About Gavin Newsom
Gavin Newsom, 46, has championed innovative public policies since entering office in 1997.
As a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, then as mayor of San Francisco and now as Lieutenant Governor of California, Newsom has been a political visionary on issues of equality, the environment, homelessness and healthcare. Policies he has initiated and implemented have been duplicated in cities across the nation.
Shortly after being elected Lt. Gov. in 2010, Newsom gathered the ideas of key stakeholders around the state to develop an economic growth and job creation strategy. This comprehensive economic blueprint, a top priority of his administration, ensures that California remains one of the top 10 economies in the world.
Since holding public office as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Newsom has advocated for and consistently supported quality public education for Californians. As Lt. Gov., he serves as University of California Regent and as Trustee for the California State University system and has fought to keep these institutions accessible to all. In 2012, he was the sole UC regent who voted against a tuition hike. In partnership with students, parents, teachers, administrators and the private sector, Newsom wants to preserve the state's internationally recognized public higher education system that produces the future leaders of America.
As mayor of San Francisco, Newsom's administration led the nation on environmental policies such as mandatory composting, plastic bag and Styrofoam bans and a prohibition on city-purchased bottled water. Shortly after establishing the most stringent green building standards in America, San Francisco then achieved the highest rate of recycling and waste diversion in the U.S. For launching these groundbreaking programs, Newsom was selected in 2010 as the greenest mayor for a second year.
As Lt. Gov., Newsom continues his environmental work as a member of the State Lands Commission, protecting California's most precious natural resources while balancing use of lands, waterways and ports.
At 34, he was the youngest person elected Mayor of San Francisco in more than a century and was re-elected for a second-term by more than 73 percent. He led San Francisco to economic recovery by making the city a center for biotech and clean technology while attracting and then keeping start-ups. Under his leadership one of The City's most troubled neighborhoods was transformed into a life sciences, digital media, and clean tech center, which houses the University of California San Francisco research center as well as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
He balanced seven consecutive budgets on time during national economic instability without laying off a single teacher, police officer, or firefighter. He reduced the size of San Francisco's government, maintained a healthy bond rating and instituted a Rainy Day Fund to protect city services against future catastrophic cuts.
Thirty-six days into his first term in 2004, Newsom threw himself into one of the most divisive issues in U.S. politics by allowing same sex couples to marry in violation of state law. More than 4,000 couples tied the knot before the courts intervened. Newsom, ahead of the political curve, was highly criticized for taking the bold action and accused of costing the Democratic Party key races in 2004. He said at the time it was a matter of principle, not a matter of politics and time has proven him correct. Newsom remains one of the nation's most outspoken advocates for changes on the federal level that will grant equal rights to all.
Lt. Gov. Newsom discusses issue of homelessness 28 April 2011
Similarly, while a national debate raged on about healthcare, Newsom acted as opposed to reacted. His administration instituted a first-of-its-kind universal health care program without adding new taxes. More than 80% of the previously uninsured in San Francisco are now covered.
As a Supervisor, Newsom challenged himself to tackle one of San Francisco's most entrenched problems: homelessness. As a city supervisor and mayor, he rose to that challenge with one of the most comprehensive homeless policies in a generation aimed at breaking the cycle of dependency and moving people into stable situations.
The implementation of Care Not Cash, which placed homeless people in supportive housing in lieu of cash, helped reduce homelessness in San Francisco by 25 percent. More than 12,000 people were moved to permanent housing during his tenure as mayor and almost 3,000 units of supportive housing units were completed or in the pipeline. The groundbreaking Homeless Connect project, which marshals citizen volunteers at one-day events to connect homeless individuals to social services, housing and basic amenities, such as haircuts and telephone use, has been replicated in 226 cities across the country.
Prior to entering politics Newsom was a small business owner who grew one wine shop, PlumpJack, into a thriving enterprise of 15 businesses including wineries, restaurants, and hotels. His frustrating experience with bureaucratic red tape in opening that single wine shop led to the creation of a small business assistance center when he took office. The Newsom Administration also excluded small businesses from payroll taxes and made more than $23 million available for low or no interest loans.
An early technology adopter who values innovation, Newsom was ranked #1 mayor for his use of social media by the leading search engine for finding and tracking consumer-generated opinions, Samepoint. He has more than 1.2 million Twitter followers and in 2010, he announced his run for Lt. Gov. via Twitter, making him one of the first politicians to do so.
He is dedicated to shifting the principles of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship to the public sector and recently launched "The Gavin Newsom Show" on Current TV to help shape the conversation. The show has featured such guests as Sergey Brinn, Oliver Stone, Lance Armstrong and Marissa Mayer.
He has also been featured on "Meet the Press," "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," the "Bill Maher Show," the "John Stewart Show," and "Charlie Rose."
An avid reader, despite being dyslexic, Newsom has authored "Citizenville" exploring the intersection of democracy and technology in this ever-connected world. It is scheduled for release by Penguin books in early 2013.
Newsom has graced the cover of The New York Times Magazine and has been featured in Time, the New Yorker, the Economist, GQ, and Wired, among others.
A much sought after public speaker, he often discusses topics across a wide spectrum, including economics, technology, civil rights, entrepreneurship and government reform. He was featured at the World Economic Forum, Harvard School of Business, Stanford University, Clinton Global Initiative, among others.
Newsom is married to actress/producer Jennifer Siebel Newsom. They reside in Marin County with their three children Montana, Hunter and Brooklynn.