William Endicott’s commentary on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s appearance in the recent Budweiser commercial failed to acknowledge that the actor and former governor has always used his personality as a way to engage the public (“Movie star to governor to … beer ads? Schwarzenegger goes beyond shame”; Viewpoints, Jan. 29). It also failed to acknowledge the former governor’s significant policy work that is being done today.
Former Gov. Schwarzenegger has a unique ability to serve as a dynamic leader, while at the same time being a charismatic celebrity with a keen sense of humor. Simply put, Schwarzenegger is one of the most active and successful former governors in our state’s history.
In 2010, he launched R20-Regions of Climate Action – whose mission is to help sub-national governments implement low-carbon and climate-resilient projects, and share best practices in renewable energy and energy efficiency to transition to a green economy. Thanks to his leadership, the R20 has in just the past three years developed a project pipeline of sustainable, low-carbon economic development projects worth more than $1 billion.
In 2012, he also partnered with the University of Southern California to launch the USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy, which focuses on the responsibility of leaders to rise above partisanship to implement policies that benefit the people they serve, with five priority areas: education, energy and environment, fiscal and economic policy, health and human wellness, and political reform. The institute boasts a bipartisan board of international leaders in business, public service and education.
Finally, his After-School All-Stars program continues to do great things in keeping children safe and helping them succeed. Launched more than 20 years ago, the program is now rated one of the best in the nation and serves more than 90,000 kids. In fact, Schwarzenegger recently stood with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield; and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., to rail against proposed federal after-school program cuts.
It seems Endicott is primarily interested in Schwarzenegger’s entertainment endeavors. He’ll be pleased to hear that the former governor is the executive producer of a Showtime documentary titled “Years of Living Dangerously,” which highlights the human impact of climate change.
One other great thing since we’re talking about Schwarzenegger putting on a fun costume to entertain fans. He recently dressed up as a Gold’s Gym trainer and created a viral sensation that has almost 15 million YouTube views. More importantly, the video was done to raise awareness and money for the After School All Stars.
Bonnie Reiss is global director of the Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy at the University of Southern California. Terry Tamminen is R20-Regions of Climate Action founding chair’s strategic adviser. Ben Paul is president and CEO of After-School All-Stars.