Fresno welcomed Gavin Newsom, Mayor of San Francisco and candidate for California Governor in 2010, to a Town Hall on Wednesday, April 29th, at Wawona Middle School. Gavin participated in a youth meeting, a meeting with selected guests, and a Town Hall open to the public.
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Newsom spoke at the Town Hall for about 30 minutes before taking questions from the audience. He addressed many issues, including the economy, energy, the school system, health care and same sex marriage, for which he received a standing ovation for his views.
On the issue of health care, Newsom created a revolutionary, universal health care system in San Francisco, and told the Town Hall audience there’s no reason not to do the same for the state of California. Following is an excerpt from Newsom’s website explaining his health care system in SF:
"Mayor Gavin Newsom isn’t waiting for the politicians in Sacramento to solve this problem – he’s created the only universal health care program in the country. In 2007, Mayor Newsom launched Healthy San Francisco to provide health care for all San Francisco residents. Remarkable for its simplicity, this groundbreaking program allows participants to select where they want to receive primary care from among dozens of hospitals and clinics, both public and private – no lengthy HMO paperwork and no denial of treatment. In a recent speech, President Barack Obama said: "Instead of just talking about health care, mayors like Gavin Newsom…have been ensuring that those in need receive it."
One of the most fascinating things I found about Newsom was his seemingly unwavering dedication to honesty. During the Town Hall, when addressing the water issue in California he found himself on the subject of the millions that are paying for bottled water. He boldly stated that some bottled waters are nothing more than "tap water from New York City". To hear a politician choose principal over corporate double talk is fairly amazing. His clean and simple position on same sex marriage is particularly refreshing.
Before the Town Hall I was able to have a brief discussion with Newsom about the current status of legal same sex marriage. I can tell you that there’s no lack of conviction to his support of this issue, even though he’s now in a campaign not just with the city of San Francisco, but with the entire state of California. A hot button issue such as same sex marriage would normally dampen the passion of a politician running for a major office, as we’ve seen time and time again, but not with Newsom. He believes the majority in the state is shifting our way, and while the Supreme Court case requesting Prop 8 be viewed as a revision rather than an amendment may fail, he feels it was the right way to argue the case.
Another pleasant surprise came when I asked Newsom if he thought we could get a ballot measure on in 2010 should the court uphold Prop 8, he said yes. He added that it would probably be damaging to his run for Governor, given his ties to the issue, but quickly held up his hand and stated that was unimportant. "The most important issue is equal rights, not my run for Governor."
Later, at the Town Hall, I was thrilled with his conversation about LGBT marriage rights. He sticks to the very critical and simple truths, such as the fact that 70% of Americans disagreed with the courts at the time the ban on interracial marriage was lifted, and that the majority cannot be allowed to restrict the rights of the minority. Newsom is big on "separate is not equal", and you won’t hear him suggesting civil unions or any other compromise on equal rights.
As I stood with the audience at the end of the Town Hall, Newsom was escorted out as he signed autographs and shook hands. I turned to those I was with and said the only thing that was on my mind, "When have you ever heard a politician say things like that?"
Visit the following links to learn more about Gavin Newsom and his position on the issues. You can also sign up to stay in touch with Gavin on his various web pages. A link to a full length video with Gavin is at the end of this article.
Gavin Newsom Links:
Watch a recent full length video of Gavin Newsom speaking to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco by clicking on the following link: FORA TV – Gavin Newsom Speaking to Commonwealth Club in SF