California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s trip to Washington D.C. last week placed his policies under a national spotlight. The governor met with officials in President Joe Biden’s administration and lawmakers to discuss how the state can aid in supporting the Democratic Party’s strategies.
Before departing to D.C., Newsom signed a series of gun control bills. Notably one signed July 12 allows local municipalities and Californians to sue gun manufacturers. Two days later, Newsom met with several Democrat senators to highlight his efforts of keeping Californians “from gun violence, wildfires and Republican efforts to roll back reproductive rights,” according to the governor’s office.
Newsom and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) discussed California’s strict gun control laws, which Newsom attributes to California’s leadership in reducing gun violence. Murphy has also been an advocate of strict gun control measures.
“Our kids, families and communities deserve streets free of gun violence and gun makers must be held accountable for their role in this crisis,” Newsom said in a statement. “Nearly every industry is held liable when people are hurt or killed by their products—guns should be no different.”
The governor also met with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) to discuss how California can help senators expand abortion services, as Newsom beefed up the state’s support of abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 decision of Roe v. Wade, which deemed abortion a constitutional right.
Newsom responded to the court’s ruling by enshrining the ability to have an abortion into California’s constitution, even though the state already protects abortion under its privacy laws.
During his trip, Newsom also accepted the Frank Newman Award for State Innovation from the Education Commission of the States, which drew criticism from Republicans.
“Exactly which education accomplishment is Gavin Newsom being recognized for?” Jessica Millan Patterson, chairperson of the California Republican Party, wrote on Twitter on July 12. “Is it keeping CA schools closed longer than any other state? Is it our abysmal test scores showing a third or less of students are at grade level in math & science? Asking for 6 million CA students …”
Exactly which education accomplishment is @GavinNewsom being recognized for? Is it keeping CA schools closed longer than any other state?
Is it our abysmal test scores showing a third or less of students are at grade level in math & science?
Asking for 6 million CA students… https://t.co/D8rFPT0IQN
— Jessica Millan Patterson (@millanpatterson) July 12, 2022
Next, Newsom met with the Chinese Minister of Ecology and Environment to “further CA’s climate partnership with China.”
“They agreed to accelerate action on an ambitious work plan to advance a MOU [memorandum of understanding] signed earlier this year,” Newsom’s press office tweeted on July 15.
He also showcased CA’s role on the world stage, meeting with the Chinese Minister of Ecology and Environment to further CA’s climate partnership with China. They agreed to accelerate action on an ambitious work plan to advance a MOU signed earlier this year.
— Governor Newsom Press Office (@GovPressOffice) July 16, 2022
Democrat California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla, and the Defense Department, met with Newsom at the White House to “prepare for this year’s climate-driven wildfire season.”
“The group convened at the White House to identify solutions to better respond to wildfires, including streamlining the National Guard’s firefighting capabilities and the Department of Defense’s coordination with state firefighters,” according to a statement by the governor’s office.
But some policy researchers are pushing back against Newsom’s claim that the wildfires are due to climate change.
According to researcher Adam B. Summers from the nonpartisan Independent Institute, California’s wildfires are due to officials’ taking a “reactive approach” to quell the state’s wildfires due to succumbing to “pressure by environmental groups who pushed for fire-management policies.”
“Although the hope was to preserve land in its ‘natural state,’ this approach set the stage for horrific wildfires by allowing excessive growth of fuels,” Summers wrote in a research brief.
Following Newsom’s trip, speculation circled whether the golden state leader would throw in a bid to run for presidency in 2024. Newsom denied the claims.