The Vision

All Americans deserve a fair shake at economic security, upward mobility, and the American Dream. Yet today, even families once identified as middle class are slipping down the economic ladder at an alarming rate because our system favors a wealthy few at the expense of the struggling majority.

Economic inequality has reached historic proportions in the United States. As a result, economic inequality has become a major focus of public policy reform efforts. But with federal action stymied by an administration that serves the interests of the wealthiest Americans instead of those of American workers, states must lead.

The Fair Shake Commission on Inequality in California tackles the issue of growing economic disparity in a state where economic insecurity and poverty coexist with unprecedented levels of wealth creation. We are also at the forefront of demographic trends that will spread nationally. More than half of our residents and two-thirds of our children are from communities of color. This report discusses the overlap between economic and demographic change. As an alternative to the reactionary vision of the Trump administration, California stands as an alternative social and economic model. This report is an effort to ensure continuing and broader prosperity for our state, and offer ideas that could potentially be used on the national level.

The Fair Shake Commission report is an effort to help build a consensus about how we can come together to meet our common challenges. By coming together to generate ideas to help our working people thrive, we can show the nation and the world that American ideals are still alive and well, and are not bound by race, color, or creed.

This report offers ideas to level the playing field and to create opportunity for all Californians. It is borne from the understanding that a more inclusive, diverse California is key to a stronger future and that more inclusive prosperity leads to more, not less, economic growth.

Now more than ever, our nation needs California ingenuity and California optimism. We need collective action and imagination. We need to tap the spirit of collaboration that has been lost in our national politics but remains at the vibrant heart of our great state.

The Commission

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Laphonza Butler is Provisional President of SEIU Local 2015 – the newly formed statewide long term care union that unites the voices of 283,000 SEIU nursing home and home care providers throughout California. SEIU Local 2015 is the largest SEIU Local in California and the largest long term care local in the country.

Previously, Butler served for seven years as President of SEIU ULTCW, a local that successfully improved the lives of its 180,000 long term care workers through the improvement of hourly care worker wages, protection of program funding, and passage of legislation to restore vital care to seniors and people with disabilities. Prior to her leadership representing long term care workers, Butler served as SEIU’s Property Services Division Director in which she was responsible for the strategic direction of the more than 250,000 workers across the country.

In addition to her current role, Butler serves as an SEIU International Vice President, President of SEIU California State Council, and co-convener of Raise the Wage. She has also served as a Director for the Board of Governors of the Los Angeles branch of the Federal Reserve System and was appointed by Senator Harry Reid to President Obama’s Long Term Care Commission.

Butler is a graduate of Jackson State University, in Jackson, MS.

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Angela Glover Blackwell is Founder and CEO of PolicyLink, which she founded in 1999, and continues to drive its mission of advancing economic and social equity. Under her leadership, PolicyLink has become a leading voice in the movement to use public policy to improve access and opportunity for all low-income people and communities of color, particularly in the areas of health, housing, transportation, education, and infrastructure.

Prior to founding PolicyLink, she served as senior vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation. A lawyer by training, she gained national recognition as founder of the Oakland (CA) Urban Strategies Council. From 1977 to 1987, she was a partner at Public Advocates, a nationally known public interest law firm.

She is a frequent commentator for some of the nation’s top news organizations and has also been a guest on the PBS series Moyers & Company and PBS’s NewsHour. She appears in the sixth and final segment of the PBS six-part series The African Americans Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

She is the co-author of Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future, and contributed to Ending Poverty in America: How to Restore the American Dream and The Covenant with Black America. In 2013, Angela and PolicyLink collaborated with the Center for American Progress to write and release All In Nation: An America that Works for All. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Howard University and a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She served as co-chair of the Task Force on Poverty for the Center for American Progress. She currently serves on The President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

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George Miller III is a former U.S. Representative, representing California’s 7th district and serving in Congress from 1975-2015. He is a lifelong California resident and member of the Democratic Party. During his tenure, he was a leading advocate in Congress on education, labor, the economy, and the environment, helping Democrats to develop and articulate a wide range of policies to benefit all Americans.

His priorities in the 112th Congress were the creation of jobs and growing the economy, reauthorizing the federal K-12 education law, and ensuring that the historic health care reform law that he co-wrote was fully implemented. From 2007 to 2011, Miller served as chairman of the Education and Labor Committee. He served as chair of the U.S. Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families, and served on the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections and the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions.

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Eloy Ortiz Oakley was appointed by The California Community Colleges Board of Governors appointed as chancellor for the California Community Colleges beginning December 19, 2016. In 2014, Governor Brown appointed Oakley to the University of California Board of Regents, where he works to better serve all Californians in higher education.

To jumpstart the local economy, Oakley partnered with Goldman Sachs to launch the 10,000 Small Businesses Program, which has taught more than 90 local business owners how to expand operations, increase profits and create more jobs in the region. Most recently, he led the Launch of Innovation Fund So Cal in partnership with the Kaufmann Foundation. Innovation Fund So Cal provides seed funding to promising start-ups and spurs local job creation.

He is a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Association of California Community Colleges Administrators (ACCCA), the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum and a founding member of the President's Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability.

Close

Laphonza Butler is Provisional President of SEIU Local 2015 – the newly formed statewide long term care union that unites the voices of 283,000 SEIU nursing home and home care providers throughout California. SEIU Local 2015 is the largest SEIU Local in California and the largest long term care local in the country.

Previously, Butler served for seven years as President of SEIU ULTCW, a local that successfully improved the lives of its 180,000 long term care workers through the improvement of hourly care worker wages, protection of program funding, and passage of legislation to restore vital care to seniors and people with disabilities. Prior to her leadership representing long term care workers, Butler served as SEIU’s Property Services Division Director in which she was responsible for the strategic direction of the more than 250,000 workers across the country.

In addition to her current role, Butler serves as an SEIU International Vice President, President of SEIU California State Council, and co-convener of Raise the Wage. She has also served as a Director for the Board of Governors of the Los Angeles branch of the Federal Reserve System and was appointed by Senator Harry Reid to President Obama’s Long Term Care Commission.

Butler is a graduate of Jackson State University, in Jackson, MS.

Close

Angela Glover Blackwell is Founder and CEO of PolicyLink, which she founded in 1999, and continues to drive its mission of advancing economic and social equity. Under her leadership, PolicyLink has become a leading voice in the movement to use public policy to improve access and opportunity for all low-income people and communities of color, particularly in the areas of health, housing, transportation, education, and infrastructure.

Prior to founding PolicyLink, she served as senior vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation. A lawyer by training, she gained national recognition as founder of the Oakland (CA) Urban Strategies Council. From 1977 to 1987, she was a partner at Public Advocates, a nationally known public interest law firm.

She is a frequent commentator for some of the nation’s top news organizations and has also been a guest on the PBS series Moyers & Company and PBS’s NewsHour. She appears in the sixth and final segment of the PBS six-part series The African Americans Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

She is the co-author of Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future, and contributed to Ending Poverty in America: How to Restore the American Dream and The Covenant with Black America. In 2013, Angela and PolicyLink collaborated with the Center for American Progress to write and release All In Nation: An America that Works for All. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Howard University and a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She served as co-chair of the Task Force on Poverty for the Center for American Progress. She currently serves on The President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

Close

George Miller III is a former U.S. Representative, representing California’s 7th district and serving in Congress from 1975-2015. He is a lifelong California resident and member of the Democratic Party. During his tenure, he was a leading advocate in Congress on education, labor, the economy, and the environment, helping Democrats to develop and articulate a wide range of policies to benefit all Americans.

His priorities in the 112th Congress were the creation of jobs and growing the economy, reauthorizing the federal K-12 education law, and ensuring that the historic health care reform law that he co-wrote was fully implemented. From 2007 to 2011, Miller served as chairman of the Education and Labor Committee. He served as chair of the U.S. Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families, and served on the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections and the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions.

Close

Eloy Ortiz Oakley was appointed by The California Community Colleges Board of Governors appointed as chancellor for the California Community Colleges beginning December 19, 2016. In 2014, Governor Brown appointed Oakley to the University of California Board of Regents, where he works to better serve all Californians in higher education.

To jumpstart the local economy, Oakley partnered with Goldman Sachs to launch the 10,000 Small Businesses Program, which has taught more than 90 local business owners how to expand operations, increase profits and create more jobs in the region. Most recently, he led the Launch of Innovation Fund So Cal in partnership with the Kaufmann Foundation. Innovation Fund So Cal provides seed funding to promising start-ups and spurs local job creation.

He is a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Association of California Community Colleges Administrators (ACCCA), the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum and a founding member of the President's Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability.

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Dr. Manuel Pastor is Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California where he also serves as Director of USC's Program for Environmental and Regional Equity and co-Director of USC's Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration. Founding director of the Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Pastor holds an economics Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In recent years, his research has focused on the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities in the U.S.

Dr. Pastor speaks frequently on issues of demographic change, economic inequality, and community empowerment. In January 2002 Pastor was awarded a Civic Entrepreneur of the Year award from the California Center for Regional Leadership and in 2012 he received the Wally Marks Changemaker of the Year award from the Liberty Hill Foundation. He is a member of the Building Resilient Regions research network sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation.

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Art Pulaski is the Chief Officer of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO. The Federation represents 2.1 million members of 1,200 manufacturing, transportation, construction, service and public sector unions. The Federation leads Labor’s efforts in legislation, political and economic programs. In the economic arena, the Federation is focused on efforts to create jobs and workforce preparation. It fosters the concept of “high road” partnerships between unions and employers to support a well-trained and competitive workforce. The Federation has been a leader in landmark legislation including overtime pay to minimum wage, health care reform to workers’ rights, and the first Paid Family Leave law in the nation.

Pulaski supports the work of California’s unions to win better living and working conditions for their members and all working Californians. Pulaski has served on numerous gubernatorial panels and commissions on economic progress and workforce development. He was a founder of one of California’s model childcare centers, called PalCare, and served as president of nationally televised PBS series “We Do the Work,” the Labor Project for Working Families and the California Works Foundation.

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Darrell Steinberg is a shareholder in the Sacramento office of Greenberg Traurig and Chair of the California Government Law & Policy Practice. He provides strategic counsel to clients with matters involving state and local government.

Steinberg served as President Pro Tem of the State Senate from 2008 to 2014. His career of more than 20 years in public service also included six years in both the State Assembly and the Sacramento City Council. Over the course of his legislative tenure, Steinberg forged difficult agreements to usher the state from a $42 billion deficit to a surplus budget, implemented groundbreaking mental healthcare legislation, strengthened the state’s foster care system, improved K-12 education standards, reformed the statewide ballot initiative, and made historic investments in California’s water and transportation infrastructure.

Steinberg is also the Founder and Board Chair of The Steinberg Institute for Advancing Mental Health Policy and a Visiting Faculty without salary to the Department of Psychiatry at UC Davis School of Medicine and Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence.

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Neera Tanden currently serves as President of CAP and previously served as the Chief Operating Officer, where she oversaw strategic planning, operations, and fundraising.

Tanden formerly served as senior advisor for health reform at the Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to that, Tanden was the director of domestic policy for the Obama-Biden presidential campaign, and also served as policy director for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Before the presidential campaign, Tanden was Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at CAP, and prior to that, she was one of the first senior staff members at the Center, joining as Senior Vice President for Domestic Policy when CAP first opened its doors. In between, Tanden was legislative director for Sen. Clinton and served as Clinton’s deputy campaign manager and issues director for her Senate campaign in New York. Tanden also served as associate director for domestic policy in the Clinton White House and senior policy advisor to the first lady.

Tanden has appeared on the nation’s leading news outlets and has been named one of the “Most Influential Women in Washington” by National Journal and received the India Abroad Publisher’s Award for Excellence in 2011. Tanden was recently included on Elle magazine’s “Women in Washington Power List” and recognized as one of Fortune magazine’s “Most Powerful Women in Politics.” She received her bachelor of science from UCLA and her law degree from Yale Law School.

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Dr. Manuel Pastor is Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California where he also serves as Director of USC's Program for Environmental and Regional Equity and co-Director of USC's Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration. Founding director of the Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Pastor holds an economics Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In recent years, his research has focused on the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities in the U.S.

Dr. Pastor speaks frequently on issues of demographic change, economic inequality, and community empowerment. In January 2002 Pastor was awarded a Civic Entrepreneur of the Year award from the California Center for Regional Leadership and in 2012 he received the Wally Marks Changemaker of the Year award from the Liberty Hill Foundation. He is a member of the Building Resilient Regions research network sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation.

Close

Art Pulaski is the Chief Officer of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO. The Federation represents 2.1 million members of 1,200 manufacturing, transportation, construction, service and public sector unions. The Federation leads Labor’s efforts in legislation, political and economic programs. In the economic arena, the Federation is focused on efforts to create jobs and workforce preparation. It fosters the concept of “high road” partnerships between unions and employers to support a well-trained and competitive workforce. The Federation has been a leader in landmark legislation including overtime pay to minimum wage, health care reform to workers’ rights, and the first Paid Family Leave law in the nation.

Pulaski supports the work of California’s unions to win better living and working conditions for their members and all working Californians. Pulaski has served on numerous gubernatorial panels and commissions on economic progress and workforce development. He was a founder of one of California’s model childcare centers, called PalCare, and served as president of nationally televised PBS series “We Do the Work,” the Labor Project for Working Families and the California Works Foundation.

Close

Darrell Steinberg is a shareholder in the Sacramento office of Greenberg Traurig and Chair of the California Government Law & Policy Practice. He provides strategic counsel to clients with matters involving state and local government.

Steinberg served as President Pro Tem of the State Senate from 2008 to 2014. His career of more than 20 years in public service also included six years in both the State Assembly and the Sacramento City Council. Over the course of his legislative tenure, Steinberg forged difficult agreements to usher the state from a $42 billion deficit to a surplus budget, implemented groundbreaking mental healthcare legislation, strengthened the state’s foster care system, improved K-12 education standards, reformed the statewide ballot initiative, and made historic investments in California’s water and transportation infrastructure.

Steinberg is also the Founder and Board Chair of The Steinberg Institute for Advancing Mental Health Policy and a Visiting Faculty without salary to the Department of Psychiatry at UC Davis School of Medicine and Director of Policy and Advocacy for the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence.

Close

Neera Tanden currently serves as President of CAP and previously served as the Chief Operating Officer, where she oversaw strategic planning, operations, and fundraising.

Tanden formerly served as senior advisor for health reform at the Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to that, Tanden was the director of domestic policy for the Obama-Biden presidential campaign, and also served as policy director for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Before the presidential campaign, Tanden was Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at CAP, and prior to that, she was one of the first senior staff members at the Center, joining as Senior Vice President for Domestic Policy when CAP first opened its doors. In between, Tanden was legislative director for Sen. Clinton and served as Clinton’s deputy campaign manager and issues director for her Senate campaign in New York. Tanden also served as associate director for domestic policy in the Clinton White House and senior policy advisor to the first lady.

Tanden has appeared on the nation’s leading news outlets and has been named one of the “Most Influential Women in Washington” by National Journal and received the India Abroad Publisher’s Award for Excellence in 2011. Tanden was recently included on Elle magazine’s “Women in Washington Power List” and recognized as one of Fortune magazine’s “Most Powerful Women in Politics.” She received her bachelor of science from UCLA and her law degree from Yale Law School.

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Van Ton-Quinlivan is Vice Chancellor of California Community Colleges and was named a White House Champion of Change in 2013 for her work in industry and education as well as her committed service as a community leader. In her current role, Ton-Quinlivan oversees the division that administers funding to advance the workforce mission across California’s 113 community colleges.

Previously, she oversaw workforce development for PG&E. She conceived, developed and implemented PowerPathway™, and was selected to attend the first White House Community College Summit, which focused on increasing the credentialing of the nation’s workforce. Ton-Quinlivan served on the National Commission on Energy Policy, America’s Task Force on Future Energy Jobs and on the executive committee of the Center for Energy Workforce Development.

Ton-Quinlivan holds degrees from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford Graduate School of Education, and Georgetown University.

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Laura Tyson is Director of the Institute for Business & Social Impact, professor of business administration and economics, and a former dean, at the Haas School of Business and London Business School. She served as Chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisers and later as Director of the White House National Economic Council. As an advisor and board director for both Fortune 500 corporations and major non-profit organizations, Tyson has spent much of her career working for positive social change in the for-profit sector, non-profit sector and public sector.

During her tenure as Dean at Berkeley-Haas from 1998 to 2001, Tyson launched the Center for Responsible Business, linking traditional MBA training with broader social goals. Tyson also launched the Global Social Venture Competition. Today students from around the world participate in the competition, which offers $50,000 in prizes and mentoring to pioneering nonprofit entrepreneurs.

Tyson co-chairs the World Economic Forum's Council on Women's Empowerment and is the co-author of the Global Gender Gap Report. She currently chairs the board of trustees of UC Berkeley's Blum Center on Developing Economies and is also on the board of Generation Investment Management, a company founded by former Vice President Al Gore. Generation invests in companies tackling environmental and sustainability challenges.

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Tom Steyer is a business leader and philanthropist who believes we have a moral responsibility to give back and help ensure that every family shares the benefits of economic opportunity, education, and a healthy climate.

In 2010, Tom and his wife, Kat Taylor, pledged to contribute most of their wealth to charitable causes during their lifetimes. That same year, Tom worked to defeat Proposition 23, an attempt by the oil industry to roll back California’s historic plan to reduce pollution and address climate change.

In 2012, Tom led a campaign to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in California schools annually by closing a corporate tax loophole. To date, Proposition 39 has put nearly a billion dollars into California schools and clean energy projects, saving millions of dollars in annual energy costs.

Tom founded a successful California business, which he left to work full-time on nonprofit and advocacy efforts. He now serves as President of NextGen Climate, an organization he founded in 2013 to prevent climate disaster and promote prosperity for all Americans. Tom also serves as co-chair of Save Lives California, the coalition to prevent teen smoking and fund cancer research.

Tom’s dedication to public service is greatly inspired by his wife, Kat, the co-CEO of Beneficial State Bank in Oakland. They founded this nonprofit community bank in 2007 to provide loans to people and small businesses shut out by the traditional banking system. Unlike most banks, by statute Beneficial State Bank invests any profits back into the community.

Tom and Kat live in San Francisco and have four children.

More on Tom Steyer:

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Van Ton-Quinlivan is Vice Chancellor of California Community Colleges and was named a White House Champion of Change in 2013 for her work in industry and education as well as her committed service as a community leader. In her current role, Ton-Quinlivan oversees the division that administers funding to advance the workforce mission across California’s 113 community colleges.

Previously, she oversaw workforce development for PG&E. She conceived, developed and implemented PowerPathway™, and was selected to attend the first White House Community College Summit, which focused on increasing the credentialing of the nation’s workforce. Ton-Quinlivan served on the National Commission on Energy Policy, America’s Task Force on Future Energy Jobs and on the executive committee of the Center for Energy Workforce Development.

Ton-Quinlivan holds degrees from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford Graduate School of Education, and Georgetown University.

Close

Laura Tyson is Director of the Institute for Business & Social Impact, professor of business administration and economics, and a former dean, at the Haas School of Business and London Business School. She served as Chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisers and later as Director of the White House National Economic Council. As an advisor and board director for both Fortune 500 corporations and major non-profit organizations, Tyson has spent much of her career working for positive social change in the for-profit sector, non-profit sector and public sector.

During her tenure as Dean at Berkeley-Haas from 1998 to 2001, Tyson launched the Center for Responsible Business, linking traditional MBA training with broader social goals. Tyson also launched the Global Social Venture Competition. Today students from around the world participate in the competition, which offers $50,000 in prizes and mentoring to pioneering nonprofit entrepreneurs.

Tyson co-chairs the World Economic Forum's Council on Women's Empowerment and is the co-author of the Global Gender Gap Report. She currently chairs the board of trustees of UC Berkeley's Blum Center on Developing Economies and is also on the board of Generation Investment Management, a company founded by former Vice President Al Gore. Generation invests in companies tackling environmental and sustainability challenges.

Close

Tom Steyer is a business leader and philanthropist who believes we have a moral responsibility to give back and help ensure that every family shares the benefits of economic opportunity, education, and a healthy climate.

In 2010, Tom and his wife, Kat Taylor, pledged to contribute most of their wealth to charitable causes during their lifetimes. That same year, Tom worked to defeat Proposition 23, an attempt by the oil industry to roll back California’s historic plan to reduce pollution and address climate change.

In 2012, Tom led a campaign to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in California schools annually by closing a corporate tax loophole. To date, Proposition 39 has put nearly a billion dollars into California schools and clean energy projects, saving millions of dollars in annual energy costs.

Tom founded a successful California business, which he left to work full-time on nonprofit and advocacy efforts. He now serves as President of NextGen Climate, an organization he founded in 2013 to prevent climate disaster and promote prosperity for all Americans. Tom also serves as co-chair of Save Lives California, the coalition to prevent teen smoking and fund cancer research.

Tom’s dedication to public service is greatly inspired by his wife, Kat, the co-CEO of Beneficial State Bank in Oakland. They founded this nonprofit community bank in 2007 to provide loans to people and small businesses shut out by the traditional banking system. Unlike most banks, by statute Beneficial State Bank invests any profits back into the community.

Tom and Kat live in San Francisco and have four children.

More on Tom Steyer:

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