Gavin Newsom was San Francisco's mayor for almost ten years before becoming the state of California’s Lieutenant Governor. Throughout his political career, Newsom has been very open about his dyslexia and the struggles he faced because of it. Though he has called his learning disability the “best thing that’s ever happened to me,” it still caused him difficulties with academics and self-confidence. He was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was 5 years old, but his mother decided to not tell him at the time so that the stigma of a learning disability wasn’t attached to his schooling. Newsom sat through years of spelling, reading, and writing lessons gritting his teeth and wondering why he never seemed to excel before finding out he was dyslexic in fifth grade.

After going through five schools in seven years though, Newsom knew he would have to find something that worked if he wanted to get into college. Between his mother’s aid and encouragement and extra tutoring in high school, Newsom got into college on a partial baseball scholarship. While at Santa Clara University, Newsom discovered a passion for politics. Although he still struggled with reading, his interest and desire to learn helped him tackle political science books and turn his academic performance around. Though he approached every book and newspaper with a pen for highlighting and notetaking, Newsom claims his dyslexia helped him develop strong retention skills and the ability to think on his feet-- traits that have helped him in college and throughout his political career.

Read more about Gavin Newsom and his dyslexia here, or watch an ABC7 News interview with Newsom where he discusses his personal experiences with the learning disability.