Hi, I’m Gayle McLaughlin, I’m the former two-term mayor of Richmond, California and a corporate free candidate for lieutenant governor of California.

With the primaries just around the corner, I want to talk with you about an issue that keeps me and so many Californians up at night. Housing.

There are few things that matter more than having a roof over our heads. It’s right up there with having enough food to eat and having safe water to drink. Yet in 21st century America and especially in our great state of California – which is now the fifth largest economy in the world – housing is becoming a nightmare.

California is losing our working families, our young people, our seniors, our artists. Everyday people are being priced out of our cities because they can’t afford the skyrocketing rents. Our great state is losing the people who make it great.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Yet establishment politicians keep telling us, “Landlords can charge whatever the market will bear.” They say, “You can’t tell people how much they can charge for rent or how much a housing developer can charge for his units! This is America!”

Well, I say we can fix this problem BECAUSE this is America. Because this is California. This land was built on a dream, but our dreams aren’t achievable if we are struggling simply to stay where we belong. Working people deserve the right to rent affordable homes. We deserve it more than developers and landlords deserve windfall profits.

The time for hands-off laissez-faire “let the market do its thing” thinking is over when it comes to housing. We’ve been there done that. California, it didn’t work. But today there is a powerful renters movement comprised of working families, students, retirees, neighbors, and friends, taking hold across the state and I am the only candidate for lieutenant governor who stands 100% united with renters demanding affordable housing for all!

So, how are we going to do it? Well, we’re going to roll up our sleeves and make a few big changes to housing policy. As Lieutenant Governor, I promise to use every ounce of influence I have to level the playing field for renters in two important ways:

One, by expanding rent protections throughout our cities and, two, by building more affordable housing.

Let’s start with rent protections. The fact is most cities in California don’t have rent control. But other cities HAVE passed rent control ordinances. However, even in those cities with rent control there’s a big problem. It’s called the Costa Hawkins Act. Costa Hawkins, which passed in 1995, puts restrictions on the housing units subject to rent control. This includes – preposterously – any structure that was built after 1995 or after a city’s rent control ordinance went into effect. For cities like San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles – which passed rent control in the late 70s and early 80s – it means any building built in the last four decades is exempt from rent control.

We need to repeal this law and that’s just what we’re going to do.

Nearly 600,000 signatures for a ballot measure to repeal Costa Hawkins were turned in last month. People that signed these petitions – and so many more Californians understand that we’re at a crucial moment that can shift the tide for renters.

Repealing this unjust Costa Hawkins Act will put protections in place for all renters in our rent-controlled cities and, on top of that, we absolutely need to establish rent control laws in towns and cities that have yet to implement such laws.

Now, I’m not naive. I’m highly aware of the steep challenges cities face when they try to pass rent control. But we passed the law in Richmond. The Richmond City Council voted to establish rent control in 2015 making us the first California city in 30 years to do so. And when we did the realtor industry came after us with a vengeance, forcing the City Council to repeal the ordinance and put it on the ballot.

Well, we held strong and Richmond residents voted overwhelmingly to establish rent control in 2016. Was it easy? Nope? But each city that passes rent control gives encouragement to other cities. People are feeling encouraged by Richmond’s leadership.

Today, more communities are fighting to keep the dream of an affordable California in their towns and cities. They are fighting in Santa Ana, in Long Beach, in Glendale, in Inglewood, and in Pasadena. They are fighting because they know they can win.

But rent control isn’t enough.

Another major focus for me as Lieutenant Governor will be to build more truly affordable housing.

I intend to do what previous state officials haven’t had the courage to do – stand up to developers, devise incentives, and demand that more of our state’s new housing be built below market rate.

Right now too many units are not being built for our struggling working families. They’re not for that neighbor you saw loading up a u-haul yesterday. They’re not for the parents working two, three, sometimes four jobs to cover preschool and medical costs. No, those new units are more and more being built for an exclusive group of people who can afford them.

I am pleased to endorse the new San Francisco Community Housing Act. This act will fund municipal housing with a progressive parcel tax, exempting owner-occupied homes making less than the median income. The homes will be permanently owned and maintained by the city and will be overseen by a community council of tenants elected by tenants. This is the type of affordable housing measure we need to see statewide!

Californians, we are at a crossroads. We can stand by and watch as the housing crisis becomes more of a nightmare. We can shrug our shoulders and simply pay sometimes up to 60 and 70 percent of our income in rent forgoing other necessities we can simply watch as the extreme inequality in our state widens and opportunities for all but the most fortunate among us shrink, or we can act.

We can say we’ve had enough of real estate developers ruling the day. We’ve had enough of landlords being able to jack up rents without restrictions. We’ve had enough of establishment officials being funded by real estate lobbyists.

A renters movement has begun and we’re not turning back! As your Lieutenant Governor, I promise to fight every day to push the renters’ movement forward and to stand up for the right of every Californian to an affordable home.

I promise this because I love this state and all its people. I hope you’ll join my campaign and tell everyone you know who loves California to come out and vote in the primary on June 5th.

Thank you very much.