(Photo: David Jon Photography/CA Fwd)
California’s strengths and work to address challenges were the focus of Governor Gavin Newsom’s keynote address to more than 900 civic, business and community leaders on the last day of the 2019 California Economic Summit in Fresno.
“We are a universal state, the most diverse state and the world’s most diverse democracy. The world looks to us to see if it’s possible to live, advance and prosper together across every conceivable difference,” said Governor Newsom, who has supported the Summit since its first gathering in 2012. “Then you travel the state…and start to realize there are universal truths. Everybody wants to be protected. Everybody wants to be respected and everyone wants to be connected in some way shape or form.”
Over the two-day Summit, leaders gathered to tackle some of California’s most pressing problems with a focus on Inland California, while keeping the triple bottom line – economy, equity and environment – in mind. Those issues include Housing, Mobility and Connectivity, Lifelong Learning and Ecosystem Vitality and Working Landscapes.
Governor Newsom’s Regions Rise Together, a partnership with California Forward, is an effort to bring together diverse leaders in every region over the course of the next year so that an inclusive and comprehensive plan is developed that will lift every part of California. The Governor’s office held listening sessions in several regions, including events in San Bernardino, Stockton, Bakersfield, Merced and Redding.
“My first formal meeting was up here in Fresno with Ashley [Swearengin] and her team with what became this DRIVE Coalition,” he said, talking about the CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation and Summit Steering Committee Co-Chair. The DRIVE initiative announced yesterday represents a $4.2 billion investment plan that includes 18 projects to revitalize Fresno over ten years. It includes an expansion of the University of California-San Francisco Fresno campus, support for small businesses and the creation of more than 12,000 affordable housing units.
“Sure, there are historic factors we have to overcome, but there are plans now with intentionality. There’s focus. There’s passion and there’s renewed action,” he added. “It’s our decisions, not conditions, that determine our fate in future. That’s the history of California.”
Additionally, to help close digital divides across the state, Lenny Mendonca, the Governor’s Chief Economic and Business Advisor and Director of the Office of Business and Economic Development announced that the Governor’s Office will be developing an inclusive “Broadband for All” plan for the state.