In this photo taken Monday April 15, 2019 Gov. Gavin Newsom poses for a photo at his Capitol office in Sacramento, Calif. In Newsom's first 100 days as governor, he's traveled to Central America, battled with the Trump administration on immigration, placed a moratorium on the death penalty and pledged bold action on housing and clean water. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom has kept up a frenetic pace in his first 100 days, jousting with President Donald Trump, traveling to Central America, placing a moratorium on executions and pledging bold action on housing and clean water.

It's in contrast to Jerry Brown, his predecessor and fellow Democrat who favored a more measured approach to governing the nation's most populous state. While Newsom publicly reveres Brown, he's said it's time for a greater emphasize on poverty and affordability issues. He's substantially altered two of Brown's signature projects, the high-speed rail and twin water tunnels, but says it's with an eye toward improvement.

In a Monday interview with The Associated Press, Newsom summed up his approach: "I could wait for things to take shape and hope things come around. Or I could try to advance an agenda and hold myself to a higher level of accountability. . . I'm willing to take the heat on these things; I'm willing to engage on the front end not the back end."

BATTLING TRUMP

California has added several lawsuits to its 40 plus against the Trump administration under Newsom, including one to block an emergency declaration to pay for a border wall.

In removing most National Guard troops from the border, Newsom called Trump's immigration actions "absurd."

He's also moved to protect the individual mandate that requires people to buy health care and slammed Trump's threats to withhold federal emergency aid from last year's wildfires.

"We have to be the positive alternative to Trump and Trumpism," Newsom said.

EL SALVADOR

Newsom visited El Salvador this month to learn about the poverty and violence forcing thousands to seek asylum in the United States.

He defended the trip against critics who said he should instead focus on poverty at home.

"I don't know of another issue that's more resonant and more topical and relevant, in California and this nation, than the issue of asylum seekers, the issue of immigration," he said.

But a governor has limited power over immigration and the most tangible idea Newsom left with centered on economic development. He said California could help El Salvador market its surfing industry and invited Salvadoran officials to California to pitch investors.

DEATH PENALTY

Newsom's most significant action may be his moratorium on executions for the 737 people on death row.

The state hasn't executed anyone since 2006, but voters passed a ballot measure in 2016 to speed up the process. Newsom said he couldn't allow it knowing the state might execute innocent people.

He also dismantled the "death chamber" at San Quentin State Prison and halted lethal injection protocols.

He may go a step further in commuting some death row sentences entirely, but he said Monday he's waiting for clarity from the state Supreme Court, which blocked several of Brown's commutation requests.

Relatives of murder victims have launched a tour urging Newsom to change his mind.

HIGH-SPEED RAIL

Newsom's changes to a troubled high-speed rail project marked a challenge to Brown's priorities and a lesson in the perils of an unclear message.

He declared there wasn't a current path to complete the train from Los Angeles to San Francisco. His office them scrambled to clarify Newsom was still committed to the project.

The confusion gave Trump an opening to threaten pulling back $3.5 billion for the project. That would drastically undercut the state's ability to finish current construction in the Central Valley.

The state's high-speed rail agency will release an updated plan to lawmakers May 1. Newsom wants to build 171 miles (275 kilometers) of track in the Central Valley before heading west to the San Francisco Bay Area.

He said his remarks were designed to address the project's ballooning costs and unrealistic deadlines.

Newsom chafed at suggestions he was dismantling Brown's legacy. In the same February speech, he also rolled back Brown's plan to build two giant tunnels to reroute the state's water, saying he favored one.

AFFORDABILITY AND POVERTY

Newsom has already sued one city for failing to meet its housing goals and threatened to take away transportation funding from others that don't comply. Lawmakers are skeptical about the idea of linking money for road repairs to housing. Perhaps sensing their resistance, Newsom drafted sample legislation that wouldn't link that money until 2023.

In his budget, Newsom gave $1 billion in tax credits and loans to accelerate housing development and added $750 million to help local governments ramp up housing production. All of that is still winding through the Legislature.

Newsom also said addressing the state's affordability crisis is a priority.

He has focused on improving access to clean water in the Central Valley, where he said as many as a million people don't have drinkable water.

He's proposed a tax on water users and farmers, an idea that failed in the Legislature last year. He visited a town with water problems during his first week in office.

"It's my effort to change the conversation from last year that ended up short," he said.

FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump talks with then Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, left, and as California Gov. Jerry Brown listens during a visit to a neighborhood impacted by the wildfires in Paradise, Calif. In Newsom's first 100 days as governor, he's placed a moratorium on the death penalty, set aggressive goals to increase housing and battled with the Trump administration on immigration (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
FILE - This Feb. 26, 2015, photo shows a full-scale mockup of a high-speed train, displayed at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. Newsom says the administration's attempt to take back $3.5 billion granted for the state's bullet train is
FILE In this March 13,2019 file photo provided by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation a chair is removed from the death penalty chamber at San Quentin State Prison, in San Quentin, Calif. In his first 100 days as governor, Gavin Newsom has placed a moratorium on the death penalty, set aggressive goals to increase housing and battled with the Trump administration on immigration. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via AP, File)
FILE -- In this April 8, 2019 file photo California Gov. Gavin Newsom receives a traditional Panchimalco handmade textile during his visit in Panchimalco, El Salvador, Monday, April 8, 2019. Newsom traveled to El Salvador to discuss the immigration issues. In Newsom's first 100 days as governor, he's placed a moratorium on the death penalty, set aggressive goals to increase housing and battled with the Trump administration on immigration. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez, File)
FILE - This Dec. 7, 1993 file photo shows Richard Allen Davis appearing with his public defender, Bruce Kinnison, in a Sonoma County Municipal Court in Santa Rosa, Calif. Davis was sentenced to death since his 1996 conviction in the kidnap-murder of 12-year-old Polly Klaas of Petaluma, Calif. In Newsom's first 100 days as governor, he's placed a moratorium on the death penalty, set aggrieves goals to increase housing and battled with the Trump administration on immigration. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
FILE -- In this April 9, 2019 file photo President-elect of El Salvador Nayib Bukele, right, accompanies California Gov. Gavin Newsom and his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, on a visit the Museum of Art of El Salvador, MARTE, in San Salvador, El Salvador. Newsom traveled to El Salvador to discuss the immigration issues. In Newsom's first 100 days as governor, he's placed a moratorium on the death penalty, set aggressive goals to increase housing and battled with the Trump administration on immigration. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez,File)
FILE -- In this March 13, 2019 file photo California Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses his decision to place a moratorium on the death penalty during a news conference at the Capitol, in Sacramento, Calif. In Newsom's first 100 days as governor, he's traveled to Central America, battled with the Trump administration on immigration, placed a moratorium on the death penalty and pledged bold action on housing and clean water. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2016 file photo, a man stands outside his tent on Division Street in San Francisco. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, outlined his plans in his proposed budget to spend $1.75 billion on housing in a state that is woefully short on units and $500 million on homelessness. In Newsom's first 100 days as governor, he's placed a moratorium on the death penalty, set aggressive goals to increase housing and battled with the Trump administration on immigration. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
FILE -- In this Jan. 7, 2019 file photo California Governor Gavin Newsom his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, and their children wave after taking the oath office during his inauguration as 40th Governor of California, in Sacramento, Calif. In Newsom's first 100 days as governor, he's traveled to Central America, battled with the Trump administration on immigration, placed a moratorium on the death penalty and pledged bold action on housing and clean water.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
FILE -- In this Jan. 7, 2019 file photo California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks during his inauguration as his son, Dutch, listens behind the podium, in Sacramento, Calif. In Newsom's first 100 days as governor, he's traveled to Central America, battled with the Trump administration on immigration, placed a moratorium on the death penalty and pledged bold action on housing and clean water. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
FILE -- In this April 7, 2019 file photo California Gov. Gavin Newsom with his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, visit the tomb of Archbishop Oscar Romero at Metropolitan Cathedral in San Salvador, El Salvador, Newsom traveled to El Salvador to discuss the immigration issues. In Newsom's first 100 days as governor, he's placed a moratorium on the death penalty, set aggressive goals to increase housing and battled with the Trump administration on immigration. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez, Pool, File)
File- In this Nov. 13, 2018 file photo, California Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, right, and Gov. Jerry Brown talk with reporters after their meeting at the Capitol, in Sacramento, Calif. In Newsom's first 100 days as governor, he's traveled to Central America, battled with the Trump administration on immigration, placed a moratorium on the death penalty and pledged bold action on housing and clean water. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File).
In this photo taken Monday April 15, 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses a variety issues during an interview with the Associated Press in Sacramento, Calif. In Newsom's first 100 days as governor, he's traveled to Central America, battled with the Trump administration on immigration, placed a moratorium on the death penalty and pledged bold action on housing and clean water. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)