Back when he first became California’s lieutenant governor, in 2011, Gavin Newsom held out hope that he might turn his largely ceremonial post into something more consequential.
So Newsom, taking office at a time of economic unrest, spent his first six months in office focusing on economic development. He traveled the state, met with hundreds of people and published a jobs plan.
You could be forgiven for not noticing.
Many of Newsom’s ideas had been suggested before, and within weeks of Newsom releasing his plan, he got big-footed by Gov. Jerry Brown. The governor unveiled his own jobs initiative, proposed changes to the state’s corporate tax structure and appointed a senior jobs adviser whose name wasn’t Newsom.
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By late 2011, Newsom acknowledged his plan “kind of got sidetracked a little bit.”
Now five years later, however, Newsom is open to taking some credit.
In a report Wednesday, Newsom’s office said many of his recommendations have moved forward since the plan’s publication. These include creating a high-level state office focused on economic development and the re-opening foreign trade offices disbanded in 2003.
A news release accompanying the report on the report was titled: “Report didn’t gather dust: new review finds over 75-percent of recommendations from Gavin Newsom’s state economic plan acted upon.”
Newsom was praised by business leaders in 2011 for his efforts, and in his most recent report he credited Brown and the Legislature for their role in “bringing California back from the brink.” The economy and the state budget have rebounded since 2011.
Still, the economic recovery has been uneven and the state’s poverty rate remains high.
“Our nearly 250-year-old system is in flux as rapid technological evolution coupled with accelerated globalization has led to a world of profound contrasts and inequalities,” Newsom said in a prepared statement.
Newsom, who is now running for governor, has another report to write. He said, “I aim to address these challenges in a future economic plan.”