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Useful Notes / Jerry Brown

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"I've been in office and I've been out of office. And if I were to choose, I'd rather be in office."

The youngest Governor of California, and later the oldest Governor of California, a perennial presidential candidate, and a man who deserves the nickname of Moonbeam.

Born April 7, 1938, Edmund Gerald Brown Jr. is the son of 32nd California Governor Pat Brown (legal name Edmund Gerald Brown Sr.), has spent a long life being everything BUT a normal politician:, Secretary of State, Governor (1975-1983), a failed run for Senate, 3 failed runs for president, A Mayor, Attorney General, and finally Governor again (2011-2019).

Brown started as a Fiscal Conservative, cutting his own perks like the limo and mansion and balancing California's budget, and a Liberal in other senses (death penalty, environment, gay rights, campaigning against Proposition 13, etc). Before term limits were introduced to California, Brown left after 2 terms to try for the Senate. He lost, that and the 1976, 1980, and 1992 Democratic Primaries. After 6 years in self-imposed political exile, he returned as Mayor of Oakland (1999-2007), using his brand of politics to strengthen the mayor's office and reverse the downward trend of the city. After 8 years he ran for Attorney General, won and held the position for 4 years under Arnold Schwarzenegger. During this period, both he and Schwarzenegger refused to defend the anti-gay Proposition 8 in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger lawsuit which ultimately deemed it unconstitutional, Brown arguing that it violated the Fourteenth Amendment and should be repealed. He later succeeded him as Governor, winning an election against eBay CEO Meg Whitman.

36 years after he first took office as the 34th Governor, Jerry Brown was inaugurated as the 39th Governor. He served two further terms before reaching his term limits in 2019; apropos of nothing, his successor, his erstwhile lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom, is a distant relative of folksinger Joanna Newsom.

He is also the Governor Brown in the Dead Kennedys song "California Über Alles". Ironically enough, frontman Jello Biafra admitted Brown was a pretty good guy around the 2010 election ("I realized early on that maybe I'd misfired and exaggerated"). In the 1979 film Americathon, Jerry Brown is parodied as President Chet Roosevelt, played by John Ritter.