Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce Remarks – January 31, 2019

Image of Lt. Governor Kounalakis speaking

JANUARY 31, 2019

Ladies and gentlemen what an honor to join you tonight – and to be with so many of our state’s business leaders, civic leaders and of course the Los Angeles Chamber of commerce board of directors.

I’d like to add my congratulations to this evening’s awardees: ACCENTURE, Dr. PATRICK SOON-SHIONG and one of my personal heroes, MAGIC JOHNSON.

The people in this room who make up the membership of the LA chamber collectively employee 650,000 people. That’s incredible.

You are the best evidence that the Los Angeles Region is a powerful economic and industrial engine that drives the California economy.

As I stand before you, California is growing faster and outperforming the rest of the country in almost every sector.

We are #1 in manufacturing. #1 in agriculture, #1 in R&D and advanced technologies. #1 in foreign direct investment, #1 in capital access. We’re home to some of the world’s leading universities and we are the cradle of the digital era.

California also boasts the country’s largest port complex. 30 percent of U.S. exports and 40 percent of imports come through California ports. We produce one third of our country’s vegetables and two thirds of our fruits and nuts. 3.3 billion bananas make their way through the Hueneme port, not far from here. 3.3 billion bananas. That’s a lot of bananas.

Everyone now knows that California has landed at number 5 on the list of the world’s largest economies. First is the US, then China, Japan, Germany. California.

As your newly elected Lt. Governor, and as a businesswoman myself, I will work hard in Sacramento to support these trends and make sure economic development is a top priority. Government must work together with business – especially small and medium sized enterprises – to advance good public policies that strengthen communities and grow our economy.

To that end, I believe very strongly that we must invest more in public higher education – our CSU’s, UC’s and Community Colleges. Not just in funding but by being nimble and adaptable as we prepare our students to be the workforce of the future.

We must also build more housing for our hard-working families, tackle the challenges presented by our health care system and protect our environment by investing in renewable energy and supporting innovation in clean technologies to combat climate change.

California is the 5th largest economy in the world. That’s true. IF WE WERE A COUNTRY. But, of course, we are not a country. And if you said the word “yet” in your head, that is not where I’m going with this.

I raise this last point because I believe it is critical for all of us that Washington also recognize how important California – how important Los Angeles is – to our nation’s well-being.

When it comes to policies like taxation, immigration, trade agreements and health care, we must ensure that federal policies that impact our state are made carefully. As a net donor state, when California succeeds, the country succeeds. I know that this is an important part of the LA chamber’s work, and I vigorously applaud you for it. (Give yourself a round of applause!).

My friends, it is truly an honor to be with you tonight. Congratulations to all the honorees, and know that I’ll be right there with you, working hard to ensure that California’s future is better and stronger for all of our families and all of our children.

Thank you.