Gavin Newsom praises job training program in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Democratic party's candidate for California Governor campaigned in Fresno on Tuesday.

Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom toured the IBEW's Apprentice training program, where workers are being readied for construction jobs. He said, "This is exactly the kind of program we need to be promoting investing in and advancing."

The program's manager, Chuck Riojas told Newsom demand for these jobs is high and the pay is pretty good.

"A first-year apprentice, first day out in the trade it is $17 an hour, and then they top out at $38 five years later. It's one of those career paths anybody can entertain."

Many of those being trained here are going on to jobs on the high-speed rail project, which Newsom has long supported.

"We can get phase one done, that's valley to valley, and I think that's very significant for the Central Valley as well as the Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. The deeper question is how to get it over the Tehachapi Mountains and San Gabriel Mountains and how do we identify financing for that."

Newsom is being opposed in the Governor's race by Republican John Cox, who has made the repeal of the state's gas tax on the November ballot his priority. Newsom says dumping the tax would be a mistake.

"Thousands and thousands of projects will simply end, infrastructure will continue to erode, public safety will diminish. You will have more congestion, more repairs on your vehicles."

Newsom also expressed support for Senator Dianne Feinstein. Over the weekend, the state Democratic Party endorsed her opponent, Democratic State Senator Kevin De Leon for Feinstein's U.S. Senate seat.

"I think Senator Feinstein is the person we need at this moment. I have great admiration and respect for her. I know she has great admiration and respect for the folks of the Central Valley where she has been an advocate. I think it would be wise to consider an extension of her tenure."

After touring the apprentice training facility, Newsom attended a "meet and greet" at the offices of Granville homes.

Newsom's opponent, John Cox is planning to visit Fresno on Wednesday.
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