He then delivered a wide-ranging inaugural address emphasizing his belief in the California Dream and the state’s values and interests — contrasted in numerous ways with policies advocated by President Trump — and championing the role of California, stating, “The country is watching us. The world is waiting on us. The future depends on us. And we will seize this moment.”
Highlighting California’s diversity was another major theme of the inauguration day events. The Governor’s address
was preceded by remarks by First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, which included an impressive recitation of a poem by Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, which she delivered in a mixture of English and Spanish, followed by several songs performed by a Hispanic musical group.
League President Jan Arbuckle, Council Member, Grass Valley, and League Executive Director Carolyn Coleman attended the swearing-in ceremony at the invitation of the Gubernatorial Inaugural Committee, and witnessed the Governor articulate firsthand his priority issue areas. He sent critical signals to drug companies, the gun lobby, polluters and payday lenders, stating, “We will stand up to them!”
He also committed to addressing both economic inequality and the inequality of opportunity, stating, “We will be bold. We will aim high and work like hell to get there.” He cited the problems of stagnant wages, increasing rent and utility costs, the homeless epidemic, educational achievement gaps and chronic hunger, while still committing to also retain state’s fiscal reserves.
Several housing related comments from the Governor indicated that aggressive proposals are coming that could affect local land use authority. Towards the end of his address, the Governor said, “we will launch a Marshall Plan for affordable housing and lift up the fight against homelessness from a local matter to a state-wide mission.” Later he maintained that, “we will fight not just for growth at any cost but for inclusive, sustainable growth.”
He set a tone with both the Legislature and local government officials, promising an open door expressing interest in solutions that work for all communities including rural areas, quoting from an African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”
Similar olive branches were offered for local officials, with the Governor stating, “I will partner with mayors, sheriffs, and supervisors all over this state, I know the pressures you face. I’ve been there. The only way to fix our problems is if you are empowered to lead the way.”
The Governor will release his initial budget proposal by Thursday, Jan. 10. The League’s officers will visit the Capitol on Wed., Jan. 16, for meetings with legislative leaders to discuss the League’s 2019 strategic priorities. A meeting with the Governor has been requested, but has not yet been confirmed.