Gov. Gavin Newsom will deliver his third State of the State Address Tuesday from Dodger Stadium, a speech he said would be light on policy announcements and heavy on efforts being made in the state to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dodger Stadium is serving as a mass-vaccination site operated by the city of Los Angeles. It previously served as the nation’s largest COVID-19 testing site. The stadium’s 56,000 seats are also nearly equivalent to the number of Californians who have died during the pandemic — 54,224 as of Monday.
Newsom’s appearance at the stadium comes just days after the state announced a loosening of restrictions that will allow fans to attend baseball games for the first time in a year, albeit at extremely limited capacity.
Newsom said Monday he plans in his speech to highlight “the heroic work that’s being done every single day” to battle the pandemic, including health care workers, mothers, farm workers, children and others who have been particularly impacted by the virus.
“We are very close to turning the proverbial page,” Newsom said. “So I want to talk a little bit about where we’ve been and where we’re going. This is not going to be a State of the State laden with lots of policy announcements. We’ve been announcing things in real time. I didn’t wait for this date to then announce everything we’ve been announcing every time I’ve seen you over the course of the last few weeks.
“So it’s a different kind of State of the State. Also shorter,” he said. “And (it) will really be a little more sober because we’re mindful of the lives we’ve lost during this pandemic. But also it will be, I hope, perceived as also optimistic. Not only about our resiliency but our capacity to lead throughout this as a state. I think that deserves a little attention. … As well as talk about a future I have all the confidence in the world is extraordinarily bright, as long as it’s an inclusive future.”
Newsom noted that his State of the State Address last year was entirely focused on homelessness, housing and mental health.
“It was the first State of the State that ever set that aside as a topic, and we haven’t lost sight of that issue,” he said. “And I’ll be talking a little bit about our efforts on homelessness.”
The speech comes as Newsom deals with the growing possibility of facing a recall election. Organizers of the recall effort said Monday they had collected 1.95 million signatures on recall petitions. Forcing a recall election requires organizers to submit just under 1.5 million valid signatures. Recall organizers typically try to far exceed the signature requirement, due to the likelihood of some signatures being found to be invalid.
Newsom has remained largely silent on the recall question, often deflecting reporters’ questions during coronavirus briefings, saying he remained focused on efforts to combat COVID-19. But a spokesman for the governor on Monday called the effort “hyper-partisan” Republican effort to oust a Democratic governor.
Newsom has also defended his often-stringent mandates aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, although recall organizers have blasted the moves as draconian and inconsistent, to the detriment of small businesses.