|49th Lieutenant Governor of California|
January 10, 2011
|Preceded by||Abel Maldonado|
|42nd Mayor of San Francisco|
January 8, 2004 – January 10, 2011
|Preceded by||Willie Brown|
|Succeeded by||Ed Lee|
|Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
from the 2nd district
January 1997 – January 2004
|Preceded by||Constituency established[a]|
|Succeeded by||Michela Alioto-Pier|
|Born||Gavin Christopher Newsom
October 10, 1967
San Francisco, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Kimberly Guilfoyle (2001–2005)
Jennifer Siebel (2008–present)
|Alma mater||Santa Clara University|
|a.^ District created in 2000; prior terms were on a city-wide seat. Appointed to Kevin Shelley's seat.|
Gavin Christopher Newsom (born October 10, 1967) is an American politician. He is the 49th and current lieutenant governor of California, after being elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. In 2003, he was elected the 42nd Mayor of San Francisco, the city’s youngest in a hundred years. Newsom was re-elected in 2007 with 72 percent of the vote. In 2010, a Samepoint study named Newsom the Most Social Mayor in America’s largest one hundred cities.
In 1996, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown appointed Newsom to serve on the city’s Parking and Traffic Commission, and then as a member of the Board of Supervisors the following year. Newsom drew voter attention with his Care Not Cash program, designed to move homeless people into city-assisted care.
Newsom is a fourth-generation San Franciscan. His father is of Irish descent, while one of his maternal great-grandfathers, Scotsman Thomas Addis, was a pioneer scientist in the field of nephrology and a professor of medicine at Stanford University. His father, William Alfred Newsom III, is a retired state appeals court justice and attorney for Getty Oil. Newsom is the second cousin, twice removed, of musician Joanna Newsom.
Newsom’s parents separated when he was 2 and divorced in 1972. At age 10, Newsom moved with his mother, Tessa Thomas (Menzies) Newsom, and sister, to nearby Marin County. In May 2002, his mother died after a five-year fight with breast cancer.
While Newsom later reflected that he did not have an easy childhood, he attended kindergarten and first grade at the French American bilingual school in San Francisco. He eventually transferred because of severe dyslexia that still affects him. His dyslexia has made it difficult for him to write, spell, read and work with numbers. He attended third through fifth grades at Notre Dame des Victoires, where he was placed in remedial reading classes. Newsom graduated from Redwood High School in 1985. He played basketball and baseball in high school. Newsom was an outfielder in baseball. His basketball skills placed him on the cover of the Marin Independent Journal. Newsom’s childhood friend Derek Smith recalled Newsom as “one of the hardest working players on the team who became a great player because of his effort, instead of his natural abilities.” Newsom’s father attended his games with San Francisco politicians that included John Burton and Quentin Kopp. Newsom’s father had ties to several other local politicians. Newsom’s aunt was married to Ron Pelosi, the brother-in-law of former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. Newsom's father was also a friend of Governor Jerry Brown.
Tessa Newsom worked three jobs to support Gavin and his sister Hilary Newsom Callan, who is the president of the PlumpJack Group. In an interview with The San Francisco Chronicle, his sister recalled Christmas holidays when their mother told them there wouldn't be any gifts. Tessa opened their home to foster children, instilling in Newsom the importance of public service. His father’s finances were strapped in part because of his tendency to give away his earnings. Newsom worked several jobs in high school to help support his family.
Newsom attended Santa Clara University on a partial baseball scholarship and student loans, where he graduated in 1989 with a B.S. in political science. Newsom was a left-handed pitcher for Santa Clara, but he threw his arm out after two years and hasn’t thrown a baseball since. He lived in the Alameda apartments, which he later compared to living in a hotel. He later reflected on his education fondly, crediting the Socratic approach of Santa Clara that he said has helped him become an independent thinker who questions orthodoxy. Newsom spent a semester studying abroad in Rome.
Newsom’s first job out of college was selling podiatric orthotics. He later worked for real estate firm Shorenstein & Company, where he worked as an assistant and performed a range of jobs that included cleaning bathrooms and removing asbestos. He earned $18,000 per year. Newsom also earned a real estate license.
On May 14, 1991, Newsom and his investors created the company PlumpJack Associates L.P. In 1992, the group started the PlumpJack Winery with the financial help of his family friend Gordon Getty. PlumpJack was the name of an opera written by Getty, who invested in 10 of Newsom’s 11 businesses. Getty told the San Francisco Chronicle that he treated Newsom like a son and invested in his first business venture because of that relationship. According to Getty, later business investments were because of “the success of the first.”
One of Newsom’s early interactions with government occurred when Newsom resisted the San Francisco Health Department requirement to install a sink at his PlumpJack Winery. The Health Department argued that wine was a food. The department required the store to install a $27,000 sink in the carpeted wine shop on the grounds that the shop needed the sink for a mop. When Newsom was later appointed supervisor, he told the San Francisco Examiner: “That's the kind of bureaucratic malaise I'm going to be working through.”
The business grew to an enterprise with more than 700 employees. The PlumpJack Cafe Partners L.P. opened the PlumpJack Café, also on Fillmore Street, in 1993. Between 1993 and 2000, Newsom and his investors opened several other businesses that included the PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn with a PlumpJack Café (1994), the Napa Valley winery (1995), the Balboa Café Bar and Grill (1995), the PlumpJack Development Fund L.P. (1996), the MatrixFillmore Bar (1998), PlumpJack Wines shop Noe Valley branch (1999), PlumpJackSport retail clothing (2000), and a second Balboa Café at Squaw Valley (2000). Newsom’s investments included five restaurants and two retail clothing stores. Newsom’s annual income was greater than $429,000 from 1996 to 2001. In 2002, his business holdings were valued at more than $6.9 million. Newsom gave a monthly $50 gift certificate to PlumpJack Café employees whose business ideas failed, because in his view, “There can be no success without failure.”
Newsom sold his share of his San Francisco businesses when he became mayor in 2004. He maintained his ownership in the PlumpJack companies outside San Francisco that included the PlumpJack Winery in Oakville, California, new PlumpJack-owned Cade Winery in Angwin, California, and the PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn. He is currently the president in absentia of Airelle Wines Inc., which is connected to the PlumpJack Winery in Napa County. Newsom earned between $141,000 and $251,000 in 2007 from his business interests. In February 2006 he paid $2,350,000 for his residence in the Russian Hill neighborhood, which he put on the market in April 2009 for $2,995,000.
Early political career
Newsom’s first political experience came when he volunteered for Willie Brown’s successful campaign for mayor in 1995. Newsom hosted a private fundraiser at his PlumpJack Café. In 1996, Mayor Brown appointed Newsom to a vacant seat on the Parking and Traffic Commission, and he was later elected president of the commission. In 1997, Brown appointed him to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors seat vacated by Kevin Shelley. At the time, he became the youngest member of San Francisco’s board of supervisors and also the board’s only heterosexual Caucasian male. Newsom was sworn in by his father and pledged to bring his business experience to the board. Willie Brown called Newsom “part of the future generation of leaders of this great city.” Newsom described himself as a “social liberal and a fiscal watchdog.” Newsom was subsequently elected to a full four-year term to the board in 1998.
In 1999, San Francisco’s voters chose to exchange at-large elections to the board for the previous district system and Newsom was reelected in 2000 and in 2002 to represent District 2, which includes the Pacific Heights, Marina, Cow Hollow, Sea Cliff, and Laurel Heights. He faced no opposition in his 2002 reelection. His district had the highest income level and the highest Republican registration in San Francisco. In 2000, Newsom paid $500 to the San Francisco Republican Party to be on the party’s endorsement slate.
As supervisor, Newsom gained public attention for his role in advocating reform of the city’s Municipal Railway (Muni). He was one of two supervisors endorsed by Rescue Muni, a transit riders group, in his 1998 reelection. He sponsored Proposition B to require Muni and other city departments to develop detailed customer service plans. The measure passed with 56.6% of the vote. Newsom sponsored a ballot measure from Rescue Muni; a version of the measure was approved by voters in November 1999.
Newsom also supported allowing restaurants to serve alcohol at their outdoor tables, banning tobacco advertisements visible from the streets, stiffer penalties for landlords, and a resolution to commend Colin Powell for raising money for youth programs that was defeated. Newsom's support for business interests at times strained his relationship with labor leaders.
During Newsom’s time as supervisor, he was pro-development and for smart growth along with being “anti-handout.” He supported housing projects through public–private partnerships to increase homeownership and affordable housing in San Francisco. Newsom supported HOPE, a failed local ballot measure that would have allowed increased condo-conversion rate if a certain percentage of tenants within a building were buying their units. As a candidate for mayor, he supported building 10,000 new housing units to create 15,000 new construction jobs.
As supervisor, Newsom had as his centerpiece a voter initiative called Care Not Cash (Measure N), which offered care, supportive housing, drug treatment, and help from behavioral health specialists for the homeless in lieu of direct cash aid from the state’s general assistance program. Many homeless rights advocates protested against Care Not Cash. The successfully passed ballot measure raised the political profile of Gavin Newsom and provided the volunteers, donors and campaign staff, which helped make him a leading contender for the mayorship in 2003.
Newsom placed first in the November 4, 2003, general election in a nine-man field. Newsom received 41.9 percent of the vote to Green Party candidate Matt Gonzalez’s 19.6 in the first round of balloting, but he faced a closer race in the December 9 runoff when many of the city’s liberal groups coalesced around Gonzalez. The race was partisan with attacks against Gonzalez for his support of Ralph Nader in the 2000 presidential election and attacks against Newsom for contributing $500 to a Republican slate mailer in 2000 that endorsed issues Newsom supported. Democratic leadership felt that they needed to reinforce San Francisco as a Democratic stronghold after losing the 2000 presidential election and the 2003 recall election to Arnold Schwarzenegger. National figures from the Democratic Party, including Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and Jesse Jackson, campaigned on Newsom’s behalf. Five supervisors endorsed Gonzalez while Newsom received the endorsement of Willie Brown.
Newsom won the runoff race, capturing 53 percent of the vote to Gonzalez’s 47 percent and winning by 11,000 votes. Newsom ran as a business-friendly centrist Democrat and a moderate in San Francisco politics; some of his opponents called him conservative. Newsom claimed he was a centrist in the Dianne Feinstein mold. He ran on the slogan "great cities, great ideas" and presented over 21 policy papers. Newsom pledged to continue working on San Francisco's homelessness issue. Newsom was sworn in as mayor on January 3, 2004. He called for unity among the city’s political factions and promised to address the issues of potholes, public schools, and affordable housing. Newsom said he was “a different kind of leader” who “isn't afraid to solve even the toughest problems.”
San Francisco’s progressive community attempted to find a candidate to run a strong campaign against Newsom. Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi and Chris Daly considered running against Newsom, but both declined. Matt Gonzalez also decided not to challenge Newsom. When the August 10, 2007, filing deadline passed, the discussion around San Francisco shifted to talk about Newsom’s second term. He was challenged in the election by 13 candidates that included George Davis, a nudist activist, and Michael Powers, owner of the Power Exchange sex club. Conservative former supervisor Tony Hall withdrew by early September due to lack of support. The San Francisco Chronicle declared in August 2007 that Newsom faced no “serious threat to his reelection bid.” Newsom raised $1.6 million for his reelection campaign by early August. He won re-election on November 6, 2007 with over 72% of the vote. Upon taking office for a second term, Newsom promised to focus on the environment, homelessness, health care, education, housing, and rebuilding San Francisco General Hospital.
As mayor, Newsom focused on development projects in Hunters Point and Treasure Island. He signed the Health Choices Plan in 2007 to provide San Francisco residents with universal healthcare. Under Newsom, San Francisco ostensibly joined the Kyoto Protocol, although it could not actually join a treaty between sovereign states. In 2004, Newsom gained national attention when he directed the San Francisco city–county clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, in violation of the state law passed in 2000.
In 2005, Newsom pushed for a law to allow communities in California to make laws discriminating against breeds of dogs. He requested that then state senator Jackie Speier introduce a law to change California law, which at the time stated counties could not target specific breeds of dog. The animal control agency under his direction created a working dog task force report that cited Denver, Colorado, as a best practice for a law in California.
In 2009, Newsom came under attack for the City of San Francisco’s policy of illegally harboring juvenile criminal undocumented immigrants. The city was circumventing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement by harboring or sending the immigrants back to their own native countries. In 2010, Newsom was removed from the San Francisco County Democratic Central Committee. SFCDCC chairman Aaron Peskin said that Newsom no longer resided in the city and therefore did not deserve a seat on the committee.
In 2009, Newsom received the Leadership for Healthy Communities Award along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City and three other public officials for his commitment to making healthful food and physical activity options more accessible to children and families. For example, in 2008, he hosted the Urban Rural Roundtable to explore ways to promote regional food development and increased access to healthy affordable food, and he secured $8 million in federal and local funds for the Better Streets program, which ensures that public health perspectives are fully integrated into urban planning processes. He also signed a menu-labeling bill into law, requiring that chain restaurants print nutrition information on their menus. In 2010, Newsom was named "America's Most Social Mayor" by Samepoint, based on analysis of the social media profiles of mayors from the 100 largest cities in the United States.
In 2004, Newsom gained national attention when he directed the San Francisco city–county clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, in violation of the then-current state law. In August 2004, the Supreme Court of California annulled the marriages that Newsom had authorized, as they conflicted with state law at that time. Still, Newsom’s unexpected move brought national attention to the issues of gay marriage, solidifying political support for Newsom in San Francisco and in the gay community.
During the 2008 election, Newsom was a prominent and vocal opponent of Proposition 8, the ballot initiative to reverse the California Supreme Court ruling that there was a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. In the months leading up to election day, Proposition 8 supporters released a commercial featuring Newsom saying the following words in a speech regarding same-sex marriage: “This door’s wide open now. It’s going to happen, whether you like it or not.” Some observers noted that polls shifted in favor of Proposition 8 following the release of the commercial; this, in turn, led to speculation that Newsom unwittingly played a role in the passage of the amendment.
In April 2009, Newsom announced his intention to run for governor of California in the 2010 election. In September 2009, he received the endorsement of former president Bill Clinton. During the campaign, Newsom remarked that, if elected, he'd like to be referred to as “The Gavinator” (a reference to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s nickname, “The Governator”). Throughout the campaign, however, Newsom suffered low poll numbers, trailing Democratic frontrunner Jerry Brown by more than 20 points in most polls. In October 2009, Newsom dropped out of the gubernatorial race.
In February 2010, Newsom filed initial paperwork to run for lieutenant governor, and officially announced his candidacy in March. He received the Democratic nomination in June, and won the election on November 2, 2010.
Newsom was sworn in as lieutenant governor on January 10, 2011. The one-week delay was to ensure that a successor as mayor of San Francisco was chosen before he left office. Edwin M. Lee, the city administrator, took office the day after Newsom was sworn in as lieutenant governor. In May 2012, Newsom debuted on Current TV as the host of The Gavin Newsom Show.
Newsom released his first book, Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government, on February 7, 2013. The book discusses the Gov 2.0 movement that is taking place across the United States.
Following the release of Citizenville, Newsom began to work with the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society at the University of California, Berkeley on the California Report Card (CRC). The CRC is a mobile-optimized platform that allows California residents to “grade” their state on six timely issues. The CRC exemplifies ideas presented in Newsom’s Citizenville, encouraging direct public involvement in government affairs via modern technology.
On November 4, 2014, Newsom was re-elected as lieutenant governor of California, defeating Republican Ron Nehring with 57.2% of the vote. His second term began on January 5, 2015; the same date when Governor Brown was sworn in for a second term after his re-election.
2018 campaign for governor
On February 11, 2015, Newsom announced that he was opening a campaign account for governor in the 2018 elections, allowing him to fundraise a campaign to succeed Jerry Brown as the 40th Governor of California.
Newsom was baptized and reared Roman Catholic. He describes himself as an “Irish Catholic rebel...in some respects, but one that still has tremendous admiration for the Church and very strong faith.” When asked about the current state of the Catholic Church, he said the church was in crisis. Newsom said he stays with the Church because of his “strong connection to a greater purpose, and ... higher being ...” Newsom identifies himself as a practicing Catholic, stating that he has a “strong sense of faith that is perennial: day in and day out.”
In December 2001, Newsom married Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former San Francisco prosecutor and legal commentator for Court TV, CNN, and MSNBC and who is now a prominent personality on Fox News Channel. The couple married at Saint Ignatius Catholic Church on the campus of the University of San Francisco, where Guilfoyle attended law school. The couple appeared in the September 2004 issue of Harper's Bazaar, a fashion magazine, in a spread of them at the Getty mansion with the title the “New Kennedys.” In January 2005, they jointly filed for divorce, citing “difficulties due to their careers on opposite coasts.”
In January 2007, it was revealed that Newsom had had a romantic relationship in mid-2005 with Ruby Rippey-Tourk, the wife of his former deputy chief of staff and then campaign manager, Alex Tourk. Tourk filed for divorce shortly after the revelation and left Newsom’s campaign and administration. Newsom’s affair with Rippey-Tourk impacted his popularity with male voters, who viewed his indiscretions as a betrayal of a close friend and ally.
Newsom announced in February 2007 that he would seek treatment for alcohol abuse.
In September 2006, Newsom began dating actress Jennifer Siebel after being set up for a blind date by a mutual friend, Kathy Wilsey. In December 2007 their engagement was announced, and they were married in Stevensville, Montana, in July 2008. In September 2009, Siebel gave birth to a girl, Montana Tessa Newsom. Siebel gave birth to a son, Hunter Siebel Newsom, on June 12, 2011. Daughter Brooklynn was born July 3, 2013.
In 2012, Newsom and his family moved out of San Francisco and bought a house in Kentfield, California. The house is a mid-century home on 1.38 acres. It also hosts direct views of Mount Tamalpais. Newsom bought it for $2.145 million.
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- Wilkey, Robin (November 29, 2011). "Gavin Newsom Buys House In Marin (PHOTOS)". Huffington Post.
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- Office of Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom
- Newsom's official campaign website
- CityMayors profile about Gavin Newsom
- Gavin Newsom debates Maggie Gallagher on gay marriage in a May 2009 interactive debate from NOW on PBS Online
|Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
from the 2nd district
|Mayor of San Francisco
|Lieutenant Governor of California
|Party political offices|
|Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of California