Gavin Newsom, 41, is the youngest San Francisco mayor in over a century. Newsom, the son of William and Tessa Newsom, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He attended Santa Clara University on a partial baseball scholarship, graduating in 1989 with a B.A. in political science.
After college, Newsom sold orthotics and worked as an assistant at a real estate firm. In 1991, Newsom recruited investors and founded PlumpJack, a wine shop, which he grew into a thriving enterprise of 15 businesses including wineries, restaurants, and hotels.
In 1996, Newsom was appointed by San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown to the city’s parking and traffic commission. Soon he was elected president of the commission. In 1997, Brown appointed him to the city’s board of supervisors. Voters elected Newsom to the board in 1998 and re-elected him in 2000 and 2002.
As a supervisor, Newsom focused on combating homelessness. His initiative, Care Not Cash, provided homeless individuals services instead of welfare. Although the city’s political establishment opposed Care Not Cash, the voters approved it in November, 2002. One year later, after a fiercely-contested race, Newsom was elected mayor.
After only 36 days as mayor, Newsom gained worldwide attention when he granted marriage licenses to same-sex couples. This bold move set the tone for Newsom’s first term. Under his energetic leadership, the economy grew and jobs were created. The city became a center for biotech and clean tech. He initiated a plan to bring universal health care to all of the city’s uninsured residents. And Newsom aggressively pursued local solutions to global climate change.
In 2007, Newsom was re-elected with over 73% of the vote. Since then he has built upon the successes of his first term, launching new environmental initiatives and a comprehensive strategy to transform one of the city’s most troubled neighborhoods into a life sciences, digital media, and clean tech center.
Newsom’s commitment to combating homelessness has never waned. As mayor, he has moved 7,000 homeless individuals off the street, and his volunteer initiative, Project Homeless Connect – now imitated in over 130 cities – has attracted over 20,000 San Franciscans who give their time to help the homeless.
Newsom is married to Jennifer Siebel Newsom.