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Governor hopefuls gather in MV

Candidates

The day when California voters will elect a new governor is more than a year away but the race is well underway for a large field of aspirants.

On Thursday morning, Mountain View's Computer History Museum played host to three of the Democratic candidates competing for the governor's seat. Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, state Treasurer John Chiang and former state Superintendent Delaine Eastin each gave a brief rundown of their campaign platforms before a packed audience of Silicon Valley's business elite.

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group's Game Changers 2018, a forum series, brought together tech leaders, entrepreneurs and politicians to discuss California's growing challenges.

For any of the gubernatorial candidates, it was an opportunity to win over some of the Bay Area's movers and shakers -- and maybe even some campaign donations.

For the most part, the candidates echoed similar themes to the crowd: investing in education, improving public infrastructure and greater economic fairness.

They also served some red meat to the business crowd. Chiang and Villaraigosa both took aim at CEQA, the state's longstanding environmental law, which has gained a reputation for being abused to undermine unpopular development. Both backed plan to reform the law.

"CEQA -- wherever I go, it's broken," Villaraigosa told the crowd. "I got a CEQA exemption for a football stadium (in Los Angeles). Why not for an affordable housing project?"

The business community deserved more input on regulations since they're the ones who regularly deal with the rules, Chiang said.

"If we're making rules that you all have to follow, then we ought to hear from you," he said."

Absent from the Thursday event was former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who currently leads most polling among Democratic candidates in the race.

The Democratic primary for the governor's race is scheduled for June 5, 2018.

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