SDUT: Newsom tours San Diego senior center as voters prepare to go to polls

In a late push before polls open for Tuesday’s primary, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom stopped in San Diego to tour a senior center and meet with one of the most reliable voting blocs as he runs for governor.

Leading in nearly every poll by double digits, Newsom, a Democrat, spent a part of Thursday morning touring a dental clinic and a dining hall at Serving Senior’s Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center downtown, a facility that serves the area’s low-income aging residents.

“What has lacked in the past on the issue of our aging population is intentionality, meaning this state hasn’t organized itself in a deliberative manner to address your needs,” Newsom said as he addressed the crowd.

“We frankly haven’t been focused on objective goals, timelines, in terms of addressing our housing needs, your healthcare needs, addressing the issue that I think is one of the most significant issues for our senior population which is social isolation,” he added.

While he was there to talk with seniors about housing, healthcare, and other quality-of-life issues, he was also under pressure to commit to creating a long-term plan to address the needs of the state’s growing 65-plus population. The Public Policy Institute of California predicts that this demographic by 2030 will grow by four million, placing new demands on safety net programs.

“For the next governor aging is going to be one of the most critical issues he or she will be facing” said Paul Downey, the president and CEO of Serving Seniors, the nonprofit that administers the wellness center.