Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Rising California stars set to shine as Democratic convention closes

Members of the California delegation, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Gov. Jerry Brown, and Sen. Barbara Boxer, announce their votes for Hillary Clinton during the roll call at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, July 26, 2016.
Members of the California delegation, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Gov. Jerry Brown, and Sen. Barbara Boxer, announce their votes for Hillary Clinton during the roll call at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, July 26, 2016. TNS

As excited state delegations stepped up to the Democratic National Convention mic to nominate their presidential nominee on Tuesday, representatives of some of the deeper-red states pointed not to liberal accomplishments but to nonpartisan points of pride (Idaho’s delegation mentioned abundant mountain peaks).

California had no such issue. Backdropped by a beaming crowd of California Democrats, Gov. Jerry Brown cast his blue state’s record on climate change, minimum wage and immigration as a rebuke to Republican nominee Donald Trump. Brown represented California again during a thunderously received Wednesday night speech in which he set aside his one-time animosity toward the Clinton clan to back nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton, calling her better on climate change than the “fraud” Trump.

If the 78-year-old Brown offers a symbol of California Democrats’ past record, today’s expected speaker agenda suggests a glimpse at the party’s future. Before Clinton officially accepts her party’s nomination tonight, the stage is scheduled to belong to Tom Steyer, the wealthy potential gubernatorial candidate who has invested heavily in fighting climate change and tobacco use; former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has stayed coy about the possibility of becoming California’s first Latino governor; and also-ascendant Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

It’s an appropriate lead-in given how Philadelphia is teeming with ambitious California Democrats this week, helping to set the stage for the 2018 governor’s race. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a leading 2018 hopeful, burnished his LGBTQ bona fides when he assailed VP pick and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence during his speech yesterday, and gubernatorial rival John Chiang, the state treasurer, has been bending ears as well.

VIDEOS OF THE DAY: Sen. Barbara Boxer says goodbye and California’s acting governor gets a workout.

WORTH REPEATING: “I commend him for choosing a job that makes the world a cleaner, better place.” – Brown on 6-year-old Ethan Dean, who is battling cystic fibrosis and visited the governor’s office as part of his Make-A-Wish Foundation sponsored day working as a garbageman.

ENERGETIC: Climate change policies once again figure heavily into Sacramento’s plans, particularly with the uncertainty about the pivotal cap-and-trade program. Today Public Policy Institute of California researcher David Kordus will discuss recent survey results suggesting Californians both back the current suite of climate change policies and favor doing more, even if it means higher energy costs. Kordus will dissect the data from noon to 1:30 p.m. at 1020 11th Street.

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT: The mass transfer of low-level felons from prisons to jails and probation systems, spurred by the Supreme Court ordering California to depopulate its overcrowded prisons, has been California’s dominant criminal justice story for the last half decade. Has realignment worked? A pair of University of California, Irvine criminologists will survey the evidence during a UC Center Sacramento talk today, from noon to 1 p.m. at 1130 K Street.

LITTLE ONES: Research shows that different levels of access to resources and education start dividing kids early. That divergence helps explain why early childhood education tops the agenda of Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Paramount. Today the First 5 California Commission, which focuses on boosting the fortunes of the youngest Californians, will be discussing ways to close the achievement gap. The commission’s meeting begins at 10 a.m. at the Marriott Courtyard Sacramento Airport Hotel.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert

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