With the California Secretary of State’s confirmation that voters have qualified a recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Golden State is one step closer to replacing the worst governor in state history and turning California toward a better future.
Despite blaming others, Newsom needs only to look in a mirror to discover who caused this mess. The California Constitution requires 1.5 million verified signatures to qualify a recall election, but recall proponents turned in 2.1 million from people of all political stripes, backgrounds and ideologies, unified by a recognition that the state is failing its people, and Gavin Newsom is only making things worse. They believe California is on the wrong track under this incompetent, hypocritical and desperate governor, and it’s time for him to go.
Newsom’s numerous failures have put California at the top of all of the wrong lists. Two and a half years into his term, California leads the nation in poverty, homelessness, highest income tax, highest gas tax, and the most people fleeing the state for more affordable and welcoming destinations. While these problems were all concerning before the pandemic, things have only gotten worse, and Newsom’s lack of leadership has been the last straw. People are mad and willing to take extraordinary action to try and save a state that they love.
California has one of the highest unemployment rates in America, thanks to Newsom’s far-reaching and perpetual shutdowns. More than 19,000 businesses have closed their doors permanently. Too many people find themselves seeking unemployment assistance or standing in line at food pantries for the first time in their lives. And Gavin Newsom must own this mess.
Voters expect that a governor can manage the basic functions of government, but Newsom can’t even do that. His unemployment department, the Employment Development Department (EDD), should have been getting Californians aid quickly and efficiently but instead has been riddled with fraud and mismanagement, paying up to $31 billion in fraudulent unemployment claims.
Death Row inmates got paid while out-of-work Californians couldn’t even get their calls answered. Today, more than a million claims continue to gather dust in a backlog; each representing a person who is struggling to make ends meet. Does Newsom even care? He couldn’t even mention the department’s failures during his campaign-style State of the State address, when he had a platform and audience to do so.
Instead of taking responsibility and fixing the EDD, Newsom attended an inside, unmasked, opulent dinner at the French Laundry with his campaign and lobbyist pals while hypocritically telling Californians to spend Thanksgiving without their families and be sure to wear a mask between bites. He only quit lying about the extent of his own rules being broken when pictures surfaced online.
Moreover, as school districts around the country slowly reopened and children went back to school, California dragged behind. Reopening schools was opposed by the state’s powerful teachers’ unions, and as top campaign supporters, Newsom didn’t have the backbone to demand they get back in the classroom to educate our children. California schools are still the slowest to reopen of any state in the nation. As a result, parents have had to leave their jobs to manage Zoom school, and millions of students have struggled to keep up behind a screen, while isolated at home.
The damage done to our children after a year of missing in-person instruction is unthinkable. And instead of fixing the problem by standing up to the unions, Gavin Newsom lied to score political points. He told CNN that he is also dealing with the challenges of “living through Zoom school,” when in reality, his children went back to in-person private school last fall. Again, that tells you who he is as a person.
As Newsom finally acknowledged the likelihood that his recall would go to a vote, instead of accepting the concerns voiced by 2.1 million Californians, the career politician attacked the people, suggesting the recall is fueled by racists and conspiracy theorists. Arrogant, incompetent, head-in-the-sand politician. That’s Gavin Newsom.
In reality, the 2.1 million Californians consist of Republicans, Democrats and independents. A plurality of the Latino community – a traditionally loyal voting bloc to California Democrats – supports the recall. Parents, workers, business owners, all have had enough of this governor’s failures.
California is on the wrong track, but later this year, we will fix that. Gavin Newsom earned his recall, and he should not be surprised when voters put an end to his incompetence by sending him to an early retirement.
Jessica Millan Patterson is chairwoman of the California Republican Party.
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