Kevin Kiley: Granite Bay Grizzly gunning for governor

GBHS alum and assemblyman of California’s sixth district, Kevin Kiley, is running for governor in the recall election against Gavin Newsom.


Justin Ha

A supporter of Kevin Kiley drives along Highway 680

Before he was an assemblyman running for governor of California, Kevin Kiley was a Grizzly.

Kiley graduated as the valedictorian of Granite Bay High School in 2003. He went on to receive his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, his law degree from Yale University and a master’s degree in education from Loyola Marymount University. After his education, Kiley began working as a teacher in inner-city Los Angeles before becoming an attorney and later, a prosecutor.

“(GBHS) was instrumental in allowing me to have the opportunities that I’ve had. I want to make sure that every kid growing up in California has the same opportunity that I did to attend a great public school,” Kiley said.

In 2016, Kiley was elected assemblyman of California’s sixth district in the State Assembly.

Flash forward to July 2021, Kiley announced his candidacy for governor of California in the recall election against Gavin Newsom.

“I saw (the recall election) as an opportunity to return to the idea of government by the people because there’s a lot of folks in California who are very frustrated with the direction of the state and the performance of this government and this governor in particular,” Kiley said. “A recall is an opportunity for the people of the state to really put their mark directly on our government.”

The recall election is not Kiley’s first altercation with Newsom. The year prior, Kiley and legislator James Gallagher won a trial against the governor in the superior court, which ruled that Newsom had violated the separation of powers during the state of emergency.

Although Kiley is running as a Republican, he doesn’t want that to be the main appeal of his campaign.

“People are looking for changes that aren’t really about Republican or Democrat,” Kiley said. “They are about just having our government do its job correctly and get back to basics.”

Instead of focusing on party-specific policy, Kiley has centered his campaign around the idea of returning power to Californians. He believes that the government should rarely impact citizens’ lives.

“I think we have too much power at the state level. So I would want to let go of that hold on power and allow people in their own communities to make their own decisions about how their communities are run and how they want to live their lives,” Kiley said.

This philosophy can be seen in Kiley’s COVID-19 policy, which revolves around individual decisions, allowing citizens to make choices on wearing a mask and receiving the vaccine based on personal circumstances. Kiley has continuously criticized the governor for his handling of education during the pandemic.

I think we have too much power at the state level. So I would want to let go of that hold on power and allow people in their own communities to make their own decisions about how their communities are run and how they want to live their lives.

— Kevin Kiley

“The most important thing is to keep schools open. That is something that this governor has failed to do,” Kiley said. “I would want to make sure that every parent and child in California has access to uninterrupted in-person instruction.”

Much of Kiley’s campaign has been focused on criticizing Newsom’s policy and the current state of California. It is clear that Kiley is more interested in recalling Newsom than competing with his fellow candidates for governor.

“(Newsom) is someone who does not actually serve the people of our state as governor and I would seek to do that actually – make it about public service,” Kiley said. “I’ve gotten to see firsthand all the things that are broken with our state government and I’d be ready on the first day in office to begin fixing those things.”

On social media, Kiley has continuously blasted the governor, going as far as to call Newsom “America’s worst governor.” 

“You look at issues like homelessness, like poverty, like equality, like our educational performance, like quality of our infrastructure, the cost of living and housing. All of these things are just about the worst in the country and have gotten much worse with Newsom as governor,” Kiley said. “It’s very clear that his goal is not to serve the people of our state, but rather to help out the powerful lobbyists and special interests that are responsible for him becoming governor in the first place.”       

Kiley’s experiences as a teacher, prosecutor and assemblyman have shaped the values he champions and the issues he wants to address.

“I was a prosecutor and saw how some of the changes we made to our criminal laws have been very dangerous and undermine public safety. I’ve seen as a teacher how many of our public schools are not giving our children the education they deserve,” Kiley said. “I’ve tried to bring all of that perspective into the legislature and I would certainly bring those experiences as governor.”