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'Energized' Newsom Begins Post-Recall Term Touting COVID Progress At Oakland School Visit

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) -- Following his landslide win in the recall election, Governor Gavin Newsom kicked off his post-recall activities Wednesday by highlighting the state's progress in combating COVID and getting children back in school during a visit to Oakland.

At the Melrose Leadership Academy elementary school in Oakland, Newsom called the overwhelming defeat of the recall a "gift" and that he's more "enlivened" and "energized."

He knows he has overwhelming support based on the vote, for what's on his agenda, including keeping schools open with mask mandates, during the pandemic.

State officials say fewer than 10 of the more than 10,000 schools in California have had to temporarily shut down due to COVID spread. Across the country, 2,000 schools have had to close according to the website Burbio, which tracks school closures.

"We were the first school system at the state level to require masking," said Newsom.

"It's not always popular, but good leaders make good decisions," said state Sen. Nancy Skinner.

Mask mandates are part of why Democrats believe the recall effort failed to gain traction.

Republican strategists believe there remain deep underlying issues, including the mishandling of EDD state unemployment benefits, costing taxpayers an estimated $30 plus billion paid out fraudulently during the pandemic.

"I don't think anybody, even those who voted for him would say everything is going perfectly," said Lanhee Chen, Hoover Institution fellow and Republican candidate for controller.

Next on the agenda, tackling the moratorium on evictions that expires at the end of the month, affordable housing, and homelessness.

"We're mindful. We have a lot more work to do, the unemployment rate is still high and a lot of businesses are still struggling," said Newsom.

"He has to figure out, he faces re-election next year, what he needs to do to hopefully improve his governance of the state," said Chen.

Newsom didn't take any questions on election night but said he had a conversation with President Biden Wednesday morning.

When asked if it was a good night for Dr. Fauci, the governor responded emphatically "yes" and went on to say, "You see what happens in states not led by science."

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