California Rep. Kevin Kiley rips Gov. Gavin Newsom in ‘very unusual’ House floor speech

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Via David Lightman...

Rep. Kevin Kiley took up nearly four single-spaced pages in Friday’s Congressional Record to argue that California’s economic performance and quality of life make it “the very worst state in the country” and that it’s Gov. Gavin Newsom’s fault.

His highly unusual half-hour speech on the House floor came the day after the California governor debated Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on national television.

The Rocklin Republican methodically detailed his claim that Newsom is beholden to special interests, imposing higher taxes and restricting everyone’s freedom.

“Every day in California, we wake up wondering what is going to be banned next,” Kiley said.

Ripping into a governor on the House floor is “very unusual behavior, especially to go on for so long,” said Darrell West, former director of governance studies at Washington’s Brookings Institution.

“It’s unusual that a member of Congress is complaining about a governor. They’re not even in the chamber or dealing with legislative issues,” West said. “Members also tend to stay away from personal attacks” on the House floor.

Kiley’s criticisms were nearly identical to those leveled by DeSantis during the Thursday night clash on Fox News. Newsom pushed back hard at the allegations, insisting California remained an attractive, prosperous place to live.

Newsom used several data points illustrating what he called California’s dominance — world’s fifth largest economy, strong in technology, tops in manufacturing and so on — and argued “California simply has no peers.”

Kiley has been a passionate critic of Newsom for years. As an assemblyman, he helped lead the unsuccessful 2021 recall effort and ran for governor himself in that election, placing a distant sixth with 3.2% of the vote.

He was elected to Congress last year, and hasn’t let up on Newsom.

Kiley did offer Californians some hope. He said that some parts of the state are attracting new residents, including, as it happens, the area he represents. Kiley’s district includes several of the Sacramento area’s more conservative suburbs, such as Roseville, Rocklin, Folsom, Lincoln and Loomis.

Placer County’s population on July 1, 2022, was 417,772, up about 13,000 from 2020, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. California’s mid- 2022 population was 39.5 million, down 508,903 from 2020.


Newsom joined five other Democratic governors in signing a letter to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra (a former California congressman and attorney general), urging his department to provide new guidance on coverage of over-the-counter contraception.

That includes making sure that over-the-counter birth control — set to be released to the public soon — is covered without cost-sharing under private health insurance plans, Medicare and Medicaid.

“As a 2020 Women’s Health Issues study found, with no or low out-of-pocket costs, a large population of women are likely to use an OTC birth control product, leading to greater contraceptive access and decreased unintended pregnancies. Without coverage that includes low or no out-of-pocket costs, over-the-counter birth control products become much less accessible,” the letter reads.

The letter is co-signed by Govs. Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania, Roy Cooper of North Carolina, Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, Maura Healey of Massachusetts and J.B. Pritzker of Illinois.


Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, will hand over leadership of California’s upper chamber in two months’ time: On Feb. 5, 2024.

That’s when she will formally transition power to Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg.

A memo announcing the transfer was released Monday, promising to release more details about the ceremony after the holidays.


“I thought my ethically-challenged colleague (Sen. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey) could use some encouragement given his substantial legal problems. So, I approached a seasoned expert on the matter to give ‘Bobby from Jersey’ some advice.”

- Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pennsylvania, sharing a Cameo he purchased of newly ousted Republican Congressman George Santos, via X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

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  • California is making changes to its bottle deposit law — ones that could put extra money in your pocket. Residents soon can turn in wine bottles, liquor bottles and other large beverage containers for cash, via Dominique Williams.