SACRAMENTO, CALIF – In the lobby of the California Museum near the State Capitol, Gov. Gavin Newsom feted Fresno State’s Maddy Institute with a renewed call for focus on the San Joaquin Valley during the public policy institute’s “Big 5” gala celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Newsom, who has spent much of his early days in office working to mend fences with the region often dismissed by his predecessor, continued the trend by dedicating much of his comments to the often understated importance the San Joaquin Valley holds in the Golden State.
He launched into his remarks by saying that it had become obvious that California was slowly devolving into “a tale of bifurcated realities” both statewide and at the local level.
“I think it’s incredibly important that we populate the halls… particularly with my coastal colleagues with folks from the Central Valley,” Newsom said of the Maddy Institute’s internship program. “We talk about sister cities in Paris, sister cities overseas, we should start talking about sister cities in the State of California.
Added Newsom: “I’m sick and tired of people talking down to people, talking past people. There’s an arrogance sometimes in our politics and we gotta be careful. I say that as a Democrat, sometimes I hear that and I just want you to know: we’re better than that.”
Former Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown served as master of ceremonies.
Prior to giving his remarks, Newsom worked the room, spending a bulk of time chit-chatting with Harris Farms chief John Harris.
The two chatted over horse racing, a longtime passion of the Harris family. Harris’ horse racing division foaled Kentucky Derby and Preakness-winner California Chrome.
Newsom declared his love of horse racing during his conversation with Harris, but added that he didn’t place a wager on last week’s contested Kentucky Derby.
The Governor joked he didn’t have enough money for a wager.
Later in the evening, Harris was recognized by Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro. Castro announced that Harris will be conferred an honorary doctorate by the university during its commencement festivities in next week.
The institute, led by Executive Director Mark Keppler, received kudos for its work in advancing the public policy interests of the San Joaquin Valley and training and placing the next generation of policy experts from the region in legislative offices across all levels of government.
Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno), Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) and Senator Andreas Borgeas (R-Fresno), and Asm. Adam Gray (D-Merced) presented Congressional Record statements and legislative resolutions commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Institute.
The Maddy Institute was founded in 1999 by unanimous vote of the California State Legislature honoring former Sen. Kenneth L. Maddy (R-Fresno).
The institute is headquartered at California State University, Fresno.