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34th Governor of
   January 6, 1975 - January 3, 1983 (Democrat)

39th Governor of California
   January 3, 2011 -     (Democrat)

Born:  April 7, 1938, in San Francisco, California




A third-generation Californian and the son of California’s 32nd governor, Edmund G. Brown, Jr. is known as Jerry.


Early Life

Jerry Brown was born and grew up in San Francisco. He attended the University of Santa Clara, Sacred Heart Novitiate (a Jesuit seminary where he studied for the priesthood), and the University of California (Bachelor of Arts degree in Latin and Greek in 1961). In 1964 Brown graduated from Yale Law School.



Brown’s first statewide elected office was secretary of state in 1970. He moved from that to the governor’s office in 1975. In 1978 the California voters returned him for a second term with the largest vote margin in California’s history.

In the 1982 election, Brown had an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate. After traveling in Japan and India, he practiced law in Los Angeles. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the 1992 Democratic presidential nomination. Brown’s radio broadcast We the People began early in 1994 and continued for several years. In 1998 Jerry Brown was elected mayor of the city of Oakland. In 2006 Brown returned to State office as Attorney General of California.



Styling himself as a “minimalist” governor who refused the trappings of political power (such as an executive jet, limousine, or governor’s mansion), Jerry Brown was welcomed by those who had lost faith in government, and particularly by young people. He himself was only 37 years old when he became governor. Brown favored less government spending, as had Governor Reagan before him. An outspoken environmentalist, he urged enactment of the California Coastal Protection Act. He supported both alternative energy sources and alternative medicine.

Brown appointed more women, young people, and minorities to government positions (including the first woman, first African-American, and first Latino on the California Supreme Court), but was criticized for some of his choices. Proposition 13, which cut state property taxes, was passed in 1978. At first Brown opposed this measure, but he changed his view after it passed.


(2011-     )

Brown's goals for California include creating more jobs, improving education, reforming the budget process, protecting the environment and water resources, creating clean energy, and defending civil rights.

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