LOS ANGELES, California — California Governor Gavin Newsom delivered his annual “State of the State” address from an empty Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night, hoping to rally support as he faces a likely recall election in the coming months.
Newsom struck an optimistic tone, noting that the state’s coronavirus numbers were improving. And he admitted errors: “We have made mistakes,” he said. “I have made mistakes. But we own them. We learn from them. And we never stop trying.”
The “state of the state,” he said, “remains determined — and I mean, determined.” He took a swipe at his critics, saying that they were motivated by partisan agendas and “outdated prejudices rejecting everything that makes California truly great.”
The decision to deliver his address remotely was a tribute to the World Series champions, as well as to over 54,000 Californians who have died from COVID-19, and the medical staff who have turned the stadium into a vaccination site.
He added: “California — we’re not going to come crawling back, we will roar back.” Newsom also appealed to his supporters on the left, saying that when the pandemic was over, “we are not going go back to normal. Because I think we all agree that normal was never good enough.” The path back, he said “must also be a path to close those [economic] inequities” and “unacceptable disparities.” He added: “There’s no economic recovery, no economic recovery without economic justice.”
LIVE NOW: Governor @GavinNewsom will reflect on California’s journey through the pandemic and towards a brighter future in his State of the State address from @Dodgers Stadium. https://t.co/9uMbRejpW2
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) March 10, 2021
Newsom also noted that despite the ongoing economic shutdowns, the state had a $15 billion surplus at the start of 2021, and that revenues have continued to grow (thanks to Silicon Valley profits and Wall Street stocks, he could have added).
He touted the state’s ongoing vaccination effort, which was at one time the slowest in the nation, boasting that it was built around “equity” by setting aside a percentage of the doses for minority communities heavily impacted by COVID-19. He also promised that “at least 10 percent of all of our vaccine allocations will go directly to teachers and school staff,” and promised that schools would reopen soon — a major point of contention with teachers’ unions in L.A. and San Francisco.
Newsom also spoke about the state’s efforts to fight wildfires and homelessness, and proudly reiterated his state’s goal to make all new cars on California roads “zero emissions” by 2035 to help assist the fight against global climate change.
“This is our moment to create the California we all want to live in, to extend the dream of prosperity, of equity and progress to all, and to continue to lead the world into the future once more,” Newsom concluded.
Newsom spoke just 48 hours after opponents announced that they had gathered nearly 2 million signatures — nearly 500,000 more than necessary — to force a recall election. The state’s voters will be asked whether to retain him — and, if no, who should replace Newsom as governor.
One of his potential replacements, Republican former mayor of San Diego Kevin Faulconer, tweeted a response to Newsom:
My response to Gavin Newsom's State of the State address. pic.twitter.com/CbSrUHe3GW
— Kevin Faulconer (@Kevin_Faulconer) March 10, 2021
“This crisis exceeds the current governor’s ability to deal with it,” Faulconer said, saying Newsom was more focused on saving his own political career than on the state’s needs. “As governor, I will lead the California comeback our state needs.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is How Not to Be a Sh!thole Country: Lessons from South Africa. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.