Meet Gavin Newsom, the multimillionaire governor who is the face of California’s response to the coronavirus pandemic

gavin newsom california coronavirusgavin newsom california coronavirus

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announces a state of emergency in California on Wednesday, March 4, 2020.

Photo/Rich Pedroncelli


Gavin Newsom, California’s Democratic governor, issued a state-wide stay-at-home order on March 19. He was the first US governor to do so.

gavin newsom california coronavirus

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announces a state of emergency in California on Wednesday, March 4, 2020.

Photo/Rich Pedroncelli


Source: The Atlantic, Los Angeles Times, Business Insider

He is also planning a multi-state response to the pandemic along with Oregon and Washington, which entails a coordinated economic reopening effort.

gavin newsom california coronavirus

California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Photo/Rich Pedroncelli


Source: The Atlantic, Business Insider

Additionally, he requested autopsies be performed on individuals who may have died due to the novel coronavirus as far back as December, following news that two individuals who died in February posthumously tested positive for COVID-19.

FILE - In this file photo taken Tuesday April 14, 2020, California Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses an outline for what it will take to lift coronavirus restrictions during a news conference at the Governor's Office of Emergency Services in Rancho Cordova, Calif.  President Donald Trump declared that states could “call your own shots” in determining how and when to loosen restrictions on businesses and social gatherings. Clusters of states representing the vast majority of Americans have decided cooperation in dealing with the coronavirus is the better option. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli,File)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom addressing the coronavirus pandemic on April 14, 2020.

Associated Press


Source: Mercury News

Newsom’s swift response to the pandemic has been generally praised. Before the pandemic, his approval rating was 42%. Now, Newsom’s approval rating is 83%, according to Morning Consult polls.

Gavin Newsom

Gavin Newsom in 2014.

REUTERS/Stephen Lam


Source: FiveThirtyEight, Morning Consult

The 52-year-old is a San Francisco native.

Gavin Newsom

Gavin Newsom.

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File


Source: The New Yorker

His parents divorced when he was two-years-old. His father was a California judge and close counsel to the oil billionaire Gordon Getty.

gavin newsom william newsom

Gavin Newsom, shakes hands with his father, a former Associated Justice of the California Court of Appeals, who swore his son into office as Lt. Governor in July 2011.

Rich Pedroncelli/AP Images


Source: The New Yorker

Newsom studied political science and played baseball on a partial scholarship at Santa Clara University.

Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University.

Getty


Source: San Francisco Gate

After graduating, Newsom opened PlumpJack Wine & Spirits with his father’s close friend, billionaire Gordon Getty, in 1992. They went on to open off-shoots, including bars, restaurants, and liquor stores under the umbrella company, PlumpJack Group.

gavin newsom gordon getty jerry brown

Gavin Newsom, Gordon Getty, and Jerry Brown enjoy a glass of wine during a hospitality event at the PlumpJack Winery in Oakville, California in June, 2004.

Eric Risberg/AP Images


Source: Forbes, The New Yorker

Getty, who has an estimated net worth of $2.1 billion, previously said he “thought of Newsom as a son,” according to The New Yorker.

Gordon Getty

Gordon Getty at a winery-related event in 2013.

Eric Risberg/AP Images


Source: Forbes, The New Yorker

By the early 2000s, Newsom was involved with 11 businesses including PlumpJack, and Getty was the main investor in 10 of them. Newsom owned 49% of the label when he became the mayor of San Francisco in 2003.

gavin newsom kimberly guillfoyle

Gavin Newsom, left, celebrates with then-wife Kimberly Guilfoyle, center, after winning the election for Mayor of San Francisco in San Francisco in December 2003.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Images


Source: San Francisco Chronicle, The New Yorker

While he sold his stakes in San Francisco-based businesses after becoming mayor, he has always maintained his stakes in businesses based elsewhere. Today, that amounts to 23 businesses under the PlumpJack Group umbrella.

plumpjack

A PlumpJack Wine & Spirits store in 2018.

Eric Risberg/AP Images


Source: Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker

A 2017 disclosure showed that Newsom had more than $6 million in investments and assets. There is also an additional $10 million-plus held by PlumpJack businesses, which now sit in a blind trust out of Newsom’s control.

FILE PHOTO: California governor Gavin Newsom reacts after signing SB 113, which will enable the transfer of $331million in state funds to the National Mortgage Special Deposit Fund in San Diego, California, U.S. October 9, 2019.   REUTERS/ Mike Blake/File Photo

Newsom in a press conference in October 2019.

Reuters


Source: Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times

Newsom was married to Kimberly Guilfoyle when he took public office in 2004. The pair married in 2001 and divorced in 2006. She went on to become a Fox News host and is currently in a relationship with Donald Trump Jr.

Kimberly Guilfoyle Gavin Newsom

Newsom and Guilfoyle after voting in the mayoral election in 2003.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


Source: Business Insider

In 2004, Guilfoyle told The New Yorker: “If San Francisco were a woman, [Newsom] would have married her.”

Kimberly Guilfoyle Gavin Newsom

Gavin Newsom, takes the oath of office from his father Judge William Newsom, with wife Kimberly Guilfoyle, during his mayoral inauguration in January 2004.

AP


Source: The New Yorker

Newsom was always known to champion liberal causes. As mayor, he prioritized affordable housing and gained national attention when he issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples in spite of state law at the time.

Gavin Newsom pride parade 2004

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, center, waves to the crowds at the 34th annual Gay Pride Parade down Market Street in San Francisco, Sunday, June 27, 2004.

Dino Vournas/AP Images


Source: Los Angeles Times

In 2007, it surfaced that Newsom had an affair with his secretary, who was also the wife of his deputy chief of staff, in 2005. Following headlines, he publicly sought counseling for alcohol abuse. He was re-elected as mayor that year with 72% of the vote.

gavin newsom mayoral campaign

Gavin Newsom smiles at supporters at his re-election campaign headquarters in San Francisco in November 2007.

Paul Sakuma/AP Images


Source: The New Yorker

He married Jennifer Siebel, a filmmaker and actress, shortly after in 2008. They currently live just outside of Sacramento and have four children together.

gavin newsom wife jennifer seibel

Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Gov. Gavin Newsom at Sacramento City College on July 1, 2019.

Rich Pedroncelli/AP Images


 Source: People

After serving two terms as San Francisco mayor, Newsom went on to become the lieutenant governor of California in 2010. He failed to land the gubernatorial nomination that same year.

jerry brown gavin newsom bill clinton

Former President Bill Clinton and Gavin Newsom listen as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown speaks at a campaign event in 2010.

Chris Carlson/AP Images


Source: New York Times

As lieutenant governor, his main duty was to step in should the governor be temporarily absent from the office. In 2015, Newsom announced he would campaign to succeed Jerry Brown as the governor of California in 2018.

gavin newsom family

California Governor Gavin Newsom, along with his wife and family, wave after taking the oath office during his inauguration in January 2019.

Rich Pedroncelli/AP Images


Source: Sacramento Bee, Politico, Ballotpedia

Newsom ran for governor positioning himself as the antithesis to President Trump, pledging to support initiatives ranging from healthcare to affordable housing and public education.

gavin newsom

Gavin Newsom and his son during his gubernatorial inauguration on Jan. 7, 2019.

Rich Pedroncelli/AP


Source: Los Angeles Times, Washington Post

At his inauguration in January 2019, he said: “We will offer an alternative to the corruption and incompetence in the White House. Our government will be progressive, principled, and always on the side of the people.”

governor newsom inauguration

Gov. Gavin Newsom holds his son while giving his address at his inauguration on Jan. 7, 2019.

Eric Risberg/AP Images


Source: Washington Post

Newsom earns a yearly salary of $201,680 as California’s governor.

California Governor Gavin Newsom

Newsom speaking at a press briefing in March 2020.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


Source: Business Insider

Both Newsom’s supporters and critics have noted he had an erratic first year as governor, focused on too many causes, resulting in Newsom telling the Los Angeles Times: “If today’s critique is we’re swinging at a lot of pitches, absolutely, that is fair criticism.”

gavin newsom

Newsom speaks at a press briefing in June 2019.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


Source: Los Angeles Times

As governor, Newsom halted all death row executions, blocked the approval of fracking in the state, and pulled many National Guard troops from the US-Mexico border.

FILE PHOTO: California governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference as he signs SB 113, which will enable the transfer of $331million in state funds to the National Mortgage Special Deposit Fund in San Diego, California, U.S. October 9, 2019.       REUTERS/ Mike Blake

Newsom speaks at a press briefing in October 2019.

Reuters


Source: Los Angeles Times

Newsom has also faced challenges like mass blackouts, for which he publicly faulted California’s largest utilities provider, Pacific Gas & Electric, and earthquakes, which he responded to by issuing a state of emergency.

FILE PHOTO - California governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference as he signs SB 113, which will enable the transfer of $331million in state funds to the National Mortgage Special Deposit Fund in San Diego, California, U.S. October 9, 2019.       REUTERS/ Mike Blake

Newsom speaks at a press briefing in October 2019.

Reuters


Source: Los Angeles Times

The coronavirus pandemic set the stage for yet another state of emergency in California, and in an April 22 press briefing, Newsom said: “I don’t anticipate that normalcy that many of us wish for happening any time soon.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks in front of the hospital ship USNS Mercy that arrived into the Port of Los Angeles on March 27.

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks in front of the hospital ship USNS Mercy that arrived into the Port of Los Angeles on March 27.

Carolyn Cole-Pool/Getty


Source: Business Insider

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