Historical Saturday: State Politics

California State Flag

 As most of you know, Jerry Brown beat Meg Whitman for the governor’s seat last Tuesday.  Some of you may know that he served as governor from 1974-1982.  During his two terms in office, he was know as a very frugal and almost penny pinching politician.  Instead of moving into the newly built governor’s mansion, he sold it saying that the upkeep was an expense he didn’t expect the people of California to bear.  In addition, he didn’t drive around in a chauffeured limousine, but instead drove himself in a regular sedan.  California had one of the highest budget surpluses during his tenure as governor.

What I find most interesting is that he followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a politician.  Jerry’s father, “Pat” Brown,” started his work career at the age of 12 when he sold Liberty Bonds on the street corners of San Francisco.  After high school, he paid his way through law school by working in his father’s cigar shop.  Eventually he served two terms as governor from 1958 to 1966 when he lost the re-election to Ronald Reagan.  He married his wife Bernice (daughter of a San Francisco police captain) in 1930 and had four children that were all born in San Francisco.   

Say what you will about the Browns, but the fabric of this state is woven with some of the contributions from this political family.  Living in a city where everyone seems to be from somewhere else, it always amazes me to hear of people who were raised in the bay area or someone whose family has been here for generations.

Seeing the Brown family makes me wonder if we will ever see any of the Schwarzenegger kids in office someday.  Their mother, Maria Shriver, comes from the Kennedy clan, and their father has already shown his commitment to the state by serving seven years.  Unlike their father, the Scharzenneger kids could even aspire to the office of president because they are naturally born citizens.  I could be wrong of course, but it is something to watch for.  We are seeing more and more examples of how not just one, but several members of particular families are running for office.  Kennedy. Bush. Clinton. Brown.

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