California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris endorsed Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom for governor of California Friday at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center Forum as part of an event hosted by the College Democrats at USC and the Unruh Associates, a campus group focused on student political engagement.
“I am here today to endorse Gavin Newsom to be the next governor of the State of California,” Harris said in her speech. “Gavin and I have been friends for a long time, long before either of us were elected to political office … He has the courage to be a leader on universal health coverage. He has the courage to be a leader on smart gun safety policy. And he will bring that leadership as governor.”
Harris, who received an honorary degree from USC in 2015 when she was the California Attorney General, also came to USC in 2016 during her successful senatorial campaign.
Newsom spoke after Harris gave her endorsement.
“I couldn’t be more honored that [Harris] is with us,” Newsom said in his speech. “I have four kids … I want them to grow up to see powerful leaders of all stripes … At our best, we don’t tolerate diversity, we celebrate it.”
After the event, Newsom spoke to the press about the importance of Harris’ endorsement to his campaign.
“This was a very significant endorsement at a critical time, weeks before the [California Democratic State] Convention,” Newsom said. “Kamala Harris is literally universally acknowledged as one of the top rising star Democrats in the United States of America. She is a profoundly significant political figure, and for me at this important critical juncture in this campaign, to have her endorse me is a very important milestone.”
Accompanying Harris and Newsom was Denea Joseph, a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient who emigrated from Belize at the age of 7 and was raised in South Los Angeles. Joseph was Harris’ guest at the 2018 State of the Union address.
“I’ve been extremely privileged to call California home,” Joseph said. “California is at the forefront of advocating for all … because no one should be considered illegal.”
College Democrats at USC President Nick Fiorillo said the organization was honored to host Harris and Newsom.
“This is a critical endorsement at this point in the campaign and Lieutenant Governor Newsom is one of our most important leaders,” Fiorillo said. “This is part of what makes USC special — leaders in our state, country and world know that USC is the kind of place where important decisions and announcements are made. We are so thrilled that our members and the USC student body were able to hear from and meet them.”