Gavin Newsom hosts panel discussion in El Cajon

EL CAJON (KUSI) — The front-runner in the race for governor was in El Cajon Wednesday for a panel discussion on the issues that are impacting California’s future.

It was not your typical campaign event. Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom spent the better part of the hour listening to the personal stories of four-panel members all struggling to make ends meet.

Newsom began the discussion mentioning affordability which is exactly the concerns expressed by the four panelists who spent several minutes detailing the struggles in their lives rooted in low wages, not being able to afford housing, health care, day care or education.

Newsom said these were the top issues he’s heard traveling up and down the state.

“The number one word, the bubble word, the issue I heard more than any other issue is affordability,” Newsom said. “the cost of housing being the subtext of that but also child care, number two.”

Affordability in education was also near the top.

“You’re not just focused on tuition costs and a waiver on unit costs but the full cost of education,” Newsom said.

Regarding affordability in housing, he said we’re simply not building enough affordable housing.

“Universally accepted, an affordability crisis, we’re 49th out of 50th in the number of per capita housing units and this State,” he said.

He said only one state produces less, which is Utah.

On early education, he said Oklahoma has universal preschool.

“I don’t like being behind Oklahoma ion anything except maybe less air pollution it just seems to me we could do better,” he said.

And affordability of childcare, “We can talk about that I have a lot of ideas on that issue, a former mayor that actually did universal health care.”

What we heard was a series of problems the next governor of California will face and specific policies on how to address them.

“We’ve laid out some prescriptive strategies and none of this will be easy but it shows we have a lot of work to do in this state,” he said.

On fixing the problems, Newsom said we need to be careful not to overpromise, but we are now in a better place than where we were.

And there was no doubt he sides with the teachers’ unions versus charter schools when it comes to reforming education.

“I’m passionately pro-public education and have been a strong advocate for public educators,” he said.

Newsom will be campaigning non-stop throughout the state, as will his chief opponent Antonio Villaraigosa, the former L.A. mayor. The Newsom Campaign says he will be back in San Diego in two or three weeks.

Categories: Politics