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ASU hosts California leaders in nation’s capital


The ASU building in Washington DC

Arizona State University’s Barrett & O'Connor Washington Center. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

October 16, 2023

Arizona State University representatives at the university’s Barrett & O'Connor Washington Center recently met with the California Forward Action Fund (CA FWD Action Fund) and state leaders from California, including former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s team, state legislators and infrastructure stakeholders.

The group visited ASU on Sept. 27 as part of their Capitol Hill visit to advocate for California’s infrastructure regulatory priorities in response to the state’s infrastructure projects and trailer bills.

“We want to serve the communities in which we are based, and that is not just D.C. and Arizona, but Los Angeles, too,” said Dulce Vasquez, assistant vice president of strategic advancement in the Office of University Affairs at ASU’s Los Angeles location. “I want to make sure that, as you work toward growing your business and the economy of the region, you also understand how the university can be a partner and help advance those interests.”

Vasquez, who oversees ASU’s expansion in the Los Angeles community and is running for the California State Assembly, underscored her ongoing support for CA FWD — one of many partnerships nurtured by the ASU California Center since it opened its doors at the newly renovated historic Herald Examiner Building in October 2022.

David Nelson, executive director of the California Forward Action Fund, the advocacy arm of CA FWD, praised the support of the city of Los Angeles.

“You made a commitment to show up, and you stayed around, and I respect that,” Nelson said.

Villaraigosa, who was named infrastructure advisor to the state of California by Newsom in 2022, served as the key state liaison for local elected officials on infrastructure needs, a position largely supported by CA FWD. His team met with more than 1,000 stakeholders and held more than 40 meetings with regional and federal leaders on infrastructure priorities, supported by CA FWD, Newsom’s team and ASU.

“I can tell you, ASU’s not just innovative. They're a university committed to making sure that every kid gets a shot at a better life. Their diversity is, I think, extraordinary,” Villaraigosa said. “So, thank you, ASU, for working toward making a better life possible for everyone.”

Written by Hager Sharp

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