Something extraordinary is happening in California.
Just a month after taking office, Gov. Gavin Newsom has launched our Golden State into a bold new direction on behalf of working families.
Gavin is a good friend — the picture on the cover of the Winter 2019 Voice of Action shows his close connection with our Union — and I believe he will be the finest governor in the United States.
By electing him last November, our state has wisely committed itself to continue building a better economy for all people — not just the wealthy few, but everyone who punches a time clock, has a loved one who needs care, or has dreams of raising a family in a neighborhood with good schools and clean air.
A fresh vision for California
In his first State of the State speech on Feb. 12, Gov. Newsom outlined his fresh new vision for California. Of particular interest for working women and men, he addressed these issues:
• Good jobs and higher wages. Gov. Newsom proposes initiatives for training workers in new skills to ensure technological changes will create jobs instead of destroying them. He also supports ongoing efforts bringing Labor and business leaders together to promote opportunities for higher paying employment. In addition, he intends to expand the earned-income tax credit to cover a million additional working families.
• Affordability crisis. Noting 61 percent of young Californians believe they can’t afford to live in the state, the governor described how he is pushing cities to update their zoning rules to encourage building more affordable homes.
• Health care. Responding to the Trump Administration’s efforts to wreck the Affordable Care Act, Gov. Newsom called for state action to restore the individual mandate and increase subsidies for working individuals and families. These actions would, in turn, help lower premium costs for everyone.
He also announced initiatives to reduce health care costs by promoting competition among hospitals and limiting prescription price increases.
Above and beyond these initiatives are a number of legislative proposals advocated by the California Labor Federation to affirm and protect the rights of working people to organize themselves and bargain with their employers from positions of strength.
We expect Gov. Newsom to support these proposals as they move through the Legislature and sign them when they reach his desk.
At the conclusion of his State of the State address, Gov. Newsom introduced Allyn Pierce, an intensive-care nurse in Paradise, Calif., who drove into the fire to rescue patients from the flames that eventually destroyed the hospital where he worked. The heroic nurse was quoted as saying, “This is what we do.”
Taking care of each other is what we do in the Union Movement, as it should be for all Americans. Gov. Gavin Newsom is making sure this is what California will do for everyone who is fortunate enough to dwell inside its boundaries.