Tomorrow, Governor Jerry Brown will become the longest serving governor in California’s history when he is sworn in to lead the state for a fourth term in Sacramento.
In his 45-year career, Brown has proven to be a bold, innovative and progressive politician with a social sensibility. His return to the governor’s office in 2011, 28 years after leaving it, including 24 years of Republican administrations, is unique.
His close relationship with Latinos over time is noteworthy in Brown’s track record. And Hispanic voters have always responded in kind with broad support at the polls.
During his first term as governor between 1975 and 1983, he supported labor leader Cesar Chávez in his fight for justice for farm workers by establishing the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board.
Now in this third term, which is about to come to an end, Brown enacted measures long awaited by the Latino community. They include the California DREAM Act, which made it easier for undocumented students to go to college, the TRUST Act, which halts abuses under the Secure Communities program, and driver’s licenses for the undocumented.
The nomination of a Mexican immigrant, Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, to the California Supreme Court was historic. This nomination, along with others, is renewing the state’s high court.
This is part of Brown’s legacy, but at the forefront is the ambitious high-speed rail project between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Next Tuesday, one day after his inauguration, the project will officially break ground. That is his great ambition, which still faces serious obstacles.
State finances are also among his priorities. He already established a reserve fund, changed the way schools are financed to help the poorest students, and maintained cuts in health care. We hope he restores the cuts given the outlook for greater tax revenues this year.
?Brown, who is 75 years old, is the eldest sitting governor in the United States. He has yet another opportunity ?building his legacy in ways that benefit all Californians