LOS ANGELES - Friday, in her first TV interview with a California journalist since launching her bid for Governor, Caitlyn Jenner sat down with FOX 11’s Elex Michaelson for an extensive conversation on The Issue Is.
The sit-down comes roughly six weeks after the Olympian, reality TV star, and transgender activist announced plans to challenge Governor Gavin Newsom in his impending recall election.
Among the many topics Jenner and Michaelson discussed, were Jenner’s qualifications for office, the state’s growing homeless crisis, education policy, her 2020 voting record, and Jenner’s longtime friendship with the state’s former Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
THE ISSUE IS: JENNER’S QUALIFICATIONS FOR GOVERNOR
BACKGROUND: When Jenner jumped into the race to challenge Governor Newsom, she joined a small, but growing, pool of candidates. Among those, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, businessman John Cox, who was the 2018 GOP nominee for the Governor, and Doug Ose, the former three-term California Congressman. Michaelson asked Jenner what makes her stand out from the pack and qualifies her for the role of CA’s chief executive.
JENNER’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I think I've been preparing for this moment pretty much all my life… I came to California in 1973, I drove my sixty three VW bug from Iowa, where I graduated from college, I literally went off the stag, through my cap and gown in the backseat of my 60 degree VW bug, and I was going to the Golden State. I was going to California… It was a different California back then. I surrounded myself with some of the greatest people, athletically, I learned so much from them, went on to win the games. I was the first American to put the American flag up - this is our bicentennial year - at the finish line, so proud to be an American, proud to bring the gold medal back to California. But now, over all of these years, I've also watched the decline of California and I've seen where it's gone. I love this state, so many of my friends have left this state. I’ve lived in Malibu really since 1976, honestly, I don't want to leave, I want to be an example to so many people that, you know, if you don't like what's going on, stand up, and I'm willing to stand up.
THE ISSUE IS: KIM KARDASHIAN, ADVISOR TO THE GOVERNOR?
BACKGROUND: During President Trump’s time in office, Kim Kardashian was seen multiple times at the White House, meeting to discuss criminal justice reform and to lobby for the pardons and releases of many an imprisoned individual. As Jenner seeks the highest office in the Golden State, the Kardashian-Jenner family has taken a backseat on the campaign trail, but could wannabe-lawyer Kim eventually advise a Governor Jenner when it comes to issues of justice?
JENNER’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I talked to all my family about running for Governor, and to be honest with you, it was easier to come out as trans than as a Republican candidate… I think Kimberly has done an amazing job with criminal justice reform, I think she's spot on. I have not asked her to be involved in my campaign, but I guarantee you, as time goes on and I become Governor, I'm sure she'll have my ear…"
THE ISSUE IS: JENNER’S VOTING RECORD
BACKGROUND: In a May interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, Jenner noted that she had not voted in the 2020 election, choosing to go golfing instead. Following that interview, Jenner’s public voting record indicated that Jenner had in fact cast a ballot in last November’s contest. Michaelson asked Jenner to clarify.
JENNER’S CENTRAL TAKE: "It was mail-in balloting, and there were, you know, a couple of people at the house and we’re all sitting around, ‘oh, should we do this?’ And I'm pretty sure [the ballot] was probably sent in… I didn't do it the old-fashioned way, I’m an old fashioned person, you know, common sense, I like going sitting there in the little booth and banging away…"
THE ISSUE IS: NAMING A POSSIBLE REPLACEMENT FOR SENATOR FEINSTEIN
BACKGROUND: One job of California’s Governor is to fill Senate vacancies, should any arise. In December, after then-Senator Kamala Harris was elected Vice President, Governor Newsom appointed then-Secretary of State Alex Padilla to fill the vacancy. With many speculating that Senator Diane Feinstein could step down during the remaining 3.5-years of her term, who would a Governor Jenner appoint to replace her, another Democrat, or a Republican, who would, in turn, shift the Senate’s balance of power towards the right?
JENNER’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I would pick the best person qualified for the job, I don't care if you're Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, vegetarian, it doesn't make any difference to me. I am an inclusive Republican, I’m very different than what you think of as most Republicans. I'm not in this little box because you think, ‘oh my gosh, you're a Republican, you have to think this way,’ just look at me… I am that poster child for change, but I've seen a lot in my life, I've seen a lot, so I would pick the best qualified person for the job…"
The Issue Is: with Elex Michaelson is California's only statewide political show. For showtimes and more information, go to TheIssueIsShow.com.