California Governor: Virus Is Opportunity for Progressives

April 2, 2020

Asked whether the coronavirus crisis offered an opportunity for progressives, California governor Gavin Newsom (D.) said it could "reshape the way we do business and how we govern."

"I think it's an opportunity anew for both parties to come together and meet this moment and really start to think more systemically, not situationally," Newsom told reporters Wednesday. "Not just about getting out of this moment but more sustainably and systemically to consider where we can go together in this historic moment if we meet it at a national level and at a state and subnational level."

Newsom's comments, which were flagged by Grabien's Tom Elliott, came in response to a question about whether he saw the "potential, as some others in your party do, for a new progressive era."

Newsom also said that despite low unemployment in the state before the coronavirus pandemic, wealth distribution and income inequality were a cause for concern.

In January, a group of Democratic lawmakers unveiled a "California Green New Deal" to combat climate change and poverty. However, early last year Newsom canceled a high-speed rail project in his state due to the project's high cost and expected time to complete.

Newsom was one of the first governors to take aggressive action to address the spread of the coronavirus, issuing a stay-at-home order for the state's nearly 40 million residents in mid-March. He urged other state leaders to take similar actions.