Voter GuideLieutenant Governor
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Lieutenant Governor

The State of California is seeking a second-in-command to the governor who does not mind light duties and generally staying out of the way.

Qualifications:

  • Flexible schedule: Should be available to step in as acting governor when the governor leaves the state — though as a caretaker. Any major actions can be reversed upon the governor’s return.
  • Broad interests: Responsibilities include voting on the boards of California’s three public higher education systems; serving on the commission that oversees millions of acres of state-owned land and waterways; and leading the advisory Commission For Economic Development, which does not currently have a quorum of appointees necessary to meet.
  • Special skills: As president of the state Senate, presides over the chamber and breaks any tied votes, though this never happens now that Democrats hold a supermajority. Sets the election date if there’s a successful gubernatorial recall petition.

Compensation

$163,917 annual salary, plus not entirely unrealistic dreams of becoming the next Gray Davis or Gavin Newsom.

About the hiring process:

This typically quiet race is even quieter than usual this year. Democrat Eleni Kounalakis won an intraparty battle in 2018, with millions of dollars in help from her father, Sacramento real estate developer Angelo Tsakopoulos. She’s made few headlines since, apart from becoming the first woman in California to sign a bill into law, while Gov. Gavin Newsom was on spring break with his family.

After winning nearly 53% of the vote in the June primary, Kounalakis has a clear path to victory over Republican Angela Underwood Jacobs for a second and final term. But she’ll need to make more noise over the next four years if she still has her eye on the governor’s office next.

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Here’s where Angela Underwood Jacobs and Eleni Kounalakis, applicants for lieutenant governor, stand on some of the biggest questions facing California. 

Key Topics
Where Candidates Stand on the Issues
Higher education
Environment
Economy
Housing/homelessness
Miscellaneous

While California boasts the best and biggest public university systems in the nation, they’re in turmoil. The University of California is facing a student housing crunch at the same time it is under intense pressure to increase the number of in-state students. UC Berkeley needed intervention by lawmakers to avoid an enrollment cap. Meanwhile, the California State University just had its chancellor forced out and is struggling to improve access, including enough student housing. The lieutenant governor is on the boards of both the UC and CSU systems.   

Should the proportion of out-of-state students at the University of California (18% of undergraduates) be lower? Do you support paying the UC to enroll fewer out-of-state students?
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Angela Underwood Jacobs

California’s colleges and universities should primarily serve California residents. The UC system needs to reduce its staggering administrative expenses and focus on education. Here’s an example: administrative spending comprised just 26% of total spending by American colleges in 1980-1981, while instructional spending comprised 41%. Three decades later, the two categories were almost even. Ten executives in the UC’s Office of the President whose salaries were analyzed by a state audit made a total of $3.7 million in FY2014 – $700,000 more than the combined salaries of their highest-paid state employee counterparts.

How would you keep Cal State campuses accessible to residents, since nearly every campus has programs with more qualified applicants than space?
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Angela Underwood Jacobs

California’s colleges and universities were always intended to primarily serve California’s children and provide access to the American Dream for the Golden State’s kids. I believe we need to get back to that as a primary function of our higher education system. The most direct way to do that is rein in out-of-control administrative expenses.

California is stuck in a drought, with few signs the emergency will improve any time soon — or that voluntary measures will be enough. The state is also struggling to reach its goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while also advancing environmental justice for communities with dirty air and water. The lieutenant governor serves on the state Lands Commission, the California Ocean Protection Council and the California Coastal Commission. 

Do you support efforts to phase out oil drilling in California, including by shutting down offshore rigs in coastal state waters?
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Angela Underwood Jacobs

California’s coastline is a precious resource. I would not support new offshore drilling and would support a phase-out of offshore drilling entirely.

Should the state issue a mandatory water conservation order as drought persists?
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Angela Underwood Jacobs

I believe that local governments, like cities and counties, are best equipped to understand the regional challenges presented by California’s water crisis.

Even though the economy is rebounding from COVID, California still has the nation’s highest jobless rate and hasn’t recovered all the jobs lost. Experts say the pandemic widened the gap between California’s rich and poor in some ways, despite unprecedented direct relief. The lieutenant governor is chairperson of the California Commission for Economic Development.   

Do you support a further increase in the state minimum wage?
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Angela Underwood Jacobs

California has the nation’s highest minimum wage. I do not support a further increase at this time.

Is state government doing enough to address the growing divide between the haves and the have-nots? Do you support a guaranteed, basic income?
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Angela Underwood Jacobs

No, Sacramento’s policies are creating increased inequality in California. Job-killing policies, over-regulation, and anti-business attitudes have created a situation where the divide between rich coastal elites and struggling working families is at a crisis. I am running to bring back a strong middle class in California, where families can thrive and cost-of-living is lower.

California’s affordable housing crisis only deepened during the pandemic, as average home prices surged even further out of reach for many families. Homelessness likely worsened as well, prompting Gov. Newsom to propose forcing more homeless and mentally ill people into treatment. The Legislature twice extended a statewide eviction moratorium, but the final protections for renters ended on March 31. Lawmakers also tried to pump up housing supply by allowing duplexes on single-family lots, but cities are pushing back. Some also say the California Environmental Quality Act is stopping housing production.  

How should California increase the production of affordable housing?
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Angela Underwood Jacobs

California should encourage the creation of affordable housing throughout the state. This should be done by reducing red tape and unnecessary regulatory hurdles.

Do you support the governor’s proposed CARE Court, which would compel some homeless and mentally ill people into treatment?
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Angela Underwood Jacobs

Yes, we should be doing everything we can to provide help to the mentally ill and homeless who so desperately need it.

California’s Democratic leaders positioned the state as a sanctuary for people seeking abortions in advance of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade. Hate crimes against Asian Americans jumped during the pandemic, with reported incidents doubling in 2020. And Native American tribes and national betting giants are gearing up for a high-stakes ballot measure fight over online sports gambling, which could also have a significant impact on state tax revenues.

Should California become a “sanctuary state” for abortion rights?
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Angela Underwood Jacobs

With so many Californians struggling every day, I do not believe that our tax dollars should go to provide medical care to residents of other states.

Do you support the ballot measure allowing online sports betting, including by FanDuel and DraftKings? Do you support the proposition legalizing sports betting at tribal casinos?
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Angela Underwood Jacobs

I will always support the will of the voters; we are fortunate to have avenues for direct democracy in California, including the ability to vote directly for ballot measures and make our voices heard.

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