John Cox, Gavin Newsom Showcase Different Visions for California in Sole Debate

By Joel Pollak

Republican businessman John Cox and Democrat Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom squared off Monday morning in their first and only debate in the race for governor of California, broadcast live on the Forum program of Bay Area public radio station KQED.

The debate, moderated by KQED senior editor Scott Shafer, was comprehensive, covering a wide range of issues relevant to the state, from the high cost of housing to the efficacy of prison reform. Cox was at his best when discussing California’s hostile business climate and the need for lower taxes and regulations. The moderator acknowledged Cox’s role in championing Proposition 6, a ballot initiative before voters this fall to repeal last year’s deeply unpopular 12-cent-per-gallon gas tax hike.

Newsom was strongest when discussing social issues on which he has led the state, starting with his pioneering decision in 2004, as mayor of San Francisco, to legalize same-sex marriage within the city. He has also led recent gun control efforts in the state, and supports outgoing Governor Jerry Brown’s aggressive efforts to lead the world on climate change policy — even if California’s grand efforts have little more than symbolic effects, since they do not significantly affect global temperature.

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