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Gavin Newsom

Also Known As Gavin Christopher Newsom

Governor of California

Gavin Newsom's profile picture

Gavin Christopher Newsom is an American politician and businessman who has been the 40th governor of California since 2019. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as the 49th lieutenant governor of California from 2011 to 2019 and the 42nd mayor of San Francisco from 2004 to 2011.

Newsom graduated from Santa Clara University in 1989. Afterward, he founded the PlumpJack Group with billionaire heir and family friend, Gordon Getty, as an investor. The wine store grew to manage 23 businesses, including wineries, restaurants and hotels. Newsom began his political career in 1996, when San Francisco mayor Willie Brown appointed him to the city's Parking and Traffic Commission. Brown then appointed Newsom to fill a vacancy on the Board of Supervisors the next year and Newsom was first elected to the board in 1998.

Newsom was elected mayor of San Francisco in 2003 and reelected in 2007. He was elected lieutenant governor of California in 2010. As lieutenant governor, Newsom hosted The Gavin Newsom Show from 2012 to 2013. He also wrote the 2013 book Citizenville, about using digital tools for democratic change. He was reelected in 2014. Newsom was elected governor of California in 2018.

During his governorship, Newsom faced criticism for his personal behavior and leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was followed by an unsuccessful attempt to recall him from office in 2021. He was reelected in 2022. An analysis published in 2019 found his political positions to be more conservative than almost any Democratic legislator in California

Business career :

Newsom and his investors created the company PlumpJack Associates L.P. on May 14, 1991. The group started the PlumpJack Winery in 1992 with the financial help of his family friend Gordon Getty. PlumpJack was the name of an opera written by Getty, who invested in 10 of Newsom's 11 businesses. Getty told the San Francisco Chronicle that he treated Newsom like a son and invested in his first business venture because of that relationship. According to Getty, later business investments were because of "the success of the first".

One of Newsom's early interactions with government occurred when Newsom resisted the San Francisco Health Department requirement to install a sink at his PlumpJack wine store. The Health Department argued that wine was a food and required the store to install a $27,000 sink in the carpeted wine shop on the grounds that the shop needed the sink for a mop. When Newsom was later appointed supervisor, he told the San Francisco Examiner: "That's the kind of bureaucratic malaise I'm going to be working through."

The business grew to an enterprise with more than 700 employees. The PlumpJack Cafe Partners L.P. opened the PlumpJack Café, also on Fillmore Street, in 1993. Between 1993 and 2000, Newsom and his investors opened several other businesses that included the PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn with a PlumpJack Café (1994), a winery in Napa Valley (1995), the Balboa Café Bar and Grill (1995), the PlumpJack Development Fund L.P. (1996), the MatrixFillmore Bar (1998), PlumpJack Wines shop Noe Valley branch (1999), PlumpJackSport retail clothing (2000), and a second Balboa Café at Squaw Valley (2000). Newsom's investments included five restaurants and two retail clothing stores. Newsom's annual income was greater than $429,000 from 1996 to 2001. In 2002, his business holdings were valued at more than $6.9 million. Newsom gave a monthly $50 gift certificate to PlumpJack employees whose business ideas failed, because in his view, "There can be no success without failure."

Newsom sold his share of his San Francisco businesses when he became mayor in 2004. He maintained his ownership in the PlumpJack companies outside San Francisco, including the PlumpJack Winery in Oakville, California, new PlumpJack-owned Cade Winery in Angwin, California, and the PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn. He is the president in absentia of Airelle Wines Inc., which is connected to the PlumpJack Winery in Napa County. Newsom earned between $141,000 and $251,000 in 2007 from his business interests. In February 2006, he paid $2,350,000 for his residence in the Russian Hill neighborhood, which he put on the market in April 2009 for $3,000,000.

At the time of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse in March 2023, it was acknowledged that at least three of Newsom's wine companies, PlumpJack, Cade and Odette, were Silicon Valley Bank clients.

Early Life

Gavin Christopher Newsom born October 10, 1967 in San Francisco, California, to Tessa Thomas (née Menzies) and William Alfred Newsom III, a state appeals court judge and attorney for Getty Oil. He is a fourth-generation San Franciscan. One of Newsom's maternal great-grandfathers, Scotsman Thomas Addis, was a pioneer scientist in the field of nephrology and a professor of medicine at Stanford University. Newsom is the second cousin, twice removed, of musician Joanna Newsom. Newsom's aunt was married to Ron Pelosi, the brother-in-law of then Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

Newsom's parents divorced in 1972 when he was a boy.

Newsom joined Long Beach City College Superintendent Eloy Oakley in a November 2015 op-ed calling for the creation of the California College Promise, which would create partnerships between public schools, public universities, and employers and offer a free community college education. Throughout 2016, he joined Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf at the launch of the Oakland Promise and Second Lady Jill Biden and Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti at the launch of the LA Promise. In June 2016, Newsom helped secure $15 million in the state budget to support the creation of promise programs throughout the state.

In December 2015, Newsom called on the University of California to reclassify computer science courses as a core academic class to incentivize more high schools to offer computer science curriculum. He sponsored successful legislation signed by Governor Brown in September 2016, that began the planning process for expanding computer science education to all state students, beginning as early as kindergarten.

In 2016, Newsom passed a series of reforms at the University of California to give student-athletes additional academic and injury-related support, and to ensure that contracts for athletic directors and coaches emphasized academic progress. This came in response to several athletics programs, including the University of California – Berkeley's football team, which had the lowest graduation rates in the country.

Newsom has said he did not have an easy childhood, partly due to dyslexia. He attended kindergarten and first grade at Ecole Notre Dame Des Victoires, a French-American bilingual school in San Francisco, but eventually transferred out, due to the severe dyslexia that still affects him. It has challenged his abilities to write, spell, read, and work with numbers. Throughout his schooling, Newsom had to rely on a combination of audiobooks, digests, and informal verbal instruction. To this day, he prefers to interpret documents and reports through audio.

Newsom attended third through fifth grades at Notre Dame des Victoires, where he was placed in remedial reading classes. In high school, he played basketball and baseball and graduated from Redwood High School in 1985. Newsom was a shooting guard in basketball and an outfielder in baseball. His skills placed him on the cover of the Marin Independent Journal.

Tessa Newsom worked three jobs to support Gavin and his sister Hilary Newsom Callan. In an interview with The San Francisco Chronicle, his sister recalled Christmases when their mother told them they would not receive any gifts. Tessa opened their home to foster children, instilling in Newsom the importance of public service. His father's finances were strapped in part because of his tendency to give away his earnings. Newsom worked several jobs in high school to help support his family.

Newsom attended Santa Clara University on a partial baseball scholarship, graduating in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science with a major in political science. He was a left-handed pitcher for Santa Clara, but he threw his arm out after two years and has not thrown a baseball since. He lived in the Alameda Apartments, which he later compared to living in a hotel. He has reflected on his education fondly, crediting Santa Clara's Jesuit approach with helping him become an independent thinker who questions orthodoxy. While in school, Newsom spent a semester studying abroad in Rome, Italy.

Newsom was baptized and raised in his father's Catholic faith. He has described himself as an "Irish Catholic rebel...in some respects, but one that still has tremendous admiration for the Church and very strong faith". When asked about the state of the Catholic Church in 2008, he said it was in crisis. He said he stays with the Church because of his "strong connection to a greater purpose, and...higher being". Newsom identifies as a practicing Catholic, saying that he has a "strong sense of faith that is perennial, day in and day out". He is the godfather of designer and model Nats Getty.

In December 2001, Newsom married Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former San Francisco prosecutor and legal commentator for Court TV, CNN, and MSNBC. They married at Saint Ignatius Catholic Church on the campus of the University of San Francisco, where Guilfoyle had attended law school. The couple appeared in the September 2004 issue of Harper's Bazaar; the spread had them posed at the Getty Villa with the caption "the New Kennedys". They jointly filed for divorce in January 2005, citing "difficulties due to their careers on opposite coasts". Their divorce was finalized on February 28, 2006. Guilfoyle gained prominence in 2011 via a Fox News chat show. She was later named senior advisor to Republican President Donald Trump, whom Newsom has extensively criticized. Newsom later became an ordained minister with the Universal Life Church.

On January 31, 2007, Newsom's close friend, campaign manager, and former chief of staff Alex Tourk confronted Newsom after learning from his wife, Ruby Rippey-Tourk, that she and Newsom had an affair in 2005, when she was Newsom's appointments secretary. Tourk immediately resigned. Newsom admitted the affair the next day and apologized to the public, saying he was "deeply sorry" for his "personal lapse of judgment". In 2018, Rippey-Tourk said that she thought it wrong to associate Newsom's behavior with the #MeToo movement: "I was a subordinate, but I was also a free-thinking, 33-yr old adult married woman & mother.... I do want to make sure that the #metoo movement is reserved for cases and situations that deserve it."

Newsom began dating film director Jennifer Siebel in September 2006. He announced he would seek treatment for alcohol use disorder in February 2007. The couple announced their engagement in December 2007, and they were married in Stevensville, Montana, in July 2008. They have four children.

Newsom and his family moved from San Francisco to a house they bought in Kentfield in Marin County in 2012.

After his election as governor, Newsom and his family moved into the California Governor's Mansion in Downtown Sacramento and thereafter settled in Fair Oaks. In May 2019, The Sacramento Bee reported that Newsom's $3.7 million purchase of a 12,000 square foot home in Fair Oaks was the most expensive private residence sold in the Sacramento region since the year began

In August 2021, Newsom sold a Marin County home for $5.9 million in an off-market transaction. He had originally put the property up for sale in early 2019 for $5.895 million, but removed the property from the market after a price reduction to $5.695 million.


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