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FOX40 Candidate Profiles: Antonio Villaraigosa

Running for governor is not a 9 to 5 job. Early morning television interviews and announcing endorsements are just a small part of life on the campaign trail.

None of it is new to Antonio Villaraigosa. He's widely known for being the former Mayor of Los Angeles and was once speaker of the assembly at the State Capitol.

"We don’t need ideologues, we need people that are practical, that want to move us forward but that want to work," Villaraigosa said.

He touts his record on decreasing crime as mayor, which he says also helped the economy.

"When you drive crime down in the way that we did downtown and throughout Los Angeles, by nearly 50 percent, people start moving there and they’re living there," he said.

Villaraigosa firmly believes improving the state’s economy starts with those who aren’t old enough to vote.

"A key to growing middle-class jobs is fixing our schools and making sure kids, no matter what zip code they live in, are able to make it," Villaraigosa told FOX40.

He's confident he can make that happen as governor, crediting his time as assembly speaker.

"You know you gotta count votes, you gotta work with Democrats and Republicans and I have a comfort level doing that and an experience level that frankly really sets me apart," he said.

Fixing the state’s infrastructure is one of the many tasks the next governor will have to face. Money from Governor Jerry Brown’s controversial gas tax is expected to be used for that. Villaraigosa supports the effort but says he’ll make sure the funds aren’t used for other projects.

"We’re going to put that money in a lockbox," Villaraigosa said. "You can’t ask people to raise their taxes for something and then spend it on something else."

In a fairly crowded race, Villaraigosa says he views himself as a moderating voice, hoping that will sway California voters.

"We don’t need a screamer or a tweeter. We need a healer," he said. "A uniter."