Gavin Christopher Newsom was born in San Francisco, California, to Tessa Thomas (née Menzies) and William Alfred Newsom III, a retired state appeals court justice and attorney for Getty Oil. His father is of mostly Irish descent; one of Newsom's maternal great-grandfathers, Scotsman Thomas Addis, was a pioneer scientist in the field of nephrology and a professor of medicine at Stanford University.
Newsom is the second cousin, twice removed, of musician Joanna Newsom.
As supervisor, Newsom had as his centerpiece a voter initiative called Care Not Cash (Measure N), which offered care, supportive housing, drug treatment, and help from behavioral health specialists for the homeless in lieu of direct cash aid from the state's general assistance program.
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Newsom attended Redwood High School and graduated from Santa Clara University.
After graduation, he co-founded businesses with family friend Gordon Getty, who was an investor.
He later reflected on his education fondly, crediting the Jesuit approach of Santa Clara that he said has helped him become an independent thinker who questions orthodoxy. Getty told the San Francisco Chronicle that he treated Newsom like a son and invested in his first business venture because of that relationship.
According to Getty, later business investments were because of "the success of the first." One of Newsom's early interactions with government occurred when Newsom resisted the San Francisco Health Department requirement to install a sink at his Plump Jack Winery. The department required the store to install a $27,000 sink in the carpeted wine shop on the grounds that the shop needed the sink for a mop.
Newsom supported HOPE, a failed local ballot measure that would have allowed an increased condo-conversion rate if a certain percentage of tenants within a building were buying their units.
As a candidate for mayor, he supported building 10,000 new housing units to create 15,000 new construction jobs.
Newsom began his political career in 1996 when San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown appointed him to serve on the city's Parking and Traffic Commission and as a member of the Board of Supervisors the following year.
In 2003 he was elected as the 42nd Mayor of San Francisco, the city's youngest in a hundred years.
he attended kindergarten and first grade at the French American bilingual school in San Francisco.