California Gov. Jerry Brown lays out vision in his 16th, and final, State of State

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Governor Jerry Brown delivered his final state of the state address in Sacramento on Thursday where he detailed what has been accomplished so far and what lies ahead this year.

Brown was greeted into the assembly chamber with cheers from legislators and a standing ovation. Some chanted that he should run for one more year, to which Brown jokingly replied, “I accept your nomination.”

He began his speech by saying that California is prospering and he wasted no time highlighting the passage of reforms to pension and workers’ compensation thanks to Republicans who crossed party lines.

 

“The water bond, the rainy day fund, the cap and trade program… By the way, you Republicans, as I look over here and there, I got you back,” Brown said. 

Brown came into office when California was in deficit and the economy was viewed as collapsing. California is now the 6th largest economy in the world.

“We’re going to miss this governor,” Senator Nancy Skinner (D) said. “I will miss him. California will miss him. He’s done an incredible job. Our economy is strong; our revenues are healthy. We’re funding our schools better.”

Brown said the “bolder path is still our way forward” on climate change, infrastructure investments, healthcare, education, and criminal justice. He vowed to do everything in his power to defeat any repeal effort on the gas tax, if that measure makes it to the ballot. He also said the high speed rail project, despite obstacles and increased costs, will be built.

“I was certainly appreciative of the governor’s bi-partisan work on climate change, and protecting the environment. I think we have an opportunity to do that again this year,” Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (R) said. “There’s some areas of disagreement high speed rail and the tunnels project. I think California deserves so much better with those dollars.”

The 79-year-old governor concluded by saying everyone has a role to play in advancing our democracy, regardless of party.

“The spirit of democracy never dies,” Brown added. “It’s alive in this chamber and throughout the hearts of Californians and people throughout the world.”

Brown was first elected to two terms in 1975 and two more in 2011. He was elected before statewide term limits were put in place, making him the only governor to serve four terms in California.

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