BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Gov. Gavin Newsom was back in Bakersfield Wednesday, addressing, both directly and indirectly, some of the items on his very full plate — from vaccinations to the state’s reopening to what he Wednesday called a fitness and mental health imperative.
The gubernatorial motorcade has been rolling for months now but it’s picking up speed of late, as Covid-19 cases level off and the state emerges from a long and trying shutdown. The motorcade, such as it was, took what for all intents and purposes — a victory lap.
Newsom, unmasked and exuberant, stopped by the In-Shape Health Club at Ming and Buena Vista, where, introduced by In-Shape CEO Francesca Schuller, a member of his California Health Alliance, he announced the creation of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Physical Fitness and Mental Well-Being.
He also allowed himself to boast about California’s post-pandemic recovery. Both health-wise and in terms of the economy, the governor said, California has recovered better and faster than many U.S. states — better than Texas, better than Florida, better than the country overall.
“38 percent of America’s jobs came out of the state of California last month,” Newsom said, speaking in a second-floor aerobic exercise room. “No other state in America came close in terms of job creation. We truly are the tent pole of the American economy in terms of job recovery.”
But for Newsom, who stopped by a vaccination clinic at Bakersfield College a couple of hours earlier, fitness was the theme of the day.
California, said the governor, his college soccer-playing wife — first partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom — at his side, needs to get off the couch and work as hard at mental health recovery and physical fitness as it has done surviving the medical and fiscal challenges of the pandemic.
“Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t have to be the only fitness governor,” Newsom said, adding, to laughs, that he knows “his “status” in that regard. “But we want to sort of reinvigorate the fitness council and we want to bring in the wellness component. That’s why Jen’s here as a partner. But she’s also a ridiculous rock star athlete.”
The state eliminated most pandemic restrictions Tuesday and Newsom said the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration — that’s Cal-OHSHA — would on Thursday recommend that many of the remaining restrictions also go away. Newsom said he would immediately review and likely approve those recommendations.
The economic recovery Newsom spoke of might be news to some businesses that are still struggling, but of course everything is relative. Other states are digging out of deeper holes — but not every business in California, and certainly not in Kern County, is ready to declare itself whole again.