LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — A strong California influence is now ever present in Washington, D.C..
From Vice President Kamala Harris to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a number of cabinet nominees, the more progressive ideas of the sunshine state have new national fuel. However, some critics say those ideas may be too much for the rest of the country.
California has been at the forefront of many policy issues including phasing out gas-powered cars, decarbonizing the electricity grid, science and innovation, and pushing for reforms in a gig economy.
Some political veterans are encouraged by the strong California presence in Washington, most notably with Vice President Kamala Harris.
“She’ll be in every meeting, she’ll have the last word with the President, and she can pass on some of our innovations, breakthroughs, things that we have pioneered out here, and maybe help to solve national problems. Having her there is a huge breakthrough and a big boost for California,” Gray Davis, Former California Governor said.
Former Gov. Davis, a fellow Democrat, is pleased by the federal reinstatement of limits on greenhouse gas emissions, standards established during his tenure.
The California influences in D.C. may soon get stronger with the appointment of the state’s Attorney General Xavier Bacerra for Health and Human Services Secretary. Treasury nominee Janet Yellen is a professor at UC Berkeley along with Jennifer Granholm who’s nominated to head the Department of Energy.
California’s Alejandro Mayorkas also is the nominee for Secretary of Homeland Security.
“California is far more progressive than the rest of the country through various policies. But don’t think that it’s so far to the left. It’s more of a pragmatic progressivism… and even then there is some area, policy areas where California has fallen quite short of a progressive ideal,” William Resh, USC Price School of Public Policy said.
Professor William Resh points to the recent failure of Prop 22 in California, which has gig workers such as Uber and Lyft drivers remaining as independent contractors.
Illinois-based Republican strategist Pat Brady notes the rest of the country is much less influenced by California.
“The property taxes are crazy, income taxes are crazy. You buy gas in California, it’s a buck and a half more expensive than anywhere in the country. So to enact regulations, no matter if it’s a good public policy argument maybe, that actually drives people out of your state, that’s going to be way too radical for the rest of the country,” Pat Brady, Republican Consultant, Next Generation Strategies said.
Resh believes some California ideas will be selected and applied to the rest of the country but he expects some “adjustments by these appointees to understand they’re no longer in California.”
Observers also point to the close friendship between Vice President Harris and California Governor Gavin Newsom as another factor of influence. However, Newsom is facing a growing recall movement that could come to a statewide vote.