On Monday, Gavin Newsom was sworn is as California’s 40th governor.
He is the father of four young children, one of whom ended up stealing the show. At one point during Newsom’s 20-minute address his youngest son, 2-year-old Dutch, toddled up on stage. Newsom, lifted the boy up and continued with his speech.
“My wife Jennifer and I have four children, and there’s nothing more important — I hope you can tell — than giving them a good and happy life,” he said.
The moment typified what many of us in California hope will be a new era in California politics – one focused on children.
On January 10, the newly minted Newsom administration will get a chance to show its commitment to children and families when it introduces its first draft budget.
Details of the budget plan shared with The Los Angeles Times suggest Newsom plans on pouring $1.8 billion in funds to support expanded Pre-K, full day kindergarten, childcare and home visiting. This is even more than a state task force aimed at ending child poverty asked for when it released its $14-billion, decade-long plan to lift the one-in-five California children living in poverty out of it.
A planned expenditure of $200 million on so-called home visiting programs, which pair expectant and new moms up with a professional to help guide early child development, is exactly 50 percent of the federal government’s program annual expenditure toward the same strategy.
As far as I see it, the top item on any politician’s agenda should be promoting equity by supporting children. So far it seems that Newsom has this interest. Beyond the will, Newsom is sitting on a cash reserve that could hit $29 billion, according an analysis by the state legislature released in November.
Moreover the imagery of a 51-year-old governor, flanked by four young children and his impressive documentarian of a wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, was powerful. It gave me optimism that this man could be the politician that actually puts his money where his mouth is when it comes to California’s children, youth and families.