FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE)- On Thursday, Fresno was a political hotspot as the Sept. 14 gubernatorial recall election is less than a week away.
In the afternoon, Gov. Gavin Newsom visited the Carpenters Local Union to campaign alongside labor groups, and in the morning, Republican frontrunner Larry Elder visited Fresno to attend the Fresno Farmers Breakfast at the Picadilly Inn.
At Newsom’s event, he highlighted the state’s response to Covid-19, and strongly urged supporters to not let another successful recall election happen in the Golden State.
“Here’s our opportunity to send a powerful message that it will not work again in California,” Newsom told the crowd of about 200.
At Elder’s event, the conservative radio talk show host took shots at Newsom over his handling of criminal justice reform, such as the early release for thousands of violent felons.
“Felons in California are going to be eligible for early release over the coming months and years,” Elder said. “This is ridiculous. When people commit crime they should do their full time.”
While taking questions from reporters after his remarks, Newsom said felons who demonstrate good behavior and pass evaluations should have the opportunity to get out of prison early. Newsom stressed that violent crime is not just a California problem.
“What we’re experiencing here in Fresno as well as other parts of the state, is consistent with what we’re experiencing in other red states across this country, and it’s going to require comprehensive strategies,” Newsom said.
Newsom says one of those strategies is the state’s $200 million investment in preventing violent crime on the local level. That program is called CalVIP (California Violence Intervention and Prevention).
The other talking point for the two candidates Thursday was water. Elder says he would speed up construction of dams and reservoirs as the state faces a historic drought.
“One of the many things I intend to do when I become governor is to declare a public emergency on water so some of these projects can be unleashed.”
But Newsom says the construction of new water storage can’t be done overnight, such as Sites Reservoir in Colusa County.
“I’ve long supported Sites, I’ve advocated for Sites,” Newsom said. “We still have issues in terms of who’s ultimately going to pay. That said, the state has put up hundreds of millions of dollars, and in this year’s budget we put up $5.1 billion for drought resiliency.”
On Monday, President Biden will campaign with Newsom in Long Beach in a final campaign event before the Sept. 14 election.