Gavin Newsom was sworn in as California’s 40th governor Monday, promising to build “bold,” progressive policies on the foundation of the state’s strong economy and potential cash reserves of $29 billion.

In his inaugural speech, delivered to dignitaries, supporters and family in a tent outside the Capitol, Newsom laid out a game plan for the next four years: fighting homelessness and high prescription drug and housing costs; “stand[ing] up to” polluters, the gun lobby and payday lenders; and pursuing a path to “guaranteed health care for all Californians.”

The former lieutenant governor also assured the receptive crowd that California would continue to fight Trump administration initiatives, citing the federal government’s family separation measures at the border and “a wall that should never be built.”

“We will offer an alternative to the corruption and incompetence in the White House,” Newsom said.

The new governor followed up Monday afternoon with an executive order calling on all state agencies to negotiate prescription drug prices together as one entity and by sending a letter to Congress and the White House seeking a waiver to allow California to build a single-payer health care system.

To pursue those proposals, Newsom in recent weeks has been putting together an executive team, led by former Boies Schiller Flexner partner Ann O’Leary, whose ranks include a number of lawyers:

➤➤ Anthony Williams, one of Newsom’s first hires, will serve as the governor’s legislative secretary. Most recently director of government relations for The Boeing Co., Williams was policy director and special counsel for former state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, a legislative advocate for the Judicial Council and chief lobbyist for California’s state bar.

➤➤ Julie Su was named secretary of the Labor and Workforce Development Agency on Friday. A former civil rights attorney, Su served as the state’s labor commissioner for more than seven years under Gov. Jerry Brown. She could play a key role in deciding how the Newsom administration enforces the worker classification restrictions laid out in the California Supreme Court’s Dynamex ruling.

➤➤ Analea Patterson will serve as deputy legal affairs secretary, Newsom’s office announced Sunday. Patterson was a partner in Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe‘s public policy group. She was part of the firm’s pro bono effort to to push legislation banning “sextortion” in state legislatures around the country. Patterson will work with Newsom’s legal affairs secretary, Catherine Lhamon.

➤➤ Che Salinas, counsel in the Manatt, Phelps & Phillips government and regulatory practice in Sacramento, will be chief deputy legislative affairs secretary for operations, Newsom’s office announced Sunday. A former state Senate aide, Salinas advised clients on numerous issues, including health care, pharmaceutical manufacturing and energy policy.

➤➤ Stuart Thompson is Newsom’s chief deputy appointments secretary. Before he become associate director of the California Medical Association’s lobbying shop in Sacramento, Thompson was an associate with former Sacramento law firm Miller & Owen.

➤➤ Tam Ma was a director of legal and policy issues at Health Access California and a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. She has joined Newsom’s staff as deputy legislative affairs secretary.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra testifies in Washington in September. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ ALM

Monday was inauguration day for all of California’s constitutional officers, including Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who won election to a four-year term in November after Brown named him to the office in late 2016. Becerra was sworn into office in an early morning ceremony by Sacramento County Superior Court Judge David De Alba.

Becerra touted the 45 legal actions his office has taken against Trump administration policies over the last two years, including a lawsuit over a planned Census citizenship question that went to trial Monday. The number of legal challenges could increase as the president, who plans to address the nation in a televised address Tuesday, threatens to declare an emergency to build a border wall opposed by Democrats.

California already sued the government in 2018 in a failed attempt to block the construction of wall prototypes on the southern border. The ruling has been appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Becerra only alluded to the wall fight Monday in a rhetorical flourish, saying California “builds dreams, not walls.”

 

Read more:

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Newsom Taps Civil Rights Lawyer Catherine Lhamon as Legal Affairs Secretary

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