SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom paid a visit to Santa Barbara on Wednesday.
Newsom met with voters and grassroots activists at La Casa de la Raza community center. He is acting governor while Gov. Jerry Brown is China on a business trip making plans to combat climate change. But Newsom is also one of four candidates running for governor in 2018.
Newsom is hosting events across the state to talk about California issues. He considers California a model for the nation.
"I've been acting Governor a number of times, but it's a nice time to be acting Governor because we have a Governor we couldn't be more proud of, that is in China. He is leading the nation in terms of low carbon, green growth strategies and it is a moment of markable anxiety and uncertainty and it is nice to have that global leadership, but here, back at home, you also see that demonstrable leadership in communities like Santa Barbara that have always been on the leading and cutting edge of environmental stewardship and it is wonderful to see that reinforced today and be in that capacity of acting Governor to say Thank you." said Newsom.
Newsom said his father taught him to care for the environment on visits, while he grew up in the care of his single mother who was only 19 when he was born.
The former mayor of San Francisco said he overcame dyslexia and still has to struggle with reading speeches, so he prefers to be un-scripted.
Governor Jerry Brown can't run again due to term limits.
Newsom will face other declared gubernatorial candidates next June including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Schools Superintendent Delain Eastin and Republican venture capitalist John Cox.
Former Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum was in the audience on Wednesday and liked what she heard.
"He and I served as mayors at the same time, we would wait to see what he was saying, oh gay marriage, we can do that here, " said Blum.
Students shared their concerns about the the controversy surrounding University of California Regents' finances and spending on food while students are food insecure.
Justin Deckard of the University of California, Santa Barbara student Democrats said, "We honestly, don't need these task forces to investigate why students need food. We need to attack the central root issue. Students can't afford food because they can't afford school."
Newsom said free community college is doable and could help students transer without debt.
"This economy in California is growing interestingly at 3 percent, I say that because, isn't that the number Donald Trump believes the country needs to grow? It is just ironic, Maybe he should come out here and learn a bit about the secret sauce," said Newsom.
When a mother asked about vaccines, Newsom said he vaccinated all four of his young children.
He also said he favored legalized marijuana for social justice reasons having to do with jail.
But Newsom said Income inequality is the reason he is running. He talked about philosophers who talked about the imbalance between the rich and the poor years ago.
He named multiple companies trying to do away with cashiers, fast food cooks and workers that can be replaced by technology.
He caught a plane home after the talk but will be campaigning throughout the state before the June 2018 primary.