On Tuesday, Nov. 6, Redwood alumnus Gavin Newsom was elected as the new governor of California. Newsom graduated Redwood in 1985, and is a local to the Marin County area, having lived here his entire life. His familial ties to Marin extend beyond his high school years; Gavin’s sister, Hilary Newsom, has stayed in Marin to raise her family, and her daughter Tali Callan is currently a sophomore at Redwood.
According to Hilary, her brother’s win did not come as a huge surprise to her and her family, but she was proud that his dedication to California has paid off as well as his hard work.
“I was elated. I was thrilled and I was not only happy for him but also extremely happy for the state of California,” Hilary said.
On Nov. 6, 2018 Newsom speaks to the public after winning the election, and becoming governor of California. Photo courtesy of Tali Callan
Hilary is pleased with her brother’s win and explained that politics have always been in the family. The Newsoms’ father ran for state Senate and Supervisor of San Francisco. It did not take long for Gavin to follow in his father’s political footsteps.
“We have been surrounded by politics growing up through family and friends, so it doesn’t entirely surprise me that he chose this life. I think politics are a form of service. It is a different form of service than philanthropy, but that definitely played a part in how we were raised and the choices that Gavin made,” Hilary said.
While Hilary attended the Branson School in Ross, her brother attended Redwood, and it was there Hilary saw her brother develop into a leader through his passion for athletics.
“I saw him blossom in high school in sports. That was a transition for him in terms of leadership, because of his relationship with his teammates and his ability to participate in basketball and baseball in a really genuine way and be really good at it, and be a good leader on those teams,” Hilary said. “I think that’s when I started to see the leadership; up until then I thought my brother was extremely shy.”
1985 Marin IJ newspaper highlighting Newsom as prep of the week. Photo Courtesy of Mr. Lovelady
Callan has also become inspired by her uncle’s political actions after his recent win and seeing his involvement in politics over the years.
“I really enjoy politics and I have wanted to get more involved with them. I ran for my freshman class last year for vice president. I lost, but I am going to run again for spring semester,” Callan said. “I am going to get more involved. He has inspired me a lot, and has really opened my eyes to what I can do to help California and how my voice really does matter.”
While Callan is used to her uncle being in the public eye, she is still proud of his political achievements and believes that his win as governor will benefit California.
Newsom standing with niece Tali Callan when she was younger. Photo courtesy of Tali Callan
“He is really hard working, and I think anything that he does do is going to be for the benefit of California. I think everyone’s really lucky to have him as governor because he really listens to what people have to say and what their needs are,” Callan said.
In addition to the support of Newsom’s family, Redwood science teacher Skip Lovelady, a long-time friend of Gavin, has seen Gavin grow, succeed and fail throughout his political career.
Lovelady was not surprised at Gavin’s win because of the work ethic and dedication Gavin has put into his career.
After speaking to a group of Redwood students Newsom and Lovelady pose for a picture. Photo Courtesy of Mr. Lovelady
“Gavin is very organized and very thorough. Even though we are in two different worlds, business-wise and politics, he’s definitely an inspiration when it comes to making sure every little detail gets attended to,” Lovelady said. “He thought failure is how you get better. He used to say you would ‘fail forward;’ you had to fail to really become someone in life.”
According to Lovelady, Gavin has struggled with extreme dyslexia throughout his life, but has learned to cope with it. Instead of reading speeches, Gavin memorizes them.
“He’s extremely dyslexic, so he cannot read a printed speech or a teleprompter. He said that he gives five or six speeches a week, and he has to memorize everything. Dyslexia has become one of his gifts,” Lovelady said.
While Lovelady hopes to have Gavin come back to Redwood to speak to students as governor, he is also excited to see Newsom’s plans for California unfold over these next few years.
On the night of Jan. 6, the night before Newsom takes office, Newsom will be hosting a concert to support the victims of the California wildfires.