Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom stops by SDSU ahead of midterm elections


David Santillan

Gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom speaking during a “bus stop” rally on Nov. 2 at San Diego State.

by Bella Ross, News Editor

California Lt. Governor and gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom took some time to talk with students during a quick stop by East Commons at San Diego State just four days before voters hit the polls.

Polling conducted by the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies shows Newsom, a Democrat, at 18 points ahead of his Republican opponent, John Cox.

In an appeal to California Democrats, Newsom assured them, above all, everything is going to get figured out.

“When you’re sitting there, self-medicating, watching Rachel Maddow every night, just remember that we’re going to be all right,” he said.

Despite what Newsom described as a “problematic” history of conservative policy, he said California has a good track record when it comes to bouncing back. He said the 1980s and ’90s, an especially conservative era for the state, could serve as a parallel to current American politics. Newsom cited decisions like Proposition 187 in 1994, which banned some public services from being provided to undocumented people, as well as Proposition 227 in 1998, which eliminated bilingual education in public schools.

“Fast forward to today,” Newsom said. “You’re about to vote in four days and the Republican party is in third-party status in the state of California, Prop 187 was thrown out as unconstitutional in the courts and, finally, we’re having a debate again about addressing the issues of affirmative action. That’s resiliency. That’s California. That was our comeback story.”

The event, which was hosted the California Faculty Association — the union that represents CSU faculty — hosted 7 Democratic and union figures who both supported Newsom’s candidacy and had a central focus on promoting public education.

“He shows up, he gets it done and he holds the line,” State Senator Toni Atkins said. “He is creative, he is innovative, he is forward-looking, he is about the economy of California, he knows that early childhood education is critical and he knows you’ve got to carry it all the way through.”

CFA President Jennifer Eagan said, when it came to raising tuition in the CSU, Newsom stood with students.

“He was there for CSU students when some people on the board though that raising tuition on students, yet again, was a good idea,” Eagan said. “It was not. Gavin knew that.”

When asked about the tuition loan burden many students around the county face as a result of high tuition costs, Newsom said it can be difficult for politicians to live up to the promises they make on the campaign trail.
“It’s easy to complain about others not doing enough investment (in higher education), but once you get closer to the office, you get a little bit more anxious about being the recipient of that critique,” Newsom said.

He added he is not naive to the realities of balancing budgets, but he is nonetheless committed to increasing state investment in higher education in the interest of students.

The importance of the upcoming election was another point that was driven home by Newsom and his supporters. SDSU women’s studies professor and university CFA chapter Vice President Doreen Mattingly said next week’s election is the first real chance America will have to react changes in the political system since President Donald Trump took office.

“This is our first chance to really make a stand for justice, to make a stand for equality and they come together to make a stand for education,” Mattingly said. “Without education, there is no way to fight against ignorance and no way to fight against fear.”

Echoing the calls of political figures across the nation, Newsom and his supporters each took time to remind students to get out and vote on Nov. 6.

SDSU College Democrats President Kaila Cooper said the importance of voting cannot be understated. This kind of sentiment comes largely in response to recent claims that states such as Georgia have engaged widespread voter suppression.

“There are people right now trying to make sure that certain people are restricted from (exercising their right to vote),” Cooper said. “But, why? If your vote doesn’t matter, then why are people willing to ignore the constitution to ensure you never reach that ballot box?”