SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom is set to give perhaps the most important speech of his political life Tuesday.
The first-term governor has spent weeks laying the groundwork for an upbeat State of the State aimed at nearly 40 million people exhausted by a year of coronavirus restrictions. It comes as the deadline nears for organizers of a recall campaign against him to finish submitting signatures.
Recall organizers say they've collected more than the 1.5 million needed to force a vote later this year on whether Newsom should keep his job. If it qualifies, the election would likely be in the fall, possibly November. That makes Tuesday's speech critical to keeping voters on his side.
California is one of 20 states that allow voters to initiate a recall election to remove a sitting governor. Newsom was elected in a 2018 landslide in the heavily Democratic state, but his popularity tumbled as public unrest spread over long-running coronavirus rules that shuttered schools and businesses.
Newsom is expected to say during his State of the State address that the pandemic will end soon. But when it does, Newsom will say that “we're not going back to normal" because “normal accepts inequity.” That's according to excerpts from Newsom's speech that the governor's office released Tuesday.
The Democratic governor is scheduled to deliver the address at Dodger Stadium as he faces the likely recall election later this year, fueled by widespread anger over his handling of the pandemic.
The excerpts don't include major new announcements but highlight the work Newsom and the Democratic-controlled state Legislature have already done. That includes passing a $7.6 billion state stimulus package.