Brown Swearing-In Expected To Be Low-Key
Monday, January 3, 2011
SACRAMENTO, Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown will be sworn in Monday as California's 39th governor, promising an era of austerity and a markedly different leadership style than outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Brown, a Democrat and current state attorney general, will become only the second person to serve three terms as California governor when he takes over from Schwarzenegger, a Republican who won office during the 2003 recall election.
Brown's tenure as the 34th governor, from 1975 to 1983, occurred before voter-imposed term limits, allowing him to seek the office again at age 72.
Brown's scaled-down style was evident as aides prepared for his swearing-in at Sacramento Memorial Auditorium.
His speech was expected to last just 12 minutes, and the onlyother speaker listed on the one-page program was his wife and key adviser, Anne Gust Brown. There was no gubernatorial seal on the programs, and the auditorium was mostly undecorated except for a few plants, flags and an official lectern on stage.
Schwarzenegger and former governors Gray Davis and Pete Wilson were among those expected to attend.
Brown adviser Steve Glazer said he was unsure about Brown's plan for his first day on the job. He could drop by any number of celebrations around town, visit the governor's office or even head to his rented condo across the street from the auditorium.
A late-afternoon reception was planned for the California Railroad Museum in the Old Sacramento tourist district.
When he last held the job, Brown dated celebrities and earned the nickname "Governor Moonbeam" for what then seemed like his far-out ideas.
He returns to lead a state very different from the one he last oversaw. Its finances are in a deep hole, and its politics are riven with deep partisanship that has made compromise on major budget issues all but impossible.
Since his November election victory, Brown has predicted a grim future of difficult choices and "shared sacrifice" by all sides. The state faces a $28 billion budget shortfall through June 2012, and multibillion-dollar shortfalls were projected for the foreseeable future.
That could mean asking voters to extend the temporary income, sales and vehicle taxes that were approved in 2009 and scheduled to expire in July.
Brown campaigned on a promise not to raise taxes without voter approval, after voters previously rejected an extension of those taxes during a special election in 2009. Brown will need some Republican support in the Legislature to put any tax measure before voters.
Brown has met with lawmakers from both parties and waded deep into policymaking. Both steps mark a sharp change in style from Schwarzenegger, who relied on charm and his larger-than-life personality to win deals behind closed deals with a small group of top lawmakers.
The incoming governor must present his first budget plan for the coming fiscal year just a week after his inauguration.
During his earlier tenure, Brown was criticized for his continual pursuit of higher office that many said made him too distracted to lead effectively. He sought the Democratic nomination for president in 1976 and 1980, and lost his bid for U.S. Senate in 1982.
The former Jesuit seminarian also has headed the state Democratic Party, practiced Zen Buddhism in Japan and worked with Mother Teresa in India. Brown tried again for the presidential nomination in 1992 then served eight years as mayor of Oakland.
He also has changed in another way since last sitting in the governor's office: Brown has been married for five years to former Gap Inc. general counsel Gust Brown, who is expected to play a prominent role while he is in office.