Political Notebook

Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom to hold town hall in Fresno on Friday

Newsom tours Fresno job training site

On a campaign stop for his bid for governor, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom tours the Fresno Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee's Electrical Training Center.
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On a campaign stop for his bid for governor, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom tours the Fresno Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee's Electrical Training Center.

Incoming Gov. Gavin Newsom will hold a town hall meeting at the Teamsters Joint 431 Hall in Fresno on Friday.

It is not yet known if it will be fully open to the public, as Newsom’s transition team had not released official information as of late Thursday afternoon.

According to an itinerary obtained by The Bee, Newsom will hold several closed-door meetings with various local leaders and groups prior to the town hall.

This will include a meet-and-greet with incoming Valley legislators and a series of presentations from local business leaders on the impacts of and challenges to the Valley economy from the state’s high-speed rail project.

Among those scheduled to present to Newsom are former Fresno mayor Ashley Swearengin, Fresno State president Joseph Castro and UC Merced chancellor Dorothy Leland.

Newsom will also meet with various agricultural leaders.

Castro’s agenda

Castro outlined a broad list of issues that he planned to discuss with the incoming governor.

“We want to show him the vital role Fresno State plays in the economic development of the Central Valley,” Castro said. “Of our 25,000 students, 90 percent are from the Valley and 80 percent stay here after graduation. That makes a huge difference in education, health care, engineering and agriculture, to name a few.”

Castro noted that Fresno State had to turn away 5,000 academically eligible students this year due to budgetary issues. Much of the campus is 70 years old.

He hopes to convince Newsom to be a leader in a new higher education bond, which Castro said has not happened in 12 years, or in finding another source of significant investment for the campus.

Castro said he also will discuss better Valley representation on the California State University Board of Trustees.

When Castro took over as president at Fresno State, the Valley had two trustees: Hugo Morales and Pete Mehas. When Mehas died in 2013, he was not replaced by a Valley resident. Castro said he hopes to convince Newsom, himself an ex officio trustee by virtue of his role as lieutenant governor, that more Valley representation would be good for California.

It figures that Leland would make a similar push for the UC Board of Regents, which hasn’t had a Valley member since Fred Ruiz left the board in 2016.

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