District 35 —California State SenateNovember 8, 2016 —California General Election
California State SenateDistrict 35
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About this office
- I will keep our children engaged and focused on staying in school. I’ll do so by protecting local schools, expanding art and music programs and other extracurricular activities.
- Criminal justice reform: I will work to reduce high recidivism rates and eliminate the school to prison pipeline by investing in our education system and after-school programs, and expanding rehabilitative and vocational training for prisoners.
- I will work to expand job training by increasing access to vocational and career technical programs for students and returning veterans so that we can create more good paying jobs.
I grew up in Gardena, California. My mother– a nurse– instilled in me strong values of caring for others and giving back to the community. My father –who owned his own small business– taught me the importance of speaking up and out against injustices.
Because of my upbringing, I have learned to fight for diversity and equality in both the public and private sectors, from government and businesses, to education and the housing market, and much more. I believe deeply that women, disadvantaged folks, disabled veterans and everyone else in our state deserves an equal opportunity to reach the middle class and achieve the California Dream.
In the spirit of this mission, I made history when I became the first African American elected to the Gardena City Council. Over the 12 years that I served on the City Council, I presided over robust job and economic growth, along with a balanced budget for the city. When I was elected to the Council, the City of Gardena was on the brink of bankruptcy and I inherited the job to bring the city out of its $27 million in debt. There was no money in the bank and our employees had not been given raises in over seven years.
Throughout my tenure in local office, I worked tirelessly to turn the city around. By the time I left Gardena’s City Council, we had eliminated the debt, had $8.5 million in the bank, gave employees raises without raising taxes or cutting services, and secured millions of federal dollars for various improvement projects for North Gardena- something that had never happened prior to me being elected to the Council. I also helped to make the City of Gardena more responsive to the needs of its residents, while also making the city more inclusive and a better place for folks of all backgrounds to live.
In 2009, I decided to continue my dedication to advancing the cause of expanding the California Dream by running and successfully winning a seat in the California State Assembly. I was elected to the 51st Assembly District in a Special Election, reelected in 2010, and reelected again, but this time to the newly created 62nd District in 2012.
In the Assembly, I served as Chair of the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color. While there, I worked hard to correct the many institutional injustices that plague young Black, Latino, and Asian/Pacific Islander males in California.
As a result our progress on this issue, I had the pleasure of joining President Barack Obama at the White House last year for the launch of “My Brother’s Keeper,” a national initiative modeled after the work we have been doing in California for years.
In the State Legislature, I also dedicated my time to environmental justice as it relates to commerce. As Chair of the Committee on Utilities & Commerce, I authored legislation to promote renewable, clean energy and to protect and enhance local neighborhood security. I also spearheaded numerous pieces of legislation ranging from public safety and civil rights with AB 651 (Expungement) and AB 2634 (Civil Rights) to protecting the environment with AB 217 (Low-Income Solar).
Determined to address major issues like social and economic inequality and environmental protections, in the legislature, I supported a statewide increase in California’s minimum wage, helped the state rebound following the Great Recession, pushed for measures to grapple with California’s unprecedented drought crisis, expanded health insurance for our state’s residents, and pushed for common sense immigrant rights measures like drivers licenses for undocumented individuals, along with myriad other policies that have helped improve the quality of life for millions of Californians.
Prior to my service in local and state government, I worked as a public affairs manager for Southern California Edison for 12 years. I also spent seven years working for IBM as a marketing representative handling federal accounts. Additionally, I served as a Program Director for the Los Angeles Conservation Corp., where I established and managed over a hundred recycling accounts, worked with Tree People to plant hundreds of trees, worked on blue butterfly restoration at El Segundo Dunes and employed hundreds of young adults.
An avid supporter of conservation efforts, I served as the solid waste director for the City of Compton for two years where I established the city’s first curbside recycling program. I also served two years are the district director for the late Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald. At the age of 28, I was elected national director of Bigger and Better Business of my fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma, Inc, and was elected treasurer of LA branch of NAACP at age 27.
I’ve also coached both baseball and football for 16 years at Rowley Park in the City of Gardena where I grew up and served as president of the Holly Park Home Owners Association for four years.
I grew up Gardena and completed my K-12 education in its public schools. I attended Purche Ave Elementary, Henry Clay Jr. High, and Gardena High School. I earned my Bachelors of Arts in Political Science at California State University, Dominguez Hills and San Diego State University.
In my free time, you will often find me on the golf course. My love for the game led me to establish a junior golf program that introduced hundreds of kids to the game of golf. One of my favorite community events is the Gardena Jazz Festival, where I serve as the festival’s founder and chair. The festival has survived 13 years and has become one of the most popular events in the entire South Bay.
I hope you’ll join me in this journey so that I can continue working hard and getting things done for our community as your next California State Senator from the 35th District.
- California Democratic Party
- Congresswoman Janice Hahn
- California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom
- Senate President pro Tem Kevin de Leon
- Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon
- California Professional Firefighters
- California Labor Federation
- California Nurses Association
- Teamsters Joint Council 42
Climate changes and the continuing drought worry many in California. What new strategies do you believe would ensure that California is able to both satisfy its water needs and protect the environment? Please be specific.
California is facing a serious water crisis and the state needs to take immediate steps to ensure that all Californians have access to clean drinking water and that our agricultural sector has the ability to continue to sustain our population. In order to achieve these goals, we must create stricter conservation mandates and increase our use of greywater. Moreover, California must capitalize on whatever rainwater we can get. This means building sustainable infrastructure to capture and utilize rain water.
I also support the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. The Delta is pivotal to California’s water system and without a thriving Delta, the wellbeing of the State of California is in jeopardy. In office, I will work to develop legislation that protects and revitalizes our Delta.
What are your top three fiscal priorities, recognizing the need to balance the state’s income with its spending?
Our economy is finally on the rebound and while we must continue to maintain a balanced budget, now is the time to restore funding to public programs and social services that were cut during the recession. My goals are simple. I want to fight for economic, social and political justice for the hard-working men and women who are the backbone of our community. This includes supporting our firefighters and public safety officers so that they have the resources they need to keep our communities safe. I will invest in after-school and gang-prevention programs to reduce crime and keep kids in school and off the streets. At the same time, I will work to ensure that every hard-working California citizen is paid a fair wage, which is why I support and voted for the increase in the minimum wage to $15 in 2013. Maintaining a workforce that is treated fairly is essential for our communities to prosper, and recognizing and rewarding the efforts of all workers is crucial to sustaining a healthy economy. My vision for California also includes reforms to our education system. By investing in our local neighborhood public schools, we can reduce classroom sizes, hire more teachers, ensure that staff members are well-paid, and expand extracurricular programs that help our children thrive.
There are a variety of proposals to raise California's minimum wage. Many of these proposals face opposition from business groups who are concerned that they would kill jobs. Do you support increasing the minimum wage in California? In your answer please explain your position on the relationship between wages and jobs with specific reference to the situation in your district.
In my district, hard-working men and women struggle everyday to put food on the table and support their families. This is unacceptable. I support the recent minimum wage increase because I firmly believe that no individual who works full time should have to live in poverty and struggle to make ends meet. This statewide policy change will create a pathway to the middle class for thousands of California residents. Moreover, the new minimum wage bill signed by the Governor increases the minimum wage in small increments over several years, giving businesses ample amount of time to adjust to the new policy.
Many Californians are concerned about the influence of money in politics. What can the state legislature do to ensure that decision-making by elected officials is not swayed by moneyed interests at the expense of constituents?
I am not a career politician. Instead, I’m a public servant and a citizen activist who happens to have served in local and state government on behalf of my local community. Guided by this philosophy, I have spent my career being singularly focused on one objective– to represent my constituents to the best of my ability and to work tirelessly to get things done for families and local neighborhoods in our community. I have never been, nor will I ever be beholden to wealthy special interests. Thus, in office, I will support all efforts to repeal Citizens United and get money out of politics. Elected officials should work to improve the lives of those they represent and directly address the needs of their constituents. It’s time to put power back into the hands of the people and decrease the influence of big corporations and moneyed interests in politics.
Below are the top contributors that gave money to support the candidate(s).
Please see my positions on education, the environment, the economy, transportation, and public safety below.
As a society, education represents the ultimate investment in our future. Without it, we can’t and won’t have a strong or innovative economy nor will we continue to lead the world as a beacon of hope and opportunity. That’s why I firmly believe that ensuring that all Californians, regardless of who they are, where they come from or their socioeconomic status, ought to have the opportunity to receive a world-class education. In order to achieve this, we, as a state, must renew our commitment to investing in our future through education. That means more investments in local neighborhood schools so that we can reduce classroom sizes, hire more teachers, and increase the use of modern and cutting-edge technology inside the classroom. It also means expanding art and music programs and other extracurricular activities on and off campus, more funding for after-school programs to keep kids off the streets and out of gangs, as well as more vocational-related classes for students to prepare them for the working world. Beyond K-12 education, we should bolster access to early learning programs like Head Start and pre-Kindergarten to give our young children the best opportunities to success in school. And, when it comes to higher education, I believe that Community College ought to be free, and that our California State Universities and Universities of California should be more easily accessible for students of all backgrounds. They also ought to be more affordable and shouldn’t crush students with debt after they graduate. These are many of issues that I’ve worked on in the State Assembly and I plan to continue pursuing in the State Senate.
As a local and state elected leader, I have prioritized protecting and conserving our pristine and precious environment. That’s why the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) awarded me a lifetime legislative score of 92% as a result of my longtime support of a progressive environmental protection agenda. Policies like AB 217, that aims to expand environmental justice by providing incentives for low-income families to encourage them to use solar electricity; SB 1275 that created the Charge Ahead California Initiative and tasked the Air Resources Board to develop a long-term plan of putting one million zero-and near-zero emission cars on California’s streets while making sure that disadvantaged communities are aided in the transition; AB 1739 which regulates groundwater and conserves this most precious resource; AB 1417 California’s water bond; SB 1455 which provides funding for alternative and cleaner fuels; to so many other smart environmental protections have been at the center of my legislative career. Beyond my legislative record, I’ve worked to explore new opportunities for bringing clean energy into California. An example of this is when I visited Brazil to tour their ethanol and low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) plants and to learn about possible imports and regulations we can replicate in our state to incentivize more renewable energy consumption.
Despite all that California has accomplished when it comes to tough environmental policy — there is nonetheless much more we need to do to address climate change’s persistent challenges. Our world is at a major breakpoint, and with climate change, we’re witnessing an increase of extreme weather events and a complete transformation of our planet. Whether it’s addressing our unprecedented drought crisis, figuring out how to conserve more water while capturing rain water, further reducing the impacts of climate change, ending the state’s addition to fossil fuels and instead promoting a clean energy agenda, expanding green space, combatting pollution, protecting natural habitats for wildlife and more-- it’s vital that California continues to move forward with a pro-environment agenda. Last years SB 350, the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015, represented a key milestone for that agenda, and I was proud to enthusiastically support it. Still, there’s more work to be done, and I look forward to joining forces with State Senate leaders to take every step necessary to ensure we leave our children with a clean, wholesome, and sustainable environment for generations to come.
As the premier state economy in America, and the eighth largest economy in the world, California has been pioneering economic growth since it first joined the United States. Our state’s economy consistently rates above many countries, so I know California has the potential to experience unparalleled economic growth. As your State Senator, I will work tirelessly to ensure that California continues to remain an economic powerhouse. I’ll do this by advocating for more investments in job-training and workforce development, so that workers who don’t go to college can learn a skill or trade that helps to land them a good career path and ultimately a pathway into to middle class. Simultaneously, I’ll be a fierce fighter when it comes to keeping California economically competitive, especially when it comes to the 35th District’s and our state’s key industries like international trade, particularly at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, in entertainment, healthcare, biotech, technology, aerospace, defense, clean energy, services and so much more. An example of this brand of leadership can been seen through my work as a prominent supporter of California’s film tax credit. This law aims to curb runaway production and keep Southern California’s signature industry of entertainment and the tens of thousands of jobs it creates right here in the Golden state. Beyond industry, I’m a firm believer that California’s small businesses represent the backbone of our economy. We can and must work to keep these small business here in California, but also keep them successful and growing so they can continue to hire more workers. I also recognize that we can’t have a strong economy without the infrastructure in place to allow our economy thrive. That means modern transportation systems, more mass transit, safe roads and bridges, cutting-edge Ports, airports and transit hubs and more. I am committed to continuing to lead the charge on these issues as the 35th District’s next State Senator.
California’s transportation systems are getting better, but unfortunately the state still suffers from severe and seemingly-unrelenting traffic congestion. We must not rest and rather continually strive to repair, improve, and innovate to keep our transportation systems efficient, modern, and more effective. This means that California needs to continue investing in our roads and highways to ensure people can get to work, that businesses can transport goods and services, and that Californians can get to where they need to go in a more timely and efficient manner. I was proud to support L.A. County’s 2008 ballot Measure R which aims to invest millions into new, mass transit options, including subways and light-rail projects. While an improvement, it clearly wasn’t enough. I believe the state can and should play a role in increasing investments in these kinds of smart projects that can help people move more freely throughout our region and state. It’s good for business, for workers, and residents’ quality of life. Beyond addressing traffic and general transit, I believe we must continue supporting our great Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach so that the goods that keep our economy growing can continue to be transported to and from California businesses. Besides the actual infrastructure projects like rail and buses and more, we should prioritize increasing the availability and safety of bike lanes, and other transportation systems that help reduce the environmental impact of Californians’ daily commutes. In the Assembly, I authored AB 1371 which enhances bicycle safety by regulating vehicle passing distance from bicycles. With these kinds of safety measures in place, we should explore new opportunities to get people out of their cars and into more environmentally- friendly ways of transportation.
Public safety is a paramount issue for me. Without safe neighborhoods, businesses can’t operate or function properly, kids can go to school and families life in fear. That’s not sustainable and it’s why throughout my time in public office, I’ve been a strong ally with law enforcement to promote neighborhood security and keep local neighborhoods safe. As a member of the California legislature, I have supported myriad laws that aim to combat neighborhood crime and will continue to do so in the future. But the problems facing public safety extend far beyond simply arresting individuals. We need to do a better job of keeping our children off the streets and steering them away from a life of crime. Improving the economic situations of many poorer families and creating after-school programs that create wholesome communities for children are just some of the many ways I have dedicated myself to removing the causes of crime rather than simply waiting around to punish people who make mistakes. Furthermore, California needs to take steps to improve its criminal justice system by providing a path for lesser criminals to reform their lives and one day rejoin society as productive individuals. California’s prison systems are overcrowded and underfunded, and I do not believe that punishing minor crimes with exorbitant prison sentences is a true solution to any of our public safety concerns. Moreover, it represents an enormous cost to taxpayers. Instead, we ought to promote policies that help low-level, non-violence offenders get services that help them reintegrate into society, learn a skill and get a job. Studies show that doing so will put these people in a position less likely to offend and break the law again. Lastly, we can and must stop incarcerating the mentally ill and move these folks to mental healthcare facility so that they can get the treatment and humane services they need and deserve.
- The Economy
- The Environment
Warren Furutani has dedicated his life to the fight for equal opportunity, community empowerment, and economic growth.
As a civil rights activist, school counselor, college administrator, and member of the LA Community College Board, LA School Board, and State Assembly, Warren has built a legacy of service for communities in Los Angeles. Over the course of his career, he led the charge to provide millions of dollars for the construction of LA public schools and community colleges; he helped ban abuses in the public pension system; and he helped improve job training programs for young people.
Now Warren is a candidate in California’s 35th Senate District, which includes San Pedro, Wilmington, North and West Long Beach, Harbor City, the Harbor Gateway (where Warren lives), Carson and West Carson, Torrance, Gardena, Compton, Lawndale, Lennox, Inglewood and Hawthorne.
Furutani has lived in the district most of his life and has worked in the district for his entire political career. During his previous stints in elected office, he represented nearly two thirds of the area encompassed by the Senate District.
As a civil rights activist, Warren worked to establish admissions programs for students of color at colleges and universities throughout the United States. He helped many campuses establish ethnic studies programs and was instrumental in the creation of Asian American Studies programs at UCLA and California State University, Long Beach.
In the mid 1970's Warren worked as a counselor at the Central Continuation High School in Downtown Los Angeles. He later joined the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, where he developed programs to recruit, mentor and tutor student, as well as encourage them to be active in community service.
In 1987, Warren became the first Asian Pacific Islander American elected to the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education – the largest school district in California. In 1999, he was elected to the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) Board of Trustees – the largest community college district in the country. In both those positions, he brought parents, teachers, staff and the community together to develop “school based management” to improve schools. He was an early and strong advocate for the LAUSD and LACCD construction bonds, which directed millions of dollars into repairing and building new schools and remodeling and constructing new facilities on our community college campuses.
Warren subsequently served three terms in the California State Assembly. He chaired the Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security committee, where he introduced pension reform measures to end the abusive practices of pension spiking and double dipping. He also chaired the Select Committee on Career Technical Education and Workforce Development, where he focused on preparing students with the training they need for 21st century careers.
Warren's work in the Capitol included legislation related to career technical education, community colleges, clean air quality, and support for small businesses. He also successfully advocated for state resources to help rebuild the Gerald Desmond Bridge in the Port of Long Beach, which is expected to generate 4,000 jobs in the next five years.
Born in San Pedro and raised in Gardena, Warren is fourth-generation Japanese American. During World War II, Warren's grandparents and father were forced to leave their home in San Pedro and sent to a concentration camp in Rohror, Arkansas. Warren's mother and father met while in the camp, and his father was drafted into the military while still incarcerated. After the war, his parents married and returned to San Pedro to start their family.
Warren is a product of the Los Angeles public education system. He graduated from Gardena High School in 1965. He graduated from Antioch University with a liberal arts degree. He is married to Lisa Abe Furutani and they are the proud parents of two grown sons and one granddaughter.
Below are the top contributors that gave money to support the candidate(s).