TOP Democratic Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) elected officials from California are doubling down on their support for Governor Gavin Newsom as he faces a recall effort.
Current and former elected officials, representing “firsts” in various capacities down the state, denounced the recall attempt during a virtual press conference on Wednesday, March 10, the day after the governor delivered his State of the State address.
“We won’t change course just because of a few nay-sayers and dooms-dayers,” Newsom said on Tuesday, March 9, speaking from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. “So to the California critics, who are promoting partisan power grabs and outdated prejudices, and rejecting everything that makes California truly great, we say this: We will not be distracted from getting shots in arms and our economy booming again. This is a fight for California’s future.”
Supporters — including Rep. Judy Chu, state Controller Betty Yee, Treasurer Fiona Ma and Assemblymembers Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) and David Chiu (D-San Francisco) — spoke about Newsom’s leadership amid devastating wildfires, an economic recession, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
They represent 124 leaders who have come out in support for the governor.
“We’ve seen how he shares our values and we’ve seen the tremendous impact of his work on our diverse AAPI communities…He has earned our trust and the trust of our communities,” Chiu said. “Let’s call this recall what it is — a partisan, political power grab.”
Newsom, who was elected in 2018 with 61.9% of the vote, faces calls for removal with a year left in office as critics, who are largely Republicans, have slammed his stay-at-home orders that led to school closures and business restrictions.
At the early stages of the pandemic, California was a national leader on response and action, but Newsom’s popularity sank as the state experienced a surge towards the end of 2020 and topped over 54,000 deaths.
Opponents are also bringing up Newsom’s blunder of attending a birthday dinner at the exclusive French Laundry last fall, despite his public plea for Californians to stay home and avoid gathering with other households.
Bonta underscored Newsom’s support for the AAPI community as it continues to face hate incidents related to the coronavirus.
“We reject the conspiracy theories, the extremism and the cruelty and we embrace the pursuit of opportunity, equity, justice, inclusion, humanity and compassion that have been the hallmarks and priorities of Governor Newsom,” he said.
With Newsom’s signing of Assembly Bill 85, which provides an additional $7.6 billion for state resources to address COVID-19, $1.4 million has been allocated to support Stop AAPI Hate’s collection of data and research on the effects of the pandemic on the community.
Recall organizers have until March 17 to submit 1,495,709 petition signatures from registered California voters, which will need to be verified by April 29 in order to qualify for the ballot. They say 1.95 million signatures have been collected to prompt a special election.
“Voters would be asked two questions: First, should Newsom be removed, yes or no? The second question would be a list of replacement candidates to choose from, if voters recall the governor,” according to the Associated Press.
So far former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and businessman John Cox, both Republicans, have announced their campaigns against Newsom should a special election happen later this year.
“Instead of fighting COVID-19, Republicans are pulling a page of the Trump playbook and [are] attacking Californians with a recall effort that will cost our state over $100 million — money that can vaccinate our communities,” Chiu said. “The consequences of a successful recall amidst a global pandemic could be deadly serious for Californians, which is why we need to educate the public about what this is all about.”