California Governor

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  • Candidate picture

    John H. Cox
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Gavin Newsom
    (Dem)

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Biographical Information

Health care: Do you support a “single-payer” health care system? Explain.

Housing: Do you agree with rent control? Explain. What should government do to solve the housing shortage?

Gas tax: Do you support the gasoline tax and other transportation fee increases to fix roads? If not, how should the state pay for road repairs?

High-speed rail: What should the state do next with the high-speed rail project?

Climate: Explain what efforts, if any, the state should make to combat global warming.

Criminal justice: Explain why you agree or disagree with changes California has made to lower the prison population by setting different sentences for some crimes and changing parole rules.

Age 63
Birthplace (city) Illinois
Residence (city) Rancho Santa Fe, CA
Education Law degree, Illinois Institute of Technology-Chicago Kent School of Law; bachelor's degree, accounting & political science, University of Illinois at Chicago.
Experience Businessman, CPA and founder of law firm, 1981-present; broadcaster; conservative leader since campaigns of Jack Kemp and Newt Gingrich; board member, San Diego USO; founder, organization repairing homes for needy individuals.
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No. The staggering price tag for the Democrats’ plan to provide “health care for all” would cost California $400 billion a year to create a state-funded universal health care system — more than double the $180 billion annual state budget. Competition always produces better results — state-run health care will have no competition and no accountability. Costs will soar, and quality health care will diminish. In other words, single-payer health care is a sure way to destroy the California economy, and send more residents fleeing to lower-tax states. We’d be driving jobs and productivity out of California, while bringing those seeking free health care into California.
No, I do not agree with rent control because it discourages building new housing, thus making the problem worse. The key to solving the government-created housing crisis is to replace the sledgehammer of the California Environmental Quality Act with a greatly streamlined set of sensible reforms. The current rules have made housing unaffordable, which means it doesn’t work. If something doesn’t work, it needs to change. A major overhaul of the 47-year-old CEQA law will go a long way to solve this issue. Allowing homebuilders to start building housing again, at full capacity, would have a tremendous impact on construction jobs and those of related industries. The economic growth impact of those new jobs on business activity and government revenues will make it possible to restore the financial solvency of California government by making it possible to address the state’s unfunded public pension liabilities and protect workers’ retirement income.
I'm the chairman of the ballot measure effort to repeal the $52 billion gas tax increase. I oppose these taxes. First we need to end Jerry Brown's bullet-train boondoggle. Then we need to focus on the other areas of waste and inefficiency. According to the Reason Foundation, California’s highway system ranks 42nd, while spending 4 1/2 times what Texas spends for a mile of road. In awarding Caltrans its Golden Fleece Award, the Independent Institute noted that“…the irresponsible Caltrans has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars and even lied to lawmakers to cover its track.” In other states, private businesses are encouraged to compete for state highway contracts, ensuring that taxpayers get the benefit of competitive bidding. On average, he notes that in most states about half of design and engineering work goes to private sector bidders. In Arizona and Florida, that number is 80%, but in California it is a paltry 10%.
End it, period. It's Jerry Brown's failure and it needs to be retired with him.
I unequivocally support clean air and water – conservatives believe in protecting our natural resources. But we shouldn't do that on the backs of taxpayers already struggling under California's high taxes.
Proposition 47 and AB 109 have been complete disasters. Coupled with the passage of the sanctuary state, these laws put public safety and security in jeopardy - and the Democratic leadership is responsible. The first job and duty of government is to protect its people. Safety and security will be the first priority on Day One when I'm elected governor, and I will work immediately to end the sanctuary state law and undo Prop. 47 and AB 109.
Age 51
Birthplace (city) San Francisco
Residence (city) Kentfield
Education Bachelor's degree, political science, Santa Clara University, 1989.
Experience California Lieutenant Governor, 2011-present; mayor of San Francisco, 2004-10; S.F. Board of Supervisors, 1997-2003; small-businessman.
I believe health care is a human right, which is why I'll ensure California leads the way on creating a single-payer health care system. We can create a more efficient, effective and comprehensive health care system that works for patients and providers alike, available regardless of one’s ability to pay, pre-existing conditions or immigration status, and including coverage for physical, mental and behavioral health issues. The status quo isn't working. A UCLA study determined that Californians are already spending $367.5 billion annually on health care - and that number continues to escalate. We must end the costly conveyor belt of paperwork and co-pays and allow providers to focus on patient care. As mayor, I created Healthy SF, which even today remains the only citywide and countywide universal health program in the nation. The program has paid for itself many times over in the form of preventative care and healthier outcomes. It's time to do the same for the state.
Too many Californians are staring at our sky-high economy from the very bottom of the income ladder, while the costs of everyday life in California rise faster than wages. This is a question of who we are. Housing is a fundamental human need. As governor, I will lead the effort to develop the 3.5 million new housing units we need by 2025 because our solutions must be as bold as the problem is big. As mayor, I supported strong tenant protections, rent control and rent stabilization efforts, and ushered the development of thousands of new affordable units. As governor, I believe we must implement stronger tenant protections and expand rent control to prevent people from being displaced. We can do so in a way that still provides incentives for increased housing production. I am also committed to tackling homelessness. As governor, I will appoint a homelessness secretary to oversee an interagency council because we need statewide leadership laser-focused on this problem.
I commend the governor and Legislature for the action they took to generate new revenue to tackle our infrastructure backlog, but we must do more. First and foremost, we must fight against the repeal of the gas tax and protect the progress we’ve already made. As governor, I will support sales tax initiatives to capture revenue for transit infrastructure, and will support efforts to change the bond thresholds for infrastructure at the local level. Moreover, I believe it’s time to develop our own state bank to build our infrastructure, repair our roads, bridges and airports, and construct new health care facilities, provide student loans and small-business loans, and help build the 3.5 million new housing units we need to develop by 2025.
I was one of the original supporters of high-speed rail. I supported it for the same reasons then I support it today – it holds promise to create thousands of jobs, improve mobility for Californians, generate tens of millions in economic development, improve air quality and help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But I have also consistently expressed concerns with the long-term funding plan – particularly that projected federal and private funding hasn’t materialized – and the updated business plan underscores those profound funding challenges. I have confidence in the new leadership of the Authority appointed by Governor Brown and, with this project underway, our focus must now be on vigilant oversight – learning from prior mistakes, demanding the project stay on time and on budget and attracting a private-sector partner.
President Trump is moving at breakneck pace to reverse the great progress achieved by the environmental movement. I know that California does not have to wait for Washington to be a global leader on any issue  —  and certainly not when it comes to energy and the environment. On Day One of my governorship, I’ll put California on a clear path to 100% renewable energy. While Trump rolls back federal fuel efficiency standards, I'll put us on a fast track to zero-emission vehicles starting with a goal of zero diesel pollution by 2030. While Trump rolls back federal land protections, I'll ensure our state lands are even more accessible for more Californians. While Trump sucks up to big polluters, I'll protect California's shoreline and make it crystal clear that California’s door is closed to President Trump’s Pacific oil and gas drilling. While Trump eliminates environmental justice funding, I'll ensure California defends every resident’s right to clean air, clean water and healthy food.
There are gross racial and socioeconomic inequities in our criminal justice system, which is why I am proud to be the only statewide official to endorse all five major criminal justice ballot initiatives including sentencing reform, three-strikes reform and repeal of the death penalty. I led the coalition to decriminalize cannabis, taking a bold step forward toward ending the failed war on drugs. As governor, I will continue to step up and step in to this debate – I am committed to ending the discriminatory cash bail system and shutting down for-profit prisons.