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Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom on the 2018 gubernatorial race and his plans for California

California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom on stage at the The Saban Free Clinic's Gala Honoring ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee And Bob Broder at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 19, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.
California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom on stage at the The Saban Free Clinic's Gala Honoring ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee And Bob Broder at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 19, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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It’s still early in the California gubernatorial race for 2018. But the state’s Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has consistently lead with nearly $3.6 million in fundraising from January to June 2017, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Newsom has held political office since 1997, and gained notoriety as a member on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He then became mayor of that city before taking a seat as lieutenant governor in 2010 under Jerry Brown.

A Democrat, the focus of Newsom’s campaign has included climate change issues, touting his membership of the State Lands Commission, which controls parts of state shorelines. But controversy has erupted over a bill that would limit the height of waterfront developments in San Francisco, putting Newsom in a tight spot with those wanting to build on public land. On the issue of gun control, Newsom has publicly opposed the National Rifle Association, most recently regarding an NRA video which the Lt. Governor said villainizes political opponents of the group’s interests.

Larry spoke with Newsom Wednesday about these issues and his plans for the state:

Interview highlights:

On performing the first marriages for same-sex couples in San Francisco in 2004:

We challenged the law. It's always the right time to do the right thing. You don't run the 90 yard dash on civil rights. I'm not one of those politicians that has much respect, candidly, for people that know what the right thing to do is and are unwilling to do it. We wanted to challenge the law, we wanted to put a human face on it. And the idea was Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin had been together close to half a century and they were willing to be that first couple to get married. And the idea was not just to file a brief against Proposition 22 in the state of California but to put on trial the life of this extraordinary couple. They were, for me, the manifestation of faith, love, devotion, constancy, what marriage is all about.

On the governor's role in regulating Airbnb:

The governor has a profound role in organizing new thinking as it relates to the dramatic change to the plumbing of the world. We had this great debate in this country in the last presidential cycle, this populist debate. On the left Bernie Sanders, wherever Trump is on the right, both exploiting the issue, the populist issue of globalization. But no one talked about technology. And with all due respect to globalization, it's a small part of the bigger picture and that is technological disruption. And that substantively, the issue of technology and globalization detonating at the same time is front and center in my thinking, front and center in terms of what I'm trying to advance in terms of new approaches as governor.

On California's ability to provide universal healthcare:

As mayor of San Francisco, we provided universal health care, regardless of pre-existing conditions, ability to pay, and controversially but I say proudly, regardless of your immigration status. San Francisco has the only county-level universal healthcare plan in the nation and we have a specific tangible proposal to bring that to the rest of the state of California.

On the bullet train project: 

We have a real question mark around this proposal which I initially was again a very passionate champion of whether or not we can fulfill the original vision to get it through the Tehachapi and the San Gabriel mountains, bring it down to southern California, ultimately not just L.A. but San Diego. I’ve questioned the business plan and the financing because of the significant changes from the original proposal, so yes I want to see this vision manifested and realized, but... I have an open ended question of how we ultimately fulfill the original vision.

To see all our past interviews with the 2018 gubernatorial candidates, click here.


Gavin Newsom, lieutenant governor of California; he is running for governor of California in 2018