Lately, California gubernatorial frontrunner Gavin Newsom has been spending a great deal of time on the campaign trail. But as former mayor and native son of the Golden Gate city, he always leaves his heart in San Francisco. “The issues I hear from people here [in San Francisco] are the same ones that matter to Californians across the state,” Newsom says. “People are focused on affordability, creating growth and an upward economy. That’s what my gubernatorial campaign is all about.”
When asked about what he loves most about his hometown, Newsom cites everything from its inclusive culture to its California cuisine (much of which he has helped to foster himself). “[My go-to lunch spot] is Balboa Café for the famous Balboa Burger on a baguette. Add avocado — I declared it California’s official fruit in 2013,” says Newsom. But, he adds, what defines the city isn’t its millennial-friendly food, but its history as a bastion of social progress and LGBTQ acceptance. “Don’t miss San Francisco Pride,” he says. “It’s a philosophical, iconic destination, where diversity isn’t just tolerated — it’s celebrated. That’s quintessential San Francisco.”
With a busy election year ahead of him, Newsom will likely have no time for local R&R. But political office is hardly his sole ambition. He is also an entrepreneur and oenophile as the founder of the San Francisco-based PlumpJack Group, which operates several wineries in addition to a multitude of hotels, restaurants and bars – from the Bay to Palm Springs.
While his business has grown exponentially across the state, Newsom is proudest of its local philanthropic impact. “In the past few years PlumpJack launched the PlumpJack Foundation, led by my sister Hilary [Newsom Callan], to support cancer research initiatives and fight childhood poverty,” says Newsom.
And his sister isn’t the only philanthropic powerhouse in his life. His wife and potential First Lady of California Jen Siebel Newsom is a socially minded visionary in her own right. “Jen is continuing her life’s work as a documentary filmmaker,” says Newsom. “She is advancing the cause of women’s equality through her nonprofit The Representation Project. I’m so proud of both of them.”
Main image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images