Gavin Newsom first ran for governor in 2010, an effort he abandoned and then relaunched in 2015 with the long, long campaign that crescendoed tonight. Now that California voters have given the 51-year-old Democrat the job he has sought for eight years, he is about to discover that winning was the easy part.
Governing is hard, particularly in a state as big, complex, troubled and expensive as California. We have the world’s fifth largest economy and, with our cost of living, the nation’s highest rate of poverty.
The shortage of affordable housing has pushed the middle class out of the state’s coastal jobs centers—or out of state altogether—while exacerbating a decades-long crisis of homelessness and sending college housing costs into the stratosphere. Pension costs weigh on city finances, wildfires rage nearly year-round, the academic achievement gap hobbles prospects for too many poor and brown public school students, and lately the state’s relationship with the federal government has been one of permanent litigation.
Over the course of his very long candidacy, Newsom laid out a robust vision. In his words: “Guaranteed health care for all. A ‘Marshall Plan’ for affordable housing. A master plan for aging with dignity. A middle-class workforce strategy. A cradle-to-college promise for the next generation. An all-hands approach to ending child poverty.”
He hasn’t always detailed how he would pay for his promises, nor which policies he would be willing to jettison in the face of political pushback or certain budgetary constraints.
That changes on January 7 with his inauguration. On key issues, here’s what to expect.