I've announced my current run for governor of California on December 20. I've sent the media the poem below as my press release. I'm a former Los Angeles Poet Laureate. I also ran for governor in 2014’s primary elections, endorsed by the Green Party, the Justice Party, Mexican American Political Association, and others. I came in 6th out of 15 candidates, first among third-party and independent candidates, with some 67,000 votes on a shoe-string budget. This was when then-Governor Jerry Brown had amassed more than $20 million. Without election campaign reform, major elections have become a rich man’s playground.
We need new voices, more choices. This time I've made history by getting the endorsement of the state's Green and Peace & Freedom parties as well as the US Justice Party.
I’m a working writer, speaker, and poet, who once worked in Los Angeles-area mills and factories as well as in construction—I won’t accept corporate donations. This is going to be a grass-roots campaign. We plan to raise funds by asking at least a million Californians to give one dollar so we can finally have social, economic, and environmental justice.
Like in my last campaign, I'll address the economic disparities in the world’s 5th largest economy that also happens to have the highest poverty rate of any U.S. state. I will illuminate the huge gaps in a state with the country’s richest zip codes as well as the most unhoused residents; a state with the most climate friendly legislation, yet suffering from a multi-year drought, wildfires, and the most active fossil-fuel industries. I'll address the fact this is a state that purports to address the use of deadly force by militarized police against Blacks, Chicanos-Mexicans-Central Americans, and other poor Californians, yet continues to have an incarceration rate of 549 per 100,000 people (including prisons, jails, immigration detention, and juvenile justice facilities), locking up a higher percentage of its people than almost any other developed country.
All these issues persist even with a relatively popular governor, Gavin Newsom. This is because the problems are systemic. On top of this, Governor Gavin Newsom has failed to fully address housing. The current administration has failed labor, particularly low wage and agricultural workers who were betrayed when Governor Newsom vetoed a bill that would have given farmworkers the right to vote for a union with a mail-in ballot. This governor has failed to intervene to keep rural community hospitals open, such as the 106-bed Watsonville Community Hospital, with 620 employees and 200 physicians. It’s inexcusable that 4,011,960 Californians—including 1,205,260 children— face hunger every day in a state with the largest “breadbasket” and a $77.5 billion budget surplus. Newsom talks about a rainy-day fund while 8,000,000 impoverished Californians are already drowning.
I will also support the candidacy of Crystal Sanchez, head of the Sacramento Union of the Homeless, for Lt. Governor. An impacted leader, Sanchez will stand forcefully for the poorest and most forgotten residents of California. This is not politics as usual. This will be politics of soul, of depth, of getting to the solutions, to paraphrase Henry Walden Thoreau, by getting to the roots, not just hacking at the branches.
For more information, to volunteer, and to donate, please go to www.luis4governor.org.
“Let’s Imagine a New California… Then Let’s Build It Together”:
Former Los Angeles Poet Laureate Luis J. Rodriguez
Announces his 2022 Run for Governor with a Poem
California, a marvelous state with every terrain possible.
California, with climates and natural environments unrivaled in the world.
And yet with poisoned and degraded landscapes, eco-systems scarring our land.
With wildfires and drought made worse by global heating.
A destabilized climate threatening conditions for life.
California, a wonderfully diverse state,
with a rich blend of cultures and peoples,
with wisdoms and talents,
from the Indigenous and around the world.
California, a land of plenty with massive industries,
and still there is widespread poverty, hunger, homelessness.
There’s vast wealth and power, concentrated
in the hands of the few,
while many of us barely subsist.
Our governance, our body politic, too often fails us.
hijacked by corporate and political entities
organized against the rest of us.
There’s a winner-take-all electoral process
that underrepresents our voices,
our hopes, our dreams.
We’ve been betrayed by an economic system
that prioritizes profit not people,
rewards greed instead of meeting human need.
It’s Time for a Change. Time for a New California.
My name is Luis J. Rodriguez.
I’m running for Governor.
I’m running on a politics of soul, of depth,
with solutions commensurate to the problems.
I’m for a state that puts people and the environment first.
With justice and sustainability as our guiding principles.
For quality education, housing, and health care for all.
For the respect and dignity of every worker.
With economic security and prosperity for everyone.
And all this while protecting and restoring our beautiful,
recalibrating technology in accord with nature,
our own natures, and the Divine.
The best political campaigns are about more than just elections.
They can also be about how to build vital social movements.
All of this is what my campaign is about. Please join me.
Let’s Imagine a New California…Then Let’s Build It Together.