Assembly District Hopeful Stressed Jobs, Affordability and Smart Growth
By Beige Luciano-Adams
Just days before announcing his candidacy for California’s 44th Assembly District, Burbank Vice Mayor Nick Schultz took his case to IBEW Local 40 members at its General Membership meeting last month to garner support, promote his economic vision, and showcase his union bona fides.
Schultz, who currently serves as a Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice and was elected to the Burbank City Council in 2020, called himself as a “union guy through and through.”
He stressed his working-class roots and staunch support for organized labor and highlighted his District priorities, which include economic recovery, affordable housing, public education, and more robust healthcare and environmental initiatives. The 44th Assembly District includes North Glendale, Burbank, Studio City, and Sherman Oaks.
“In 2020 when we had a vacancy on our City Council I saw a lot of people in our community struggling – a lot of folks out of work, folks being priced out of Burbank – who couldn’t afford the rent. So, I wanted to bring a younger perspective, someone who understands all too well the crushing feeling of college debt, of trying to pay the rent, of the impossibility of buying a home in Burbank,” Schultz said.
“I’m running because I really want to be the proponent for Labor that we desperately need,” Schultz added. “It’s home to the entertainment capital of the entire world, so keeping these jobs here is top priority for me.”
The film industry tax credit was “a great start” Schultz said, but he argued it still leaves out too many jobs and industries and should be made permanent – which he acknowledged would be an uphill battle. “We can’t lose these entertainment industry jobs. So, if I’m elected, you can count on me being an advocate to fight for every single job we can and expand opportunities.”
Standing before a crowd of Local 40 members Schultz, who is baby-faced, with an efficient rhetorical cadence, and a stumping style still green around the edges, fielded some tough questions regarding his experience and track record.
“I know I’m young, but I also know I have the experience to do this job,” Schultz said. He didn’t flinch, or even pause for laughter, when one Local 40 member asked, “Not to be rude or blunt, but what have you actually accomplished?”
Schultz pointed to rolling out more than $1 million in small business assistance during the pandemic; a balanced budget; an updated greenhouse gas reduction plan; and adding more housing, including some earmarked for low and very-low income, than previous councils had in the past decade. Schultz also touted some in-development projects, including an economic recovery task force, a possible tech incubator, and a single-use plastics reduction policy.
When asked about the future of Burbank’s sales tax, Schultz said it was it was time “for government to live within its means and not add any costs to the people who are just making ends meet. I have no plans to raise taxes in Burbank anytime soon. Period.”
Housing, transit, and environmental progress are “intersectional” goals, Schultz said. He outlined his plans for more mixed-use housing and redevelopment, including a new civic center built with union labor, and a new bus route designed around existing rideshare data.
“I just wanted to come and just tell you, from the bottom of my heart, it would mean a great deal to me if I earned the support of Local 40,” Schultz said, noting that he’d already garnered endorsements from UA Locals 761 and 250. “This district deserves a labor champion. I’d very much hope to be that champion.”