Gov. Newsom answers questions on surging crime, COVID-19 vaccines, new book and more

He discussed his new book, "Ben and Emma's Big Hit," sharing his personal story to destigmatize dyslexia
SACRAMENTO (KGO) -- In an interview with ABC7's Kristen Sze, Governor Gavin Newsom spoke about a couple of key issues Californians are facing such as crime and COVID 19. He also discussed his new book, "Ben and Emma's Big Hit," sharing his personal story to destigmatize dyslexia.

As the Bay Area sees a rash of shootings, mass retail theft and robberies, Governor Gavin Newsom says it's happening throughout the state.

"Violent crime rate rose .08% last year and nationwide at five percent. We're seeing pockets of crime, all throughout California, not just in the Bay Area," said Governor Newsom.

"It's unacceptable. People have the right to be angry about it. People's feelings are one thing. Statistics are another. Feelings at this point matter more."

The governor says he has been working with mayors and California Highway Patrol to increase enforcement at shopping centers hit hard by retail thefts.

RELATED: Newsom says shoplifters should be prosecuted under existing California laws, defends Prop. 47

He says in his next state budget proposal, there will be an "substantial increase" addressing crime.

He then discussed about COVID-19's impact on schools from vaccine mandates, remote learning, school closures and learning loss as the U.S. faces the threat of the omicron and delta variants.

"We make up in the state of California 12 percent of nation's school students. But .77 percent, less than .08 percent, of the school closures because we leaned in to vaccines, we leaned in to mask wearing. we leaned onto science and public health. and so I'm proud of that."

RELATED: Newsom encourages COVID-19 shots, boosters as new variant detected in California

"I just want to remind everybody, the passport, the way out of this pandemic is by getting vaccinated, by getting boosted," he said.

Gov. Newsom says once the FDA fully approves the COVID vaccine for children, he thinks it should be added to a list of 10 existing vaccines for grade school students.

Lastly, he talked about this new book, "Ben and Emma's Big Hit" and his attempt to destigmatized dyslexia.

"It's a personal story, a personal journey about my dyslexia. I have a severe learning disability. It's still with me. It's not a disease dyslexia. It's a language-based learning dyslexia," he said.

RELATED: Gov. Gavin Newsom writes children's book about dyslexia

The governor says one in five of people have some form of a learning disability. He says it's surprising to find out the high number of people who go undiagnosed.

He was diagnosed at a young age, he says, and received supplemental support including speech therapy.

Newsom said he doesn't read a speech because "I can't read a speech. I still have a very difficult time reading. I have a very difficult time spelling," he shared.

RELATED: RAW VIDEO: Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom talks about dyslexia

He says the one speech he has to read is a teleprompter for the State of the State address every year.

Even as San Francisco mayor from 2004 to 2011, he could not read speeches, which now as governor, his dyslexia inspired his children's book for students, parents as well as his two children who struggle with learning differences.

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