California Governor Jerry Brown gave an impassioned State of the State address on January 24, 2017 quoting poets and statesmen as he urged California’s citizens and representatives to act as Californian’s first. Brown recalled some of the bi-partisan successes California government has accomplished under his leadership, including making California a world leader in the fight against climate change, closing a $27 billion deficit, providing health insurance to five million more Californians and reducing the unemployment rate from 12.1 percent to 5.2 percent. He also noted that California has the sixth largest economy in the world and is home to 1 in 8 Americans. In stark contrast to the dystopian presidential inauguration speech that left many feeling discouraged, Brown praised the vibrancy, diversity and persevering spirit of his state’s citizenry and referred to California as a beacon of hope. Unveiled comments regarding the need to reject alternative realities and non-facts were balanced with a call to civility and working across party lines.
While urging Californians to prepare for uncertain times, Governor Brown hit four main points during his 45-minute speech:
1. Immigration– Brown made it clear that California has enacted several measures to protect undocumented immigrants and is fully prepared to defend every one of its citizens if necessary.
2. Health care—California embraced the Affordable Care Act more than any other state and will join with other governors to protect affordable access to health care.
3. Climate change and Renewable Energy—Stressing that Washington politics won’t alter the science-based facts on climate change, Brown pledged to continue California’s push forward in the field of renewable energies. He also stated that California will continue working to accomplish the same “Under Two MOU” Paris Agreement that 165 world leaders signed.
4. Infrastructure—Brown stated the new President’s intentions to improve infrastructure was a point where they can work together and expressed hope that plans would help create good-paying jobs for many Americans.
After an inspiring recitation of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is our Land,” Governor Jerry Brown concluded his address with a declaration that California will not turn back, “Not now, now ever.”