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New California Gov. Gavin Newsom vows alternative to Trump White House

By Clyde Hughes and Daniel Uria
New California Gov. Gavin Newsom vows alternative to Trump White House
New California Gov. Gavin Newsom was sworn in on Monday, promising to "offer an alternative to the corruption and incompetence in the White House." Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Gavin Newsom was sworn in as California's new governor Monday, pledging to "offer an alternative to the corruption and incompetence in the White House," which often feuded with is predecessor Gov. Jerry Brown.

Newsom, the former San Francisco mayor and lieutenant governor took the oath Monday afternoon, delivering a 25-minute speech in which he vowed to continue to oppose "an administration in Washington hostile to California's values and interests" on issues such as environmental protection, immigrant rights and health care.

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"People's lives, freedom, security, the water we drink, the air we breathe -- they all hang in the balance. The country is watching us. The world is waiting on us. The future depends on us. And we will seize this moment," he said.

Newsom was at one time best known for issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2004 while mayor of San Francisco, before the state's Supreme Court put a stop to it.

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Four years later, the state Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex marriages and the U.S. Supreme Court did the same in 2015.

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"This transition is really a passing of the torch, not just of one governor to another but from one generation to another," former California Gov. Gray Davis said, pointing out that Newsom, 51, is 30 years younger than Brown. "It's great that they have different styles. It's almost by necessity you have to govern for the times."

As governor he will try to keep his campaign promises and the state's large economy afloat.

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On the campaign trail,Newsom said he was committed to giving parents up to six months paid leave after having a child, giving a "more sober assessment" of a high-speed rail project championed by Brown, and making the second year of community college education free.

"When I think in terms of California, it's a nation-state," Newsom said of the state. "I think about those nations that invest in their future."

Newsom said his support for a $1.3 billion expansion of pre-kindergarten classes for children from low- and moderate-income families is part of his commitment to family issues. Newsom and his wife, filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom, have four children under the age of nine.

"It means something to me to have someone talking about policies that affect children and families who is going through that himself in real time," California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said of Newsom.

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On Monday he vowed to launch a "Marshall Plan for affordable housing and lift up the fight against homelessness from a local matter to a state-wide mission" to dissuade fears of eviction under the state's high cost of living.

While presenting the costly proposals, Newsom said he would also look to continue Brown's track record of fiscal responsibility at the head of the state.

"We will be prudent stewards of taxpayer dollars, pay down debt, and meet our future obligations and we will build and safeguard the largest fiscal reserve of any state in American history," he said.

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