” said Villaraigosa, one of the top-elected Latino officials in the United States and a fierce advocate for a comprehensive immigratrion bill.

The mayor has also become active with other big-city mayors, such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, on the issue of gun violence. And one month after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Villaraigosa repeated calls for tougher gun laws.

“It’s an abomination that we don’t have an assault weapons ban,” said Villaraigosa.

Villagairosa also called for setting up universal background checks and a “beef-up” of mental health resources.

As for his future in the public sector, Villaraigosa wouldn’t give any specifics, saying only that he is “focusing on the job at hand” until the end of his mayoral term in June.

He is widely considered a potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, or as a good contender to join President Obama’s cabinet.

Villaraigosa previously served as the chairman of the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Convention Chair Says Gay Marriage Should Be Part of Dems’ 2012 Platform

Jerod Harris/Getty Images for BGR(LOS ANGELES) -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Wednesday that his party should take a national stand in favor of gay marriage.

As chairman of this year’s Democratic National Convention, Villaraigosa would not say what the specifics of such a stance might be but told Politico‘s Mike Allen he feels the issue is “basic to who we are.”

The position sets Villaraigosa apart from President Obama, who does not support gay marriage but has said his feelings on the subject are evolving.

“The delegates will make the decisions on the platform,” Villaraigosa said of the party’s ultimate 2012 platform. “But I do support it and certainly have for a long time.”

After Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed a bill authorizing same-sex marriage into law in his state last month, ABC News reported that stances on the issue seem to be shifting nationwide.

Four states will hold decisive votes on marriage equality in the coming months.

First up, the New Hampshire state legislature is considering a reversal of its 2009 decision to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. The law was originally voted in under a Democrat-controlled Capitol. Now with more than 70 percent of both the State Senate and State House voting Republican, representatives are pushing to repeal the bill.

The state’s Democratic Governor, John Lynch, is expected to veto this repeal, but the New York Times reports that with Democrats and the GOP in New Hampshire unsure of how their electorate would respond to such a law, a veto-proof majority is anything but assured.

In Maine, the issue is even more complicated. First they legalized it. Then, after Republicans took over the state government in 2010, they repealed it.

Now activists have collected enough signatures to put same-sex marriage in the Pine Tree State on the ballot once again. The Portland Press Herald reports the state legislature could vote on the initiative themselves and put the issue to bed for now, or they can pass it along to the electorate. If that’s the case, Mainers will vote on whether or not to allow same-sex couples to marry in November 2012. The Diocese of Portland has said the Catholic Church in Maine won’t involve itself in the fight politically this time around.

But before the November elections, both Minnesota and North Carolina will vote on amendments to their respective State Constitutions that would define marriage as being between a man and a woman. Former presidential hopeful and current Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is working with the Faith and Freedom Coalition to advance the measure in her state. At a meeting in January, Bachmann suggested activists reframe the issue to concentrate on a way for Minnesotans to exercise their right to vote, as opposed to a moral issue, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Opponents of the amendment in North Carolina say it would harm families of all unmarried couples, putting their children at risk of losing rights, because of the language of the amendment. If adopted it would read, “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”

All of the Republican presidential candidates have come out in favor of a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, except Ron Paul. Paul advocates for allowing states to define marriage individually.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Villaraigosa Pick Shows Importance of Latinos in Election

Jerod Harris/Getty Images for BGR(LOS ANGELES) -- If ever there was a sign of how crucial the Latino vote will be in the upcoming presidential election, look no further than the fact that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been tapped as the chairman of the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

An estimated 12.2 million Latinos will vote in the election, according to projections from the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, a 26-percent increase from 2008. They are the nation’s fastest-growing voting bloc.

“I will be reaching out to Latino voters,” Villaraigosa said on a conference call Wednesday. “There’s a benefit to being bilingual.”

Latinos tend to side with Democrats. They backed Obama by a 2-1 margin in 2008, but Obama has failed to enact comprehensive immigration reforms in his three years as president despite promising to do so during the campaign. Coupled with the nation’s economic struggles, that could be enough for some Latinos to side with Republicans this fall. It will come as comfort to the White House, though, that in recent polls Obama has maintained huge leads among Latino voters.

To date Villaraigosa has been a trusted surrogate for Obama, ripping into his possible Republican rivals in the past few weeks. In an appearance on CNN late last month, Villaraigosa claimed that the GOP candidates have veered so far to the right in an effort to secure their party’s nomination that in the process they have alienated Latinos.

“When it comes to policies and actions, it’s the president who has helped to create 2 million jobs that Latinos have right now, 6 million overall with the Recovery Act, so it’s not just immigration,” Villaraigosa said. “I would agree with respect to rhetoric, however, that some of that divisive polarizing rhetoric that you see and hear in the Republican debates are turning off a lot of voters, including a lot of Latino voters.”

According to a poll released last month by ABC News and Univision, registered Latino voters nationwide would back Obama over GOP front-runner Mitt Romney 67 percent to 25 percent. At a speech last Wednesday in Washington, Villaraigosa ripped Romney as “a presidential candidate who has abandoned immigration reform and instead advocates self-deportation.”

The DNC is planning to release a video from Villaraigosa in Spanish, although it has yet to be posted on their website.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Los Angeles Mayor Slams Mitt Romney on Immigration

Los Angeles Mayor Slams Mitt Romney on Immigration(WASHINGTON) -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa pounced on Mitt Romney’s immigration stance Wednesday night before a crowd of Washington, D.C., lawmakers and officials honoring the mayor for his public service.

“For the first time in modern memory, a major political party is poised to nominate a presidential candidate who has abandoned immigration reform and instead advocates self-deportation,” he said.

Villaraigosa, who was presented with the 2012 Edward R. Roybal Award for Outstanding Public Service by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, didn’t mention Romney by name, but called out the GOP front-runner for rejecting past bipartisan efforts on immigration reform.

“Democrats and Republicans have recognized that our immigration system is broken and that it needs to be fixed.  Now they haven’t always agreed on the route but they’ve agreed on the destination," the mayor said.  “Unfortunately, now the likely Republican nominee for president has clearly rejected this rough consensus.”

As immigration reform continues to be a hot-button issue on and off the campaign trail, Villaraigosa reminded the crowd that the country was built by immigrants.

“We know that the reason we came here was because this was the place that embraced us.  This was the place that said, ‘If you work hard, and you play by the rules and believe in this great country, you will be rewarded.’  We love that America,” the California-born Democrat said.

Villaraigosa, 59, also used the stage to call for the passage of the DREAM Act and the payroll-tax cut.  While honored that he was awarded for his public service, he noted that there was still much work to do.

“We can’t let every proposal for a path to citizenship be drowned out by a knee-jerk chorus of opposition,” he said.  “We can’t be a country where ‘show me your papers’ is routinely heard on our sidewalks and in our streets.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio