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On a day when a President Trump news conference made all the news, up in San Francisco, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer gave a speech in San Francisco that is getting some attention.
That’s because if you didn’t know that Faulconer has announced, at least twice, that he’s not running for governor, as in not running for governor, you wouldn’t know it if all you heard was his speech Tuesday night.
As the only big city Republican mayor in the U.S, he’s already different and Faulconer’s speech was different than what Republicans might think a speech bv a Republican should sound like.
San Diego’s mayor outlined his vision for what he called the New California Republicans and the five things they need to do. Here are some excerpts directly from his speech---
New California Republicans must stand for freedom – freedom of thought, of religion, of sexual orientation
New California Republicans must stand with American immigrants but not ignore the issue of illegal immigration.
New California Republicans must stand for a healthy environment and it’s time to stop ignoring climate change
New California Republicans must get back to the fundamentals of government service — the things they are elected to do.
And New California Republicans must always fight for reform and be just as committed to upending the establishment when it no longer serves the public good
Most observers would say a speech like that doesn’t sound like a Republican or a guy who says he will not run for governor. *Read his entire speech below*
Here is text of Mayor Faulconer's speech to Commonwealth Club of San Francisco 8/15/2017:
It’s a pleasure to be here with you this evening to discuss the future of the California Republican Party.
People ask me all the time, “Isn’t it lonely being a Republican in California?”
Not for me. Carrying the unique distinction of being a big city Republican mayor in a deep blue state…Well, it seems like everyone wants to talk to me these days.
It’s been good for San Diego tourism. Folks can go the San Diego Zoo to see the endangered pandas and then visit San Diego City Hallto see one of the last California Republicans.
Tonight I’ve ventured outside my natural habitat to share with you a call to action. A message for each person in our state, whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat or an Independent.
It’s time to offer California a GOP with broad appeal again – because a vibrant, competitive Republican Party is good for our state.
California prides itself on being a place where innovation is born. It’s time for California Republicans to tap into that bold attitude – and modernize itself as a state party in step with the residents we want to represent. A party of new solutions. A party that fights for our middle class. A party that wins again.
Now, this won’t be easy with Washington shaking up the political world on a daily basis. But the California Republican Party shouldn’t be a carbon copy of the national GOP.
Each state is a unique laboratory of democracy, and California Republicans need to create a party tailored to the people of California. Republicans have just 38 representatives in the 120-seat California legislature, and currently hold no statewide offices.
Our party needs to act, and I believe the first step to moving forward is to lay out a new vision.
This comes as the people of California are in dire need of a change. The California Dream is alive and well. But the California Reality is on life support.
We have the highest poverty rate in the nation when you factor in the high cost of living. Households of color are nearly twice as likely to face extreme financial hardship. And two out of three Californians cannot afford a median priced home.
California is split between the few who are very wealthy, and the majority who are either struggling to stay in the middle class – or working their tails off to move into it.
Ladies and gentlemen, a divided California can never be a great California. Why is this happening to a state as magnificent as ours? The same reason every monopolistic enterprise eventually stagnates: lack of competition.
Without any real challengers for their seats, Democratic politicians have developed a strangle hold on our state that is choking the very people that they claim to protect. Their supermajority has turned Sacramento into a mini Washington, D.C., where serving the special interests of Big Labor and Big Business matters more than serving Californians.
The result is a state that is great at making bureaucracies bigger and billionaires richer, but not so good at looking out for the middle class. Our elected officials ought to be taking action to address the very real problems facing millions of their constituents.
Instead, Sacramento’s one-sided majority just passed a regressive gas tax, forcing higher fuel,food and commodity costs upon California’s working families. Their solutions to the problem are the problem.
You know that California is in desperate need of real fiscal and political restraint when the strongest counter balance to Sacramento Democrats is Governor Jerry Brown.
My fellow Californians, there must be another way. A better way. And I’m convinced there is. A new approach, with a party that moves beyond the echo chambers of Sacramento and D.C., and works for the average Californian.
I am calling on my fellow Republicans to join together to re-forge a California Republican Party that is focused first and foremost on fixing California. A party unique to our state that can break up the Democrat empire presiding over Sacramento.
A party that is representative, realistic and responsible. Representative of the people of California. Realistic about the challenges facing our state. And responsibly offering honest solutions to lead our state forward.
This is a vision for a New California Republican Party. And I’d like to share five ways we can stand for these values — and move our state forward.
First, we New California Republicans must stand for freedom – freedom of thought, of religion,of sexual orientation. Not only is individual liberty part of California’s heritage, it’s a classic conservative principle — one that Republicans have watered down to our own detriment.
People have stopped seeing the GOP as the party of freedom. They see it as the party of “no.” New California Republicans must return to being the leaders who let you find your calling, run your business, live your life, and speak your mind – even on college campuses.
We stand for inclusion. The Democratic Party has organized itself around the proposition that an individual’s most defining qualities are gender, sexuality and race. That’s a party based on differences.
New California Republicans must build a party joined together by common ideas. One that shows we add up to a state that is greater than the sum of its individuals. A party of people connected not just by who we are, but by what we believe.
Today’s Democratic Party often treats people as symbols. New California Republicans must treat people as fellow Californians.For example, when the Republican Party only acknowledges women on so-called “women issues” like healthcare and family, they are shutting off meaningful conversation with half the population.
Women aren’t “issues” to be checked off a list — they are our peers, our professors, our doctors,our CEOs and our mentors. And they often have to work harder than men for the respect they deserve. The perspectives women bring and challenges women face must be a part of every single issue New California Republicans take on.
It’s not just women. One of our biggest failures is that Republicans do not communicate our shared values to underrepresented communities. We must welcome with open arms Latinos, African Americans, Asian Americans, Muslims,Christians, Jews and members of the LGBTQ community.
We must demonstrate that their priorities are our priorities. In San Diego – which has a smaller percentage of Republican voters than the State of California — we put this to the test. I brought my message to everyone, regardless of ethnicity, zip code or language.
Facing a Hispanic candidate in a city where just 25 percent of voters are registered Republican, I won more than 57 percent of the total vote — and close to 40 percent of the Latino vote. Let that sink in: 4 out of 10 Latinos voted for a Republican. Why? Because I campaigned in communities Republicans wrote off as lost – and Democrats took for granted.
My first campaign ad was in Spanish. Looking back, poor Spanish, but Spanish nonetheless. Not only did I talk about solutions, I listened to people’s concerns.
I put my campaign office in Southeastern San Diego, a largely African American community. When we opened our doors for the first time, an elderly African-American man came up to me. He told me that he had never seen a Republican candidate in his neighborhood before. I told him it was my job to change that.
By the time Election Day arrived, many people didn’t even know me as the Republican candidate. They knew me as Kevin. And I became the first mayor in San Diego history to hold my inauguration in that man’s neighborhood.
Tonight I’m not here to offer suggestions about what we ought to do. I’m here to tell Republicans what we’ve already done in San Diego — because it works. When we speak with voters in their language — and on their turf — we will win.African Americans, Asian Americans and Latinos aren’t born Democrats.
We all choose the party we believe will best represent us. When people don’t see our party as an option, that’s our fault. It’s on us to fix it. As more struggling Californians are looking for change, I want to make sure they find an open door at the California Republican Party.
Second, New California Republicans must stand with American immigrants. I love welcoming the crowds that gather at San Diego City Hall to become naturalized U.S.citizens.
Hundreds of people pack a theater floor as their families cheer them on from the balconies. I see the smiles on their faces, and hear the pride and passion in their voices. They can’t wait to become citizens of our great nation. They enter as strangers from all corners of the globe. They leave as fellow Americans, united in their love for our country.Few understand the privilege of voting more.
If Republicans did a better job of inviting these new Americans to join the party of freedom, inclusion and individual liberty, I wouldn’t need to give this speech. But these are not the messages today’s GOP sends to our immigrant communities. New Republicans must welcome legal immigrants — and encourage them to join our society as American citizens.
Let me be clear: we cannot ignore the issue of illegal immigration. Doing so would mean ignoring those immigrants who follow our nation’s laws. We must push for efficient ports of entry and get smarter about border security.
At the same time, we Republicans must be more vocal about the economic and cultural contributions immigrants make to California. Immigrants from around the globe help define who we are. I want every new citizen to know that they are as American as I am. And I want every new American to find a welcoming home in my party.
When it comes to our friends in Mexico, let’s treat them not as foreigners, but as neighbors and economic partners. I view our relationship with Mexico as a strength. A competitive advantage. San Diego and our next-door neighbor, Tijuana, are more than two cities – we are one mega-region moving forward together.
For example, San Diego and Tijuana make up the largest medical device manufacturing hub on earth. If you have a pacemaker, odds are that you’re walking around with parts produced in Tijuana and constructed with U.S.-made machinery — made by workers on both sides of the border. New California Republicans recognize our proximity to the border makes our state stronger.
Not only do we share economic ties with Mexico, we share the same natural resources — which brings me to my third point.
New California Republicans must stand for a healthy environment. Just as clean skies and clean water are in California’s DNA, it must also be in the DNA of our revitalized party. News flash: Republicans care about our environment too. I’ve been making this controversial statement for years and haven’t been struck by lightning yet.
We want clean parks for our families, clean water for our communities, and clean air foreveryone. The environment shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Republicans are the party of Teddy Roosevelt, the father of American conservation, who recognized our obligation to protect our natural resources.
In the words of our 26th President, “Conservation is a great moral issue, for it involves thepatriotic duty of ensuring the safety and continuance of the nation.”
It’s time for today’s California Republicans to stop ignoring climate change. If we opt out of the conversation, we’re only going to get extreme one-party solutions. We should be proud to offer our own plans to preserve our environment — plans that don’t plunderthe middle class.
It’s why as Mayor I brought Republicans, Democrats, businesses and environmentalists together to agree on a common-sense climate action plan. San Diego is now on a path to slash greenhouse gases in half and shift to 100 percent renewable energy — without a tax increase. We’re doing it by investing in things like transportation and infrastructure, the building blocks of our communities.
That’s because New California Republicans must stand for being brilliant at the basics. It’s the fourth part of our vision, and one that we desperately need. It’s time to demand our State leaders focus on running California rather than chasing the latest soundbite out of Washington, D.C. Sacramento Democrats are suffering from what I like to call “outrage FOMO” – a fear of missing out on the latest controversy that will allow them to score political points on social media and TV.
It seems that each day they serve up a new pie-in-the-sky ideological pronouncement — not to solve the everyday problems facing Californians, but to offer their base a partisan sugar high. New Republicans must get back to the fundamentals of government service — the things we are elected to do.
One of our state’s most basic jobs is infrastructure. So it’s stunning that my Democratic friends in Sacramento are so bad at repairing and maintaining our roads, waterways and public amenities. As Fresno farmers know, our current water system lets our future literally wash down the drain and out into the Pacific.
And the fact that 50 percent of California’s roadways are in poor condition is an absolute failure. We have the nation’s second highest gas tax but some of the worst roads, with no guarantees that the taxes we pay at the pump will actually go toward fixing the problem. There’s a better way.
In San Diego, we are conserving water and employing new technologies. Our landmark water recycling project will generate a third of the region’s water supply by 2035.
And while Sacramento was busy passing a new gas tax to fund the basic repairs we’ve already paid taxes for, I signed a balanced 2018 city budget to triple annual road repair funding and increase San Diego’s infrastructure investments to the highest levels in a decade — without raising taxes.
You see, the most important step to being brilliant at the basics is being honest about where our tax dollars are going.
Which brings me to our last point: New California Republicans must always fight for reform. From the startup garages of Silicon Valley to the biotech labs of La Jolla, Californians make a living by disrupting the established order. It’s why the world looks to us for change.
Our elected leaders should be just as committed to upending the establishment when it no longer serves the public good. But too often Sacramento politicians are unwilling to say “no” to entrenched special interests — at our expense.
California ranks in the bottom 20 percent of K-12 schools nationwide. Yet Democrats continue to side with unions against meaningful changes to improve student achievement. California falls dead-last in housing affordability in the continental United States. Yet Democrats are blocking revisions to housing rules that were designed to protect the environment but that labor has hijacked for its own gain.
California was rated the worst state for business — 50 out of 50 — for its levels of red tape and taxation. And yet lawmakers keep layering regulation on top of regulation until budding entrepreneurs are crushed, and only the biggest businesses survive.
This is what you get when elected officials spend more time with lobbyists than with their own constituents. The middle class doesn’t have lobbyists who grant them exclusive access to power .But special interests do, and they have the profits to prove it – while our small businesses,housing and schools suffer.
But the biggest problem comes from Big Labor, which has devised a pension crisis that is silently looming over California. It menaces our very ability to provide basic government services. We are looking down the barrel of 175 billion dollars in pension debt. This is a colossal amount. It’s so big, it’s actually on the verge of eclipsing the State’s annual budget.
Our taxes are going up because Sacramento has promised government union bosses we’d pay those billions.They are writing checks the state can’t cash — and taxpayers cannot afford.And the sinkhole is getting bigger. Pension costs over the last decade grew twice as fast as tax revenues.
When it comes to California’s pension crisis, winter is coming. And when it does, it will decimate our schools, our universities, law enforcement, and the social services on which Californians rely.
But there is hope. It’s not too late to turn things around.I know this because San Diego was nearly sunk by the same type of pension tsunami Sacramento is ignoring.I was elected to fix it, and worked for years to transform San Diego from a city on the verge of bankruptcy to a nationwide success story.
I helped lead a broad coalition to end San Diego’s pension system and replace it with a fair and affordable 401-k-style benefit for most new workers — no better and no worse than what taxpayers footing the bill receive.
It’s a matter of fairness. Not only is it unfair to make residents shoulder government employee benefits that vastly exceed their own, it’s unfair to the workers. It would be wrong if your employer promised you retirement benefits it couldn’t deliver.
But that’s exactly what politicians have done to government employees. In a city where less than one-third are registered as Republican, an overwhelming two-thirds of San Diego voters approved pension reform. Voters understood that every dollar thrown into the pension black hole was a dollar not available to pave roads, build fire stations, keep libraries open, fix sidewalks in neglected neighborhoods,or put more cops on the beat.
I call it “The Great Pension Crowd Out”: government benefits so bloated that they suck all the oxygen out of the budget, leaving our schools, streets and social services gasping for air.
Now it’s Sacramento’s turn to face the music.The toxic alliance between Democrats, union bosses and their lobbyists must be broken .We only have three options: keep raising taxes, cut services, or reform.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for reform. Reform doesn’t have to be a partisan issue. It’s an instrument that should be wielded by the Right and the Left. But the Democrats in charge have rejected it, choosing instead to become the party of the broken status quo, and leaving California Republicans the opportunity to be the party of change.
I’ll say that again: California Republicans can be — must be — the party of change. We have to earn that label. Let me be clear: we can no longer accept a Sacramento where Democrats advocate for one interest group and Republicans advocate for another; where politicians play on different teams in the same deceitful game.
I’m not calling for a reshuffling of alliances. I’m calling for Republicans to take on all special interests, including Big Business, when they put their interests ahead of the public good. No matter what form an injustice takes, we must be willing to stand up on behalf of the people.
What we have done in San Diego gives me hope for California, and I am convinced the day will come when taxpayers across our state will demand action.
Economic inequality; troubled schools; sky-high housing costs; failing infrastructure; and crippling pension debt. All of this is happening on the Democrats’ watch.
These problems have been allowed to fester while Sacramento pursues the kind of political fantasies that grip a party when it gains complete and total control. It now falls to California Republicans to rise to the challenge and clean up Sacramento.
Ladies and gentlemen, what I am proposing tonight is a party that never again hears, “I haven’t seen a Republican in this neighborhood before.”
A party that is proudly built on the conservative principles that once led our state to prosperity. A party that is representative, realistic and responsible.
Representative of the people of California – by building a party connected not just by who we are,but by what we believe.
Realistic about the challenges facing the middle class and our state – like school reform, housing,climate change and infrastructure repair.
And offers responsible solutions – by standing up to entrenched special interests and bringing honest reform to Sacramento.
Our state must be run by people who want to fix problems, not hide them.
And when California is no longer gripped by a partisan monopoly, Californians will reap the benefits of new ideas to solve our biggest challenges. I want a new Republican Party that can win across the state again. And I want a Sacramento that works for Californians again.
My hope is that in ten years, when San Francisco’s Republican Mayor is standing before you, she isn’t talking about how California Republicans are endangered, but rather how we are ushering in a government that is uniting our people and looking out for the middle class.
It’s a long road ahead, and laying out this new vision is a first step. Mine is just one voice of a mayor who loves this state; we will need more voices in 2018 and beyond. But if California Republicans stand for these ideals, California’s voters will stand with them.
Let me conclude by saying that we can only do this if we commit to listening to all of our constituents; learning from them; and acting on their behalf.
The most powerful ideas often don’t originate from behind a podium. They grow organically in our communities.California’s greatness does not come from capitol buildings or the politicians who occupy them.It comes from the people. And the party that carries the voice of the people will carry our state forward.