LOS ANGELES – As California’s homeless population continues to grow, Cooper Hefner is trying to find a solution.

What You Need To Know

  • Cooper Hefner, son of Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner, has announced a run for California Senate

  • The former Playboy executive tells Inside the Issues he will focus on listening to younger generations

  • He also wants to explore how the state can utilize artificial intelligence as well as look at state-wide problems like affordable housing and homelessness

“California has progressively gone down a road of housing and rent prices skyrocketing. There has been a smaller percentage of Californians that have been able to afford those payments and what that has actually caused is a lot of talent has left the state,” said the 28-year-old businessman. “It's absolutely a state and local issue. The state legislature needs to do a lot more investing in permanent housing that addresses the affordable housing crisis and it's certainly a topic and an issue that we intend to focus on.”

Hefner recently announced that he will run for California Senate to represent the 30th District, a seat currently held by State Senator Holly Mitchell, who is currently running for Los Angeles County Supervisor.

Along with addressing homelessness, Hefner tells Inside the Issues he's motivated by millennials and younger generations who have been “neglected by public servants who are older.” 

“To me, it's incredibly important that young people do engage because I think there's a sensibility around these issues that are incredibly important, that, for whatever reason, have not been focused on and, really, we've not seen effective solutions in resolving these ongoing problems,” Hefner said.

Hefner wants to focus on climate change, the use of artificial intelligence, and affordable housing. His professional life has prepared him for what is to come with being a public servant. 

“I have been focused on problem-solving and have had the good fortune of being in very high-stress environments for much of my professional life,” he explained. “That has been accompanied by management experience and delivering solutions that, truth be told, have prevented organizations from filing for bankruptcy, managing a P&L and understanding the ins-and-outs of actually operating a business is not that different from effectively managing government expenses.”

As the son of Hugh Hefner, he acknowledges the unique circumstance that has put him in and hopes that people wouldn’t judge him based on that.  

“I would hope, given my professional track record, that they don't make a preconceived notion of who I am or what my intentions are,” said Hefner. “I have built and sold a media company, I've served as a leader of an internationally recognized and known multimedia organization, I have engaged in community service for a number of years and I can point to all of the worthwhile notable work experience that would allow for me to be an effective public servant.”

The former Executive of Playboy Enterprises credits the company’s culture for instilling a desire to fight for civil liberties, saying the company had “the desire to have the organization leverage its platform and resources to consistently move society in a direction that was more freethinking and focused on supporting the individual, long before a lot of people were on board with a lot of the issues that we've seen permeate the political arena: LGBTQ rights as well as civil rights.”

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