Gavin Newsom smiles after being elected as the new governor of California. (Photo courtesy of Jeff Chiu / AP Photo)
Mission Viejo High School

Out with the old, in with the New(som)

With over 40 million residents and the world’s fifth largest economy, California is both a front-runner in progressive social changes and an independently powerful economic force. To govern this Democratically-leaning state, the new governor must be prepared to address the varying concerns of California residents while also challenging President Trump with opposing viewpoints.

The man who is taking on this important role as the 40th governor of California is Gavin Newsom. As a liberal advocate for the middle class, Newsom came into office with many new ideas to face the problems that our country is dealing with today.

At 51 years old, Newsom is one of the younger governors in relation to his predecessors and fellow governors. He is a husband and father of four young children — which made for a comical scene when his two-year-old son ran up on stage during his inauguration speech.

However, Newsom’s younger age is not a representation of the amount of political experience that he has up his sleeve. Prior to becoming governor, Newsom served as lieutenant governor of California for eight years and as the major of San Francisco for seven years.

During his time as mayor, Newsom made great strides in a progressive direction. In 2007, he implemented a plan that provided universal healthcare for San Francisco residents.

Under his leadership, the city also joined the Kyoto Protocol, which is an international treaty for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Improving healthcare and addressing global climate change are two primary actions that Newsom took during his time as mayor which helped him gain popularity amongst California voters. Newsom first caught the attention of Americans in 2004 when he took a powerful and liberal stance on same-sex marriage.

Fifteen years ago, during a time when same-sex marriage was not accepted by a majority of Americans, Newsom made the bold decision to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples within the city of San Francisco. This brave change in legislation brought attention to gay rights and started a conversation about the federal legalization of gay marriage.

His actions led to a court battle which ended with the legalization of same-sex marriage in California in 2008. Newsom’s role in this battle for equality for the LGBTQ community eventually led to nationwide legislation supporting same-sex marriage in 2015.

During his time serving as lieutenant governor of California, Newsom was also one of the main supporters of the legalization of marijuana use in California.

Even with his new role as governor, Newsom is staying true to his progressive agenda. He has already begun to create plans to address the issues which his campaign was built upon, such as improving wealth inequality, homelessness, healthcare, and education.

After being sworn in as governor on Jan. 7, Newsom’s first action was to sign an executive order regarding the pharmaceutical industry. This law directed California’s Medicaid system to negotiate prescription drug prices in order for private companies and government agencies to work together.  

Newsom also began his term as governor by hosting a fundraising concert to raise money for recent wildfire victims.

As a Democratic governor, Newsom is planning to fight against large companies that are charging people too much money for prescription drugs or politicians who are risking the lives of children by siding with the NRA and gun lobbyists.

Newsom is a governor who is listening to the people of his state, and is planning to fight for the issues that his voters are most concerned with. After spending weeks campaigning through California on a bus and speaking to voters, he has stated that homelessness and affordable housing are two of the issues that he is most concerned about.

However, he knows that fixing these issues will not be easy and will not happen as quickly as people may hope for. By setting plans in place, Newsom is looking forward to tackling these issues over the next few years.

With the challenging task of living up to the successes of California’s last governor Jerry Brown, all eyes will be on Gavin Newsom to see what he will do next. Although Governor Newsom has not commented on the rumors yet, some Americans are conspiring that he may be planning to add his name to the ballot for the presidential election in 2020.