Gavin Newsom is currently climbing the political ladder in California, from San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors to the city mayor’s office to his current post as California’s lieutenant governor.
But the top top job? President of the United States? Newsom says that job sounds absolutely terrible.
“That seems like the most miserable job in the world,” Newsom said when asked if he’d ever want to run for president. “No. I have no, zero, don’t even talk about it. We’re wasting valuable time,” Newsom added with a wave of his hand.
A vocal Hillary Clinton supporter throughout the campaign, Newsom did say that the country and its two dominant political parties are in a very tough position.
“I don’t know where either party goes,” Newsom said. “Our party [the Democratic party] was almost taken over by an independent, I guess a socialist, right? Both parties are in atrophy.”
Newsom talked about all kinds of issues during his 30-minute conversation. Here are some of the highlights.
On the legalization of marijuana in California:
Newsom is pretty excited about legalization, praising California voters for their decision to pass the ballot proposition. “For me this was bigger than California. I think the war on marijuana is all but over,” he said. The benefits are about more than just tax dollars, Newsom said, though he thinks the added cash will be huge for California, too.
Legalizing the drug will also keep people from going to prison for non-violent crimes, he argued. “It’s a social justice issue, it’s a criminal justice issue, it’s a racial issue,” he said. “There are one million human beings today in California who could get their records cleared or expunged. In a competitive world where it’s hard enough to get a job and you’ve got that permanent record, the ability to expunge that, to clear it, is a big deal.”
On Calexit, the idea floated last week by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar that California secede from the United States:
Newsom is not a supporter. “I don’t want to let the rest of this country drift into the abyss. I want to fight for it,” Newsom said. “I’m not going to let them go and they don’t need us to go.” And oh, by the way, there was also that little thing called the American Civil War that happened last time states tried to secede, Newsom added. “I don’t think it’s as easy as one, two, three, and a ballot initiative.”
On the gig economy, and the workforce created by companies like Uber, Airbnb and TaskRabbit:
Newsom used Uber as an example. “They’re meeting demand, in some respects demand we didn’t even know we had. They’re creating it, and they should be complimented for that,” Newsom explained. “The tech genie is out of the bottle, you can’t put it back in.”
That doesn’t mean there aren’t serious issues, specifically things like retirement for on-demand workers and state-wide regulatory issues, he added. “We have rules that no longer are relevant to the world we’re living in. Our regulatory system can’t keep up. You’re seeing it certainly here, intensely with the Airbnb debate. And now we’re catching up obviously to Uber, [and] the idea of driverless cars.”
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.