2022 California governor’s voter guide: Newsom vs. Dahle

GAVIN NEWSOM

Newsom’s political career began in 1996 when then-Mayor Willie Brown appointed him to the San Francisco Parking and Traffic Commission and the following year to the San Francisco Board of Directors. He became San Francisco’s youngest mayor in 2004, later served as lieutenant governor, and captured the governorship in 2018 by the widest margin in more than a century.

During his tenure in public office, Newsom has earned a reputation for championing progressive causes. He campaigned for LGBTQ rights and, as mayor, issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Months into his tenure as governor, he imposed a moratorium on the death penalty in California. In August, the Legislature acceded to its call to impose tougher restrictions on the oil and gas industry, including buffer zones between new wells and neighborhoods and schools, to the delight of environmental justice advocates.

But his actions don’t always support his liberal image.

On the San Francisco political scale, Newsom has often been viewed as a business-friendly moderate. Its Care Not Cash program, which aimed to cut welfare payments to single homeless adults and instead spend the funds on shelters, apartments and services, has been widely criticized by activists, who have called it heartless.

That year he competed against the American Civil Liberties Union, Disability Rights California and the Western Center on Law and Poverty, who opposed his law establishing a Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) court system. CARE Court aims to provide court-ordered treatment to thousands of Californians suffering from a mix of serious mental illness, homelessness and addiction.

Capitol Democrats this year also followed his call to expand operations at Diablo Canyon, reversing an agreement environmental groups reached six years ago to shut down California’s last remaining nuclear plant for safety reasons.

The 55-year-old governor has largely focused his re-election campaign outside of California. Newsom has paid little attention to Dahle, instead taking to social media and speeches across the country to position himself as the national Democratic leader opposed to Republican governors. He challenged Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida to a debate. His first ads after the primary ran in Florida, and he promoted a California website to help people search for abortions on billboards in seven states with the most restrictive abortion bans.

His attempts to garner national attention have sparked speculation that he is running a not-so-shadow campaign for president, though he denies having any interest in the White House and says he supports President Biden.

Brian Dale

Dahle is a conservative Senator from the small town of Bieber in northeastern California. The 57-year-old rep served on the Lassen County Board of Supervisors for 16 years before being elected to the California Legislature in 2012. He was chairman of the Republican Convention before being elected to the state Senate in 2018. He focused on water, forestry, wildfires and housing issues, working with elected officials from every western state.

Friends and colleagues in Lassen County and the State Capitol praise Dahle for his warm, friendly demeanor. While remaining true to his conservative views, he avoids the caustic partisan politics that are pervasive in Washington and in the national dialogue.

Dahle was a member of the Quincy Library Group, a consortium of environmentalists, logging company representatives and elected officials in northeastern California. The group was formed to quell decades of contentious struggles over management policies for national forest lands in the northern Sierra Nevada.

Dahle and others worked with California Sen. Diane Feinstein and other Democrats and Republicans in Congress to pass a short-lived regional forest management program in 1998 that partially thinned out combustible overgrowth to prevent catastrophic wildfires.

In addition to his work at the Capitol with his wife, Rep. Megan Dahle, the senator runs a 1,000-acre seed farm outside of Bieber on land his family has owned for generations.

After high school, college wasn’t an option for Dahle and his three siblings, he said. The family had a lot of farmland but little money. He worked a variety of jobs across the state, pulling chains at the local lumber mill, blasting rock to build hydroelectric power plants, and driving a bulldozer at an open pit gold mine. He returned to the family business in his mid-20s.

When asked if he voted for Trump in either of the last two presidential elections, he said it wasn’t relevant to California’s current problems. When asked if President Biden was legitimately elected in 2020, despite Trump’s false claims that the election was rigged, Dahle said only that Biden was “our president.”

When Trump stopped in Redding during the 2016 presidential campaign, Dahle declared the area “Trump Country,” according to Record Searchlight. And it still is. In California, Trump was crushed nationwide by Biden in 2020. But in Lassen County, Trump won 75% of the vote.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-10-12/2022-california-election-governor-newsom-dahle-voter-guide 2022 California governor’s voter guide: Newsom vs. Dahle

Alley Einstein

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