BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Gov. Gavin Newsom made a surprise appearance Friday at the California Economic Summit held at Mechanics Bank Arena, lauding work done by the county’s B3K initiative and talking about navigating the state’s transition to clean energy.
That transition needs to happen quickly, he said.
Seven of the last 10 years the state has experienced extreme drought. He said the Western U.S. has been hit with extreme heat and extreme drought, placing a staggering load on energy grids.
Given the speed of the changing climate, the state needs to move forward with “deliberative speed,” Newsom said.
“I think the great news is you’re doing it,” he said. “This county, this community, you’re dominating, you’re a global leader in this transition already.”
The governor noted the state already has six times as many clean energy jobs as fossil fuels jobs.
“It’s a framework of abundance and growth, innovation, entrepreneurialism,” Newsom said of transition. “It’s what we do best. We have the opportunity to dominate the future, dominate this clean energy future.”
Newsom said he has long had a chip on his shoulder when it comes to people, whether they live in the Central Valley or other parts of the state not part of the national discussion, feeling like they’re not seen or part of the larger narrative. He said it’s often forgotten California doesn’t end in Los Angeles, and there is “extraordinary dynamism” and “entrepreneurial energy” outside the big cities.
That’s evident with Bakersfield’s “remarkable mayor” Karen Goh and the B3K (Better Bakersfield and Boundless Kern) initiative, Newsom said. B3K and similar partnerships resulted in the $600 million Community Economic Resilience Fund for 13 regions, including Kern, he said.
“There’s never been an allocation that was intended for a region and by the way, don’t tell anybody, but that $600 million was intended for this region when it was originally drafted,” he said.