SAN DIEGO (CNS) - State Treasurer John Chiang used a visit to an East Village affordable housing site on Saturday to call for construction of more low- and moderate-priced housing as he began a four-day trip for his campaign for governor.
"To solve the affordable housing crisis we must stop digging, and start building,'' Chiang said at the project being built by the Affirmed Housing Group. "One of the greatest threats to our future is the inadequate supply of affordable housing to low- and moderate-income households.''
James Silverwood, CEO and president of Affirmed Housing Group, said it was "refreshing to have public servants taking a serious interest in affordable housing issues and homelessness.''
"It's a top issue in California and we welcome any leader willing to tackle this public policy head-on,'' Silverwood said.
California has the highest poverty rate when adjusted for the cost of living among the 50 states and is second when the District of Columbia is included, according to figures released by the Census Bureau.
Chiang began his day by meeting with Democratic Party activists, and is scheduled to continue his trip Sunday in Bakersfield.
He is among four Democrats who have announced their candidacies for governor, along with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin.
If elected, Chiang would be the state's first Asian-American governor.
Chiang was elected treasurer in 2014 after two terms as controller. He was first elected to the Board of Equalization in 1998. He began his career as a tax law specialist with the Internal Revenue Service and later was an attorney in the State Controller's Office.
The Republican announced candidates are Rancho Santa Fe venture capitalist John Cox and Assemblyman Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach.
Cox wrote Friday on the website Fox&Hounds, which discusses and explains the confluence of politics and business in the state, "California's ever- increasing wage requirements, overly stringent zoning and environmental regulations and high impact fees do more to hurt those least able to afford housing and rents.''
"Our housing problem will require innovative thinking and more than just budget subsidies or temporary regulation suspensions,'' Cox wrote. "California's housing affordability problem needs to be addressed holistically and collectively we need to heed this strong warning by this canary in our economic coal mine.''