Speaker John A. Pérez is the Building Trades' Clear Choice for State Controller

Robbie Column

May 2014 - Last year in this space I told of a "Tale of Two States," how Michigan workers have paid a horrible price for allowing anti-worker Republicans to capture their government, while Californians have elected good pro-worker leaders, and as a result, we are making great progress.

In California, the Building Trades unions  have become powerful political players, ensuring that our members' voices are heard. As a result, we have helped elect great leaders like Assembly Speaker John Pérez. He has truly dedicated his entire life to fighting for a better quality of life for working people. He is now running for the office of Controller, and he is the clear choice of the State Building Trades to hold that office.

John A. Pérez is concluding an incredibly productive six years in the State Assembly, including the last five as Speaker. That is only the latest chapter in his long history of efforts and accomplishments on behalf of working people, and we need to make sure it isn't the last.

The State Controller is the state's chief fiscal officer. The Controller oversees the spending of state dollars, sits on dozens of boards and commissions that make decisions about that spending, and has the power to audit expenditures of state agencies and departments. Building Trades workers should vote for the candidate who will best use those powers to most improve our lives by building the economy and putting us to work.

There are six candidates on the June 3 primary ballot for Controller, and the top two vote-getters who advance to a November runoff will likely be from among three: a Republican Mayor, a Democratic Board of Equalization member, and Speaker John A. Pérez, also a Democrat.

For working families, Pérez is clearly the best of the group, as his 100 percent voting rating from the California Labor Federation attests.

John's work to improve the quality of life for working families began long before he was elected to the Assembly. He had a long history advocating for workers with the Painters Union of the Building Trades, the United Food and Commercial Workers, and the California Labor Federation. He was elected to the Assembly in 2008 and elected Speaker just one year later.

When he became Speaker he spoke of the hard struggles of working families mired in a terrible recession. "These families must be our priority!" he declared. "We need to focus on strategies that promote high-paying, high-skilled jobs that restore the essential middle class."

Speaker Pérez lived up to those lofty words. He stepped up and fought for California's Building Trades workers to keep cities and counties free to consider whether to enter Project Labor Agreements for public works construction projects. He ended the boondoggle and business fraud that was called the enterprise zone.

He fought successfully to increase California's minimum wage. He put forward a plan for middle-class scholarships to make a good education accessible and affordable for all working families.

John was rock-solid for the Building Trades on the fight for a High Speed Rail system for California. In the face of loud, relentless opposition and incredibly negative news coverage, he never wavered, and delivered every Democratic vote in the  Assembly.

He stood with us throughout 2013, always helping us fight successfully for an even more ambitious agenda in the Legislature to ensure fair wages and benefits and safe and healthy working conditions for construction workers.

Speaker Pérez inherited a leadership role in a dysfunctional Legislature that was paralyzed, crippled by massive deficits, and incapable of passing an on-time, balanced budget. Under his leadership, the Assembly has passed three straight balanced budgets on time. Now we have a surplus, the state is investing in public works again, and construction jobs are finally returning. John is among the leaders who have made that happen.

John A. Pérez has been a great labor activist, legislator, and Assembly Speaker. On June 3, let's make sure he continues to serve California as a great State Controller.

He has earned your support, and he has earned our support.

 

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