California GOP governor hopeful Major Williams calls state a ‘trendsetter,’ must get tougher on crime

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California Republican gubernatorial candidate Major Williams believes California’s ability to tackle rising crime will have deep implications for the rest of the country.

"(California) is the incubator and then it’s going to other places as well," Williams told Fox News in a Wednesday interview. "So, we kind of have to nip it in the bud right here."

Williams, a Republican vying to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom in a recall election, said he also supports the recall campaign against Los Angeles Country District Attorney George Gascón.

A former assistant chief of police with the Los Angeles Police Department and former San Francisco Attorney, Gascón has been accused by crime victims of creating a revolving door for criminals where they are not fully held accountable for their offenses.

Williams said the ability of criminals to commit petty crimes knowing that they likely won’t face serious punishment is a "red flag if you want to see a rise in crime in a particular place."

"As a candidate (for governor), I am someone who is actively supporting the recall of the D.A. when it comes to some of the leniency that he has on … crime," Williams said. "It sends a message to the entire state as well, because California is a trailblazer and trendsetter when it comes to policy, the things that we do."

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Williams said he believes the state must balance a tough-on-crime approach while ensuring that it does not disproportionately affect minority communities.

"[T]here have been unjust sentences that have happened as well, which is why I care so much about reform when those individuals get out so they have an opportunity to thrive in our society moving forward," Williams said.

Williams, an entrepreneur and founder of Major Kicks for Kids, was the first Republican to announce his candidacy for governor. Businessman John Cox, whom Newsom defeated in 2018, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, and 1976 Olympic decathlon champion and TV personality Caitlyn Jenner have since entered the fray.

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Newsom faces a recall election later this year. Organizers, upset over the governor’s handling of the pandemic gathered and validated enough signatures to qualify for a ballot in April.

Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this report.

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