Governor Outlines Priorities, Calls for More Housing

98th Annual Host Breakfast

host breakfast logo

California Governor Gavin Newsom outlined some of his priorities in addressing the state’s biggest challenges at the 98th annual Sacramento Host Breakfast on May 9.

The annual event, attended by close to 1,000 civic and business leaders from throughout the state, offers decision-makers in California business, finance, government, education, and agriculture the opportunity to exchange views, establish and renew friendships, and create statewide atmospheres of good will and understanding at a common table.

The breakfast is sponsored by the Sacramento Host Committee, made up of 30 Sacramento area business leaders, and the California Chamber of Commerce.

CalChamber Chair Janet Liang

After opening remarks by Kevin Ramos, Host Committee chair and chief investment officer of Buzz Oates, the Governor was introduced by Janet A. Liang, CalChamber chair and executive vice president, group president and COO care delivery, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Hospitals.

Janet Liang
Janet Liang, 2024 CalChamber chair and executive vice president, group president and COO care delivery, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. and Hospitals, speaks at the 98th annual Sacramento Host Breakfast on May 9, 2024. Photo by

Liang took the stage and spoke about the role hospitals serve as economic engines for the communities that surround them.

She also thanked the CalChamber for its efforts in fighting for California’s businesses.

“When business is strong, it supports the public’s welfare for our common good,” she said. View video.

Governor Newsom

Following Liang’s remarks, CalChamber President and CEO Jennifer Barrera was joined by Governor Newsom to discuss California’s strengths, challenges and priorities in the coming years.

Governor Gavin Newsom, Jennifer Barrera
Governor Gavin Newsom sits down with CalChamber President and CEO Jennifer Barrera for a fireside chat at the 98th annual Sacramento Host Breakfast on May 9, 2024. Photo by

Governor Newsom highlighted some of California’s strengths, remarking that the state dominates in key areas such as wealth creation, entrepreneurship, agriculture, bioscience, quantum computing, and many others.

Homelessness, Housing

When asked about the homelessness crisis, the Governor pointed out that prior to his administration, there had not been a plan to address homelessness in California.

He expressed that encampments should be cleaned up and communities should be given the flexibility to address homelessness in their areas.

Even though he’s put forth a number of reforms, it has been hard to get local counties and communities on board to build more housing and affordable housing units, he said. With the help of state legislators, new tools are being created and reforms are underway in key areas such as zoning, land use and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

One segment of the population greatly affected by homelessness is people with mental health conditions.

In 1959, California had more than 37,000 beds in hospitals for people with mental health care needs, Newsom said. Now, the state only has about 5,500 beds for those with mental health care needs and has double the population it had in the 1950s.

This is why Proposition 1 was so important, he stressed.

Additionally, the state will be zeroing in on accountability, he said, to ensure that local cities and counties comply with state laws. In fact, he will be making an announcement soon on accountability measures, he said.

Affordability is “the issue of our times,” and California needs to build more housing, the Governor stressed.

There are some communities that thumb their nose at that, but they will be held accountable, he said.


The Governor briefly touched on the budget deficit, noting that after the record-breaking surplus of the last few years, a downturn was expected.

His priority, he said, is to solve the deficit for this year and the coming years without “old tax-and-spend policies” and general tax increases.

PAGA, Retail Theft

When asked about the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), Newsom replied that “no one wants frivolous lawsuits,” recounting the time his business was sued by someone residing in Hawaii for an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violation. The person did not want to fix the issue; he just wanted to settle.

Newsom said the experience was a “wake up call” for him.

In partnership with the state Legislature, a package of bills is being crafted to address different facets of retail crimes, such as dealing with serial offenders, flash mobs, funding for police departments and the California Highway Patrol (CHP), and holding third-party platforms accountable for knowingly allowing the sale of stolen property.


In closing his talk with Barrera, Newsom reiterated his support for business, free enterprise, capitalism and people taking risks.

His priorities in the next three years will center around implementation, accountability and follow through.

“Program passing is not problem solving,” he said. “…In terms of homelessness, in terms of housing…there are not many new laws that we need to pass in a lot of these spaces. It’s now just about driving accountability at the local level.”