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The Pandemic To The Gas Crisis, Newsom Addresses California's Future

SACRAMENTO (CBSLA) — A year after Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed Californians from an empty Dodger's Stadium, the Governor returned to the podium to put COVID-19 in the rear-view and to combat the other crises the state faces.

"No state took bolder steps to protect public health and human life over the last two years," said Newsom. "Our lockdowns as distressing as they were saved lives."

He began his speech referencing the war in Ukraine and how the fight against authoritarianism abroad has affected Californians at the gas pump. With state gas prices the highest in the country, Newsom pledged to ease the burden on residents.

"In January, we proposed a pause to the gas tax increase," he said. "Now it's clear we have to farther. That's why, working with legislative leadership, I'll be working to put money back in the pockets of Californians to address rising gas prices."

But the governor stopped short of fully reverting to fossil fuels calling on the state to continue its push to becoming carbon-neutral.

"One thing we cannot do is embrace the mistakes of the past, by embracing polluters," Newsom said.

Even as the homeless population continues to grow, Newsom said that the state is making progress in solving the crisis. He reiterated his proposal to those struggling with addiction and mental health problems into treatment.

"Many are self-medicating with drug and alcohol addictions," he said. "That's precisely what our care counts are meant to address."

While Newsom hit all of the big issues, some political experts believe that this speech placed the governor in a strong position for the upcoming re-election campaign, especially since the GOP has yet to place a contender in the spotlight.

"This really struck me as 'rah rah' California," said Loyola Law Professor and political analyst Jessica Levinson. "You saw him moving into campaign mode with these slogans."

The California GOP released a statement bashing Newsom's speech.

"Gavin Newsom's glowing self-assessment lacked any semblance of reality. Make no mistake, despite his presidential ambitions, Newsom's a failure, and no speech can change the fact. California today has America's highest unemployment rate, highest gas prices and holds more than a quarter of the nation's homeless population."


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