The Issue Is: Assembly Minority Leader James Gallagher, Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson

This week, "The Issue Is" takes viewers inside halls of power from Sacramento to, possibly, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

First, Elex Michaelson is joined by State Assembly Minority Leader James Gallagher.

In the wake of controversy in Sacramento, Democrats in the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee attempting to block child sex trafficking legislation, Gallagher discusses rising crime in the Golden State, and how Republicans would approach the issue differently.

Gallagher also discusses the GOP’s approach to homelessness and how they plan to gain prominence in the state, where Democrats have long held a super-majority.

Next, Michaelson is joined by Democratic Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson.

Williamson, who also ran in 2020, is challenging President Biden for the nomination. She lays out her case to voters, including her plan for an FDR-inspired Economic Bill of Rights.

In an extensive conversation, Williamson also discusses her thoughts on Israel, whether or not she would run in 2024 as a third-party candidate, the ongoing summer of nationwide labor action, her non-profit Project Angel Food, and so much more.


GALLAGHER’S CENTRAL TAKE: "This is just a common sense policy that we need to hold, you know, to the greatest extent possible, child traffickers accountable, you know, it hasn't been considered a serious felony, we've been trying actually for years to make it a serious felony, and I think people were just outraged when they saw that this bill that had bipartisan support, 40 to nothing in the Senate, get stalled in the Public Safety Committee... It really highlights just how radical these public safety committees have gotten in the legislature, they will not support any new policy that creates a new crime or new penalties for crime, and they've taken this to just a radical extent, you know, to where a bill that, you know, again, has bipartisan support, overwhelming support, can get stalled in this committee…."

"We as Republicans, we want to push for common sense reforms. This criminal justice experiment that we've had in California is a failure, and we can see that in every city. Violent crime is on the rise. Fentanyl crisis, we've really been trying to push for tougher penalties for dealers. You know, we have to have these things in place. And so we're going to continue to push for that, and I think we'll have success…"


GALLAGHER’S CENTRAL TAKE: "We can look to other states, so, for example, Texas, you know, is spending about 800 to $900 per homeless person, and they've actually gotten results because the policies they're putting in place or actually reducing homelessness, getting people off of the streets. California is spending over $10,000 per homeless person. We spent $17 billion on this problem only to have it actually get worse. So, we favor, Republicans, getting people off of the streets, having enforcement on encampments, and ensuring that people get into actual services that are going to empower them out of homelessness instead of enabling them in homelessness…."


GALLAGHER'S CENTRAL TAKE: "We have positioned ourselves as the as the problem solvers in California, as the people who have real solutions to the problems facing California, and we're saying, look, these need the focus affordability, homelessness, public safety, crime's gotten out of control. Let's let's change that. Let's actually do something about it. And so what we're trying to tell the California voters is take another look at us, you know, take another look at this Republican Party who has solutions. And look, you have to admit that the Democratic supermajority has not been good for California: homelessness exploding, crime on the rise, your cost of living exploding more and more every day, nothing that they've done, nothing that they have done has lowered your cost of living in California, and I see that as one of the greatest crises that we are facing right now…"


WILLIAMSON’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I'm running because some things need to be said and some things need to be done. We need to make a just transition from a dirty economy to a clean economy, from a war economy to a peace economy, and we need to make an economic U-turn in this country. We have one in four Americans who live with medical debt. We have one-third of America's workers who live on less than $15 an hour, can't even find a place to live. Our seniors, we have half of our seniors living on less than $25,000 a year. We have 70% of our people who report living with constant economic anxiety, and the system, as it is, is so geared towards greater obeisance to the profit making goals of huge corporate entities, as opposed to the health and safety and well-being of the American people, that that status quo will not disrupt itself. It will take somebody from the outside who comes in and says, we need to turn the ship around…"


WILLIAMSON’S CENTRAL TAKE: "Franklin Roosevelt wrote an economic bill of rights. He said that there were four freedoms, two of them are freedoms of and two of them are freedoms from - freedom of religion, freedom of protest and expression. But then he talked about the freedom from fear and the freedom from want. He said that a necessities man is not a free man. And so his Economic Bill of Rights, which I've updated for the 21st century, allows for universal health care. It allows for tuition free college at public colleges and universities and tech schools. It allows for always the right of collective bargaining. It allows for childcare. It allows for paid family leave and guaranteed housing and guaranteed sick pay and a guaranteed living wage…"


WILLIAMSON’S CENTRAL TAKE: "What's happening is that over the last 50 years, for the last 50 years, there has been a massive transfer of wealth to the tune of $50 trillion from the bottom 90% of Americans, and the top 1% to 10% now hold a gargantuan and obscenely unfair amount of the wealth and the resources of this country. During the 1970s, the 1970s, and I remember this, the average American worker had decent benefits, could afford a house, could afford a car, could afford a yearly vacation, could afford for one parent to stay home if they wanted, and could afford to send their kids to college. People had the bandwidth to be with their families. They had the bandwidth to be involved in in civic engagement….

"We have put people into a state of such chronic anxiety. You've got 60% of Americans who live paycheck to paycheck, a huge proportion of Americans who could not afford to absorb an unexpected $400 expenditure.... This is no longer we're not no longer functioning as a democracy. We're functioning as an oligarchy. This 'of other people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth,' it is perishing now. We are a government of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations. And the hour is late. So the idea of incremental change is just managing a terrible decline going on in this country. We must take action now…"

The Issue Is: with Elex Michaelson is California's only statewide political show. For showtimes and more information, go to