Gavin Newsom (Gavin Christopher Newsom), born 10 October 1967,founded PlumpJack Management Group LLC in 1992 and serves as its Partner. Hon. Newsom also served as Principal of PlumpJack Management Group LLC. Hon. Newsom was sworn in to the office of Lieutenant Governor on January 10, 2011. He was elected the 42nd Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco on December 9, 2003. Hon. Newsom serves as Governor at State of California. He was elected three times to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and served on the Board from 1997 to 2004, where he worked with residents from every corner of the city to restore neighborhood parks, sponsored legislation implementing Rescue Muni’s reform plan and helped put Municipal Railway on the road to recovery. He has been an Ex Officio Regent of The Regents Of The University Of California since January 10, 2011. He is a graduate from Santa Clara University in 1989, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science.
In the civil war against Donald Trump, Newsom casts himself as Abe Lincoln. He says that California’s gubernatorial election will anoint “the next head of the resistance.” Much of Newsom’s Twitter feed, which has 1.4 million followers, is devoted to calling out the President, disputing him on issues and labelling him “a small, scared bully” and “a pathetic disgrace.” On the stump, Newsom points out that the “nation-state” of California is larger than a hundred and thirty-seven countries and has the fifth-largest economy on the planet. “The world is looking to us for leadership,” he often says.
Gavin Newsom Full Biography and Profile
As mayor of San Francisco from 2003-2011, the youngest elected to the position in a century, Newsom implemented the Health Choices Plan, providing universal health care for poor and uninsured city residents, and signed one of the country’s first menu-labeling laws, making chain restaurants prominently display nutritional information on their menus. In 2009, Newsom received the Leadership for Healthy Communities Award, along with New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for making healthy-food and physical-activity options more accessible to children and families. In 2013, Newsom published Citizenville, a book about ordinary citizens using technological tools to reshape the government into a modern, digital-based democracy, which reflects his ideas about the necessity of a modernized, innovative government structure.
Gavin Newsom was diagnosed with dyslexia at age five, but his mother didn’t tell him, for fear he would use his disability as a crutch. So while he labored to read, spell, and work with numbers, his little sister sailed through school effortlessly. “As an older brother,” he says, “that was more difficult than you can imagine. I was always wondering why she would get done with her homework quickly and I was still struggling to work through it, and why my parents were so demanding with me and so easy on her as it related to academics.”
When Newsom was in fifth grade, he discovered in his mother’s office a stash of papers reporting on his dismal academic performance and describing something called dyslexia. “That really hit home, and it explained why everyone else was running into their parents’ arms after school and I was stuck in that shack behind the school every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with four or five other students.”
Of all the learning difficulties he endured, Newsom says that reading aloud was “the most humiliating.” He can still recall his fifth-grade classroom and the row he sat in, “with my heart just sinking and pounding, hoping that that period would end and we’d get the hell out of there, and then getting up and starting to read and having everybody in the class laugh. That’s when I basically gave up on any reading. I did book reports by literally reading the back of the book and just copying the text, thinking the teacher would never find out.”
High school was even worse. “The grades were bad, my self-esteem started to collapse, and I remember faking being sick all the time to avoid math class, which I just couldn’t handle.” But because he was expected to attend college, Newsom began to take summer classes to catch up, knowing that he would never get into “a serious university. I took the SAT and it was a complete disaster, and they didn’t even argue for me to take it again, because it was just beyond stressful. And I’ll be honest: had it not been for my mother and some remedial training, I never would have gotten into college.” Thanks to those and his outstanding abilities in baseball, Newsom began to receive scholarship offers from a number of colleges and attended Santa Clara University in California on a partial baseball scholarship.
“Baseball gave me some self-esteem and confidence, and then I found my bliss and my passion in politics,” he says. Newsom declared a major in political science and turned his life around. “All of a sudden I got good grades, because I loved the subject matter. What I found was that there was a contemporary nature to politics, not political theory necessarily, but what was going on in real life, and as difficult as it was to learn about it, I actually cared enough about it to work a little harder. So I started looking at newspapers like textbooks, and to this day, I’ll still underline newspapers because, otherwise, I can read five pages and not remember one thing I read.” Though he has never read a novel, Newsom devours nonfiction and has a library of countless “Cliff’s Note versions” of articles and books he has read on politics and political science. “Because of overcompensation and the things you learn because you’re struggling, I have remarkable retention. In a political frame, there’s no greater gift, because you can really think on your feet.”
After graduating from college, Newsom worked briefly in sales and real estate before achieving success as an entrepreneur. With the support of a family friend and other investors, he formed a company called PlumpJack Associates in 1991. Starting out as a wine shop on Fillmore Street in San Francisco, the business eventually grew to include wineries, restaurants, inns, and retail clothing shops all over California. Newsom attributes his success in business to “a passion, which I decided was the secret of all success—finding that thing that motivated me beyond anything else and, with that, a willingness to fail and try new things.”
Newsom first stepped into the political arena in 1995 as a volunteer for Willie Brown’s mayoral campaign. He later served on a number of boards and commissions, including the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, where his business background was a major asset. From then on, Newsom has earned the respect of colleagues and the public for ignoring political expediency and taking tough stands on such issues as universal health care, chronic homelessness, sexual equality, and sustainability.
When asked to speak to students about his experiences, Newsom is gratified when parents tell him how inspiring it is to their dyslexic children to know he shares their disability and has achieved success, so they can too. The key, he tells students, is to “develop discipline, for when you can apply discipline to a problem in life, you can solve any problem. When you start to learn that, your self-esteem begins to change, and then so does your sense of self and possibility, every aspect of your life, small and large. One of the things you learn with dyslexia,” he says, “is that you’re going to fail often and you’ve got to appreciate that; as they say, failures are a portal of discovery. The secret of success is, as another dyslexic, Winston Churchill, said, ‘moving from failure to failure with enthusiasm.’”
Newsom also cites a favorite quote from Jerry Garcia, of the Grateful Dead: “‘You don’t want to be the best of the best.’ That’s what I was always learning. You had to do better on the SAT, be better at this, and get better grades in that. But you don’t want to be the best of the best. You want to be the only one who does what you do. Your expression’s unique; no one else has it.”
Gavin Newsom is the Governor of California, formerly Lieutenant Governor of California and Mayor of San Francisco:
Governor Newsom is married to Jennifer Siebel Newsom. They have four children: Montana, Hunter, Brooklynn, and Dutch.
Newsom is widely recognized for his bold willingness to lead – repeatedly developing, advocating, and implementing innovative and groundbreaking solutions to some of our most challenging issues. On a wide range of topics including same-sex marriage, gun safety, marijuana, the death penalty, universal health care, access to preschool, technology, criminal justice reform, and the minimum wage, Newsom stuck his neck out and did the right thing, which often led to sweeping changes when his policies were ultimately accepted, embraced, and replicated across the state and nation.
Newsom’s top priorities for his administration are tackling our state’s affordability crisis, creating inclusive economic growth and opportunity for every child, and standing up for California values that are under attack from Washington — from civil rights to immigration to environmental protection, education and increasing affordable access to quality schools at all levels, and justice.
Religious, Civic, and other Memberships
- Member, Board of Regents, University of California, present
- Member, Board of Trustees, California State University System, present
- Member, State Lands Commission, present
- Member, Board of Supervisors, City of San Francisco, 1996-2004
- Member/President, Parking and Traffic Commission, City of San Francisco, 1996-1997
When Newsom can’t defuse a challenge, he sometimes gets sulky. This spring, a group of billionaires who favor charter schools began funding a pac supporting Newsom’s chief Democratic rival, the former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The pac raised and spent more than twenty-two million dollars; Michael Bloomberg and Eli Broad, former Newsom allies, donated five million between them. Newsom immediately wrote off both men: “They clearly do not want to have a relationship anymore.” He was a little less brusque with Reed Hastings, the Netflix C.E.O., who’d given seven million. Hastings told me he explained to Newsom that “it wasn’t an anti-Gavin thing—it was just that I had a great relationship with Antonio.”
Newsom said, “We had this strange conversation where I told Reed, ‘I thought you guys would only put in ten million’—I really thought five—and he said, ‘I’m only putting in half of what I otherwise would, because it’s you.’ ” Newsom snorted. “With all due respect to Antonio, it’s demonstrated they can’t win by building him up, so they have to tear me down. If they can knock me down three or four points and come in second, then they’re validated. And then they could put in a hundred million dollars in the general, easy—easy! ” He told me, somewhat implausibly, that he hadn’t seen the attack ads the pac was airing: “Is it the arrogant-jerk, slicked-hair thing? Yeah, I get it.” He grimaced at the unfairness. Newsom—the clear leader in the race, a multimillionaire who had already raised thirty-two million dollars—was casting himself as an upstart being steamrolled by the moneyed élite.
Through his friendship and business partnership with Gordon and Ann Getty’s son Billy, Newsom was at the center of the social scene led by the younger generation of San Francisco’s wealthy families. Those relationships would form the foundation of his life in politics.
“These kids had all grown up together, or played sports or gone to school together or later dated,” said Catherine Bigelow, a longtime San Francisco society writer. “In the early ’90s [they] didn’t want to go to the parties their parents were going to. Billy and Gavin opened a wine shop and restaurant when they took over the Balboa Café, creating this really cool scene.”
This was San Francisco before the tech boom and before social media. The Balboa Café, a Marina standard that Billy Getty and Newsom bought and updated, was described by the New York Times in 1998 as “a glittering nexus for Gen-X San Franciscans with social and political connections.”
Newsom was a gifted baseball player. But it wasn’t just baseball that got him into college; Newsom received a letter of recommendation from none other than Jerry Brown.
“I literally got into Santa Clara University exclusively because of my athletic abilities playing baseball,” Newsom said at a meeting of the University of California Board of Regents. “I don’t think I broke 1,000 on my SAT.” Except for Gov. Jerry Brown, who provided a letter of recommendation for him, Newsom said, “there wasn’t much expectation that I’d get into any university.”
Nonpartisan factchecker PolitiFact has found that Newsom generally sticks to the truth when he talks. PolitiFact found that 68 percent of the Newsom statements they evaluated were either “True” or “Mostly True,” while 21 percent of his statements were rated “False” or “Mostly False.”
Newsom has no statements rated “Pants on Fire,” a classification PolitiFact reserves for the boldest misstatements.
- Gavin Christopher Newsom Biography and Profile (Goodreadbiography / DYale)