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Newsom begins statewide campaign bus tour at City Hall

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Lt. Gov. and former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom speaks at an event at City Hall while flanked by supporters, Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, state Sen. Scott Wiener and his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, on Tuesday, May 29, 2018. The event kicks off a week of campaign stops throughout the state as he runs for California governor. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom launched a statewide campaign bus tour on the steps of San Francisco City Hall Tuesday morning alongside state Sen. Scott Wiener and District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy

Newsom, a former San Francisco mayor who now lives in Marin County, is campaigning for governor on a slogan of “Courage. For a Change.” He used Tuesday’s event to speak on the need to stand up against injustice and poverty.

“We are here in the richest state in America and the poorest state in America. That injustice needs to end,” Newsom said. “How can it possibly be that the state with…an economy as strong and vibrant as ours can have 8 million people living below the poverty line in California.”

Newsom entered the national spotlight in February 2004 after he directed the county clerk to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The state Supreme Court blocked the move within a month and later voided the licenses the city had issued.

Newsom appears to be the front-runner in the race with 25 percent of likely voters favoring him, followed by Republican John Cox with 19 percent and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa with 15 percent, according to a recent Public Policy Institute of California poll. California, unlike most states, uses a “top two” primary system that places all candidates, regardless of party, in competition against each other. The first and second-place winners move on to the general election.

Newsom said he is campaigning for increased educational opportunities, renewed infrastructure and employment initiatives, and a commitment to California’s values.

“What makes us special — San Francisco and this state — is we are a movement. We are a cause. We punch way above our weight,” Newsom said. “California, like San Francisco, is America’s coming attraction. It’s time for us to lead.”

Newsom’s seven-day bus tour departed San Francisco for Monterey, where he will be meeting with Sierra Club members at 1 p.m. The tour will travel to more than 30 cities in California before the June 5 primary election.

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