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Tom Steyer: Co-chair Governor Gavin Newsom’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery

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One percent-er Tom Steyer, who made his fortune as a hedge fund manager, cares about the 99%ers and is woke and doing something about it.

Now an activist, Steyer says “[t]he issues of economic, racial, and environmental justice keep me focused and determined, and I’ll never stop working toward them . . . [t]he establishment has failed many hard-working people.  If we don’t call it out, nothing will change.”

He ran for president of the United States in 2020 and now is doing everything within his power to get the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, elected, and defeat the sitting president.

Steyer says, “I am more passionate than ever about spending all my time and money to change the political neglect in this country.”

Recently, he was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to co-chair a 70-person economic “Task Force on Business Jobs and Recovery.”  Steyer is working with Newsom’s chief of staff, Ann O’Leary, Apple’s Tim Cook, Disney’s Bob Iger, former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and PolicyLink President Angela Glover Blackwell are a few of the other members of the task force.

According to politico.com, the focus topics of the task force are “climate change and innovation; banking and housing; workforce equity and food insecurity; the economic recovery; and small businesses.”

O’Leary says of  Steyer that he is “ . . .  an incredible doer.  He gets things done, and he’s dogged in his approach to doing it.”

Steyer is not a “Johnny come lately” to the #BLM movement and helping women and business owners of color. 15 years ago he founded Beneficial State Bank, a community development bank in Oakland, after learning about the discrimination Black business owners experience with mainstream banks.

Beneficial State Bank is “dedicated to the ideas of economic justice, environmental sustainability, and supporting businesses owned by women and people of color.”

Steyer’s net worth is estimated at more than $1 billion and he and his wife signed “The Giving Pledge” (along with Warren Buffet, Bill and Melinda Gates and others) in 2010, vowing to donate half their fortune to charity during their lifetime.

“The idea of shared prosperity is not new to me,” Steyer said. “Health and safety remain the most important points.”

The task force published and signed a letter shared below on June 15, 2020, “an equitable recovery for California and the Nation:”

“We are business, labor, non-profit and philanthropic leaders and elected officials from across California, tasked by Governor Gavin Newsom with charting a path toward economic recovery from COVID-19.  We write this letter as a collective acknowledgment that there can be no recovery until the state and the nation value Black lives. . . . taking a stand against racism is not just a moral imperative for our collective future, but an economic one. . . . . California is the world’s fifth-largest economy . . .  [the task force] pledge to:

  • Create jobs that are inclusive, sustainable and equitable, building ladders of opportunity for Californians who have been locked out of our state’s prosperity;
  • Commit to a robust, equitable educational system in which learners of all ages can succeed, including closing the digital divide and supports for parents furthering their education;
  • Address the long-term housing crisis in California with a full understanding of the racially disparate patterns of homeownership, rent burden and homelessness;
  • Think long-term by collaborating with the Governor’s Office and in our own organizations to design jobs programs for California’s diverse youth so that their futures are not permanently derailed by coming of age in a recession.
  • California cannot do it alone, but we can lead. This Task Force cannot do it all, but we can leverage our experience, commitment and resolve to reimagine and restructure our economy.  And while we as individual leaders understand the magnitude of the work ahead, we believe that together, we can forge a more inclusive, more prosperous and more just Golden State.

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