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19th Governor of
California, January 11, 1895 - January 3, 1899

Born:  May 18, 1851, in Janesville, Wisconsin

Died:  July 30, 1908, in Stockton, California

Marriage:  Inez A. Merrill (1873)


James Budd was the second California governor to have spent his youth in the State of California. (The 12th governor, Pacheco, was born in California.)


Early Life

Though James was born in Janesville, Wisconsin, he grew up in California. His father, a lawyer, brought the family west in 1858 to San Joaquin County. They moved to Stockton in 1861, and there James attended public schools. Later he went to Brayton College School in Oakland, and then to the University of California where he was a member of the first graduating class in 1873. He was also a member of the national guard, eventually advancing to the rank of brigadier general.



After graduation Budd studied law, passed the bar exam in 1874, and went into business with his father. The elder Budd passed on his interest in politics to his son, who was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1882, representing Alameda, Sacramento, and San Joaquin counties. After one term, Budd returned to his practice as a trial lawyer and to local politics. Accepting the Democratic nomination for governor in 1894, Budd ran a colorful and compelling campaign that caused the Riverside Examiner to say: “He is a man of strong personal magnetism -- one who wins friends by the score…” Budd was the only Democrat to win election in that primarily Republican year.



One of Governor Budd’s goals was to improve the administration of state institutions. He supported higher education, including the reorganization of the normal schools and the opening of San Diego State Normal School in 1897. A dairy board was established. A state highway system was planned and work begun on the Placerville-Lake Tahoe road. The U.S. was engaged in the Spanish-American War during these years, and Budd was called upon to raise troops. California was a supply and mobilization center for the war in the Philippines.


Later Years

When his term ended, Budd moved to San Francisco and opened a law office. In 1900 he was appointed to the board of regents of the University of California. In failing health, Budd spent some time touring Europe. He was 57 years old when he died in Stockton.


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