After Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden claimed victory over the weekend, California’s top elected officials began welcoming the thought of a friendlier White House — and cheering Vice President-elect and Oakland-native Kamala Harris’ ascension to the nation’s No. 2 spot.
While Gov. Gavin Newsom has worked amicably enough with President Donald Trump on emergencies such as wildfires and the coronavirus pandemic, he said a new White House will mean smoother sailing for California’s priorities.
“It goes from headwinds to tailwinds, and that’s pretty obvious,” Newsom said Monday at a livestreamed press conference.
Over the past four years, California has been a face of the so-called “resistance” to the Trump administration. While Trump rolled back environmental protections and cracked down on immigration, California officials doubled down on clean energy policies and expanded benefits like health care for undocumented immigrants. The state has even sued the Trump administration more than 100 times.
Newsom is welcoming the shift to a Biden-Harris agenda, which he says lines up well with California’s.
“On early childcare … health and education, issues related to the environment and environmental stewardship and low-carbon, green growth,” Newsom said. “Broadly, that’s a California agenda.”
Plus, California will enjoy an elevated profile with one of its own in the White House.
“It is nice to have a U.S. Senator from your home state as the Vice President-elect,” Newsom said. Newly elected Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who is third in line for the presidency as House Speaker, also hails from San Francisco.
Newsom has worked closely with Harris throughout their political careers. He was sworn in as Mayor of San Francisco the same day she took office as the county’s District Attorney.
Their work overlapped in Sacramento, too. In 2011, she became California Attorney General and he became Lieutenant Governor. Harris was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016.
Newsom now has the opportunity to appoint a successor to complete the remaining two years of Harris’ Senate term.
Speculation for who he might pick includes Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Karen Bass and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra held a press call Monday ahead of oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that could determine the future of the Affordable Care Act. He declined to answer questions related to the presidential election, but said in a statement: “Our priorities in California transcend a president or an election. ... But we much prefer a partner in Washington to advance our shared prosperity.”
Newsom has repeatedly demurred on who he is considering for the Senate seat. On Monday he said he wants to make sure the process “is inclusive. Make sure we’re considering peoples’ points of view.”
But he also said it was too soon to lay out a timeline and over the weekend, he was more focused on an uptick in COVID-19 cases than the results of the presidential election. California’s 14-day average rate of positive cases has jumped from 2.5% on Oct. 19 to 3.7% on Monday.
“I’m concerned about that,” he said, adding that he expects more counties to move to a more restrictive tier in the state’s color-coded tier system for COVID-19 this week, which would result in additional business restrictions.
CapRadio provides a trusted source of news because of you. As a nonprofit organization, donations from people like you sustain the journalism that allows us to discover stories that are important to our audience. If you believe in what we do and support our mission, please donate today.