Gavin is widely recognized for his bold willingness to lead – repeatedly developing, advocating, and implementing innovative and groundbreaking solutions to some of our most challenging issues.
On a wide range of topics including same-sex marriage, gun safety, marijuana, the death penalty, universal health care, access to preschool, paid family leave, technology, criminal justice reform, sugary drinks, and the minimum wage, Gavin stuck his neck out and did the right thing, which often led to sweeping changes when his policies were ultimately accepted, embraced, and replicated across the state and nation.
Gavin’s top priorities are economic development (creating jobs and reducing poverty), education (increasing affordable access to quality schools at all levels), protecting the environment, and justice – ensuring California continues to lead by example while actively resisting any attempt by the Trump administration to take us backwards.
Gavin is married to Jennifer Siebel Newsom. They reside in Marin County with their four children Montana, Hunter, Brooklynn, and Dutch.
The son of William and Tessa, Gavin grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He attended Santa Clara University on a partial baseball scholarship, graduating in 1989 with a B.A. in political science.
After college, Gavin sold orthotics and worked as an assistant at a real estate firm. In 1991, Gavin recruited investors and founded PlumpJack, a wine shop, which he grew into a thriving enterprise of 21 businesses including wineries, restaurants, and hotels.
As a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (1997-2004), then as the youngest mayor of San Francisco in more than a century (2004-2011), Gavin has been a visionary on issues of equality, the environment, homelessness and healthcare. Policies he has initiated and implemented have been duplicated in cities across the nation.
Thirty-six days into his first mayoral term, Gavin threw himself into one of the most divisive issues in U.S. politics by allowing same-sex couples to marry, challenging state and federal prohibitions.
Under his energetic leadership, San Francisco’s economy grew and jobs were created. By promoting growth and redevelopment in blighted or underutilized communities, rebuilding critical infrastructure and through aggressive targeted efforts to attract and retain business, San Francisco today has become a magnet for the jobs and innovative companies of the future.
He brought the nation’s first truly universal health care plan to all of the City's uninsured residents, where more than 80% of the previously uninsured are now covered by the City's first-of-its-kind universal health care program.
Mayor Newsom made San Francisco one of the most environmentally friendly cities on earth, leading the nation in development of renewable energy, promoting environmental justice and forging a new sustainable path towards job creation and economic growth. His accomplishments included setting a 100% renewable portfolio for San Francisco by 2020, the nation’s first mandatory composting legislation, and the nation’s first plastic bag and Styrofoam bans.
San Francisco enjoys one of the highest minimum wages in America, universal paid family leave and universal child care. San Francisco's public school district is the highest performing urban school district in the state.
Gavin balanced seven consecutive budgets on time during national economic instability without laying-off a single teacher, police officer, or firefighter.
Gavin's commitment to combating homelessness never waned. He reduced street homelessness by 40%, and moved more than 10,000 homeless individuals into permanent housing, and his volunteer initiative, Project Homeless Connect -- now imitated in more than 130 cities – connects the homeless with social services, housing, and amenities.
Gavin believes that California is a place of unparalleled economic opportunity, a place where high tech comes to take flight, where our creative workforce entertains and connects the world, and where our agricultural products feed America.
But he understands that doesn’t mean our work is done. Instead of an even-handed return to economic prosperity, we have an unbalanced recovery of frightening contrasts that appears to be leaving specific people in specific places behind. For too many, the economic recovery has become a spectator sport.
As Lieutenant Governor, Gavin is sustaining his commitment to work with local leaders and California businesses to cement our status as one of the 10 largest economies in the world in an inclusive – not exclusive – economic recovery.
Building an economy that lifts everyone up means building a workforce that’s prepared to step into the jobs of tomorrow. Gavin is the chief architect of California’s Economic Growth and Competitiveness Agenda, a blueprint for continued economic growth. It charts a path for better infrastructure, a focus on future manufacturing, building up exports and other pillars of California’s success. Gavin has also joined with others in calling on Congress to utilize funds to boost California’s trade competitiveness, invest in California's infrastructure, and help to grow jobs on our waterfront, our farms and our manufacturing floors.
Constructing a thriving economy means getting serious about closing both the income and opportunity gaps, which begins with education. Gavin knows that early childhood education and college education should be accessible to all Californians. Gavin serves as a Regent of the University of California system and a Trustee of the California State University system, working hard to keep tuition fees down, solve the student debt crisis and improve academic success rates across the board.
He has demonstrated his commitment to shaping the future of higher education in California through his introduction of California College Promise, a statewide proposal to increase access, funding, and regional partnerships with California’s public schools, community colleges and four-year universities.
In addition, Gavin wrote the Report on the State of Higher Education in California, addressing the major demographic shift in schools and working Californians, state-based opportunities, training beyond high school, and the financial impediments for students and families. Gavin also recognizes the dynamic and changing workforce that lies ahead for California’s students. He has called on state universities to change their admission standards, and championed legislation to provide every California student with access to rigorous computer science classes to better prepare students both for college and for the careers of tomorrow.
Energy and the Environment
As a member of the State Lands Commission, Gavin has worked hard to ensure that California is addressing the complex challenges of California’s nuclear and clean energy future, and has brought a twenty-first century focus to the Commission through the development of its first strategic plan in over eighteen years. This plan positions California as a leader in land and resource management. It prioritizes transparency within practices and operations by using a budget visualization website, the first state agency in the nation to do so, sets the highest levels of safety and preservation for California’s resources under its jurisdiction, and ensures that California’s economic growth is balanced with smart, future-oriented management of our state’s natural resources.
Technology in Government
Ranging from his work on the State Lands Commission, to mobile apps, to open data initiatives, to his book, Citizenville, Gavin is a leading national voice for a government that is more open, transparent, and accessible to all Californians. He is prominent supporter of the Open Data Initiative and launched Digital Democracy, a first-of-its-kind online and interactive video platform to empower advocates, journalists and citizens by harnessing the power of facial recognition software, language-processing technology, campaign finance databases, with video and social media. Lt. Governor Newsom believes that by creating a transparent government through technology we can engage the collective wisdom of people outside government and put the power in the hands of the people to transform government, democratize voices, and bring our nineteenth-century government into the twenty-first century.