On Tuesday at 6 p.m. California Governor Gavin Newsom will give what is likely the most important speech of his political career. Faced with a recall effort on the verge of triggering a vote, a vaccination drive that is riddled with failures and a state where an epidemic of homelessness is second only to the Covid-19 pandemic, Newsom will use his State of the State remarks to emphasize what he sees as a “bright future for California.”
Local L.A. stations, including ABC7 will be carrying the address live. See ABC’s coverage here.
You can also click on the video embedded below to watch Newsom’s State of the State address.
Newsom will appear from the state’s largest vaccination site at Dodger Stadium, a symbol of success in the state’s fight against Covid-19. The stadium also provides a more somber counterpoint: It seats 56,000 people, nearly the exact number of California residents who have died from the virus.
“I want to highlight farm workers. I want to highlight women, children, caregivers and a bright future for California,” said the governor about the speech on Monday.
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“This is not going to be state of the state that lays out policy initiatives,” said Newsom. “I want to highlight heroes.”
There is one significant piece of news Newsom could break Tuesday evening. Earlier in the day, Covid metrics for Los Angeles, Orange County and San Bernardino reached the red tier level. If they were to stay there for another 7 days, those regions will be allowed to reopen more fully. But the governor could have a PR ace up his sleeve.
The California Department of Public Health revealed recently that once the state has administered 2 million vaccine doses to its economically disadvantaged, moving from the purple to red tier will become much easier. Instead of less than seven daily Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents, counties will only have to reach below 10 cases per 100,000.
What’s more, the change will be retroactive, adding a week of credit for any county that missed out due to having a case rate between seven and 10 per 100,000 residents. L.A., Orange County and San Bernardino are all below 10 cases per 100,000. That means they could begin red tier reopenings the day after the state passes the specified 2 million doses milestone.
Early Tuesday, California was reportedly just a few thousand vaccinations below that 2 million threshold. Given that the state reportedly delivered 20,000 such shots on Monday, it could very well be over 2 million by the time of Newsom’s address Tuesday evening. Such an announcement seems not only good politics, but made-for-TV. After all, L.A., Orange and San Bernardino counties account for 15 million of the state’s 40 million residents.
In March of 2020, the governor’s State of the State had a significant focus on homelessness, which he called “a disgrace.” Little did he know that a growing, never-before-seen virus from China would kill some 54,000 Californians and consume most of his attention in the next 12 months.
Newsom promised that his 2021 speech would be shorter than usual which, for the loquacious governor, is a big statement. His first two such addresses clocked in at about 45 minutes each.