Democrat Jerry Brown was sworn in as California’s 39th governor on Monday inside Sacramento Memorial Auditorium. Brown was governor from 1975-1983, during another economically difficult time in the state and country. Since winning the Nov. 2 election against Republican millionaire Meg Whitman, Brown has been frank about the austerity measures necessary to deal with a projected $28 billion deficit through June 2012. In his inaugural speech (see video below), he called for lawmakers to “rise above ideology” and warned that the state faces a year that “will demand courage and sacrifice.”
On Tuesday, Brown’s first full day in office, the Los Angeles Times reports that Brown “walked right up to the third rail of California politics” – referring to Proposition 13, which places limits on property taxes. Prop “13 started the centralization of power,” Brown told reporters. “After that, the state started dictating what we did.”
Geoff Kors, Executive Director of Equality California, attended the inauguration ceremonies for Brown and others, including newly sworn in Attorney General Kamala Harris. Here’s his comment:
“Despite difficult economic times, Sacramento was filled with hope and promise as our new Governor, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner and Superindented of Public Instruction were sworn into office. For the first time in our state’s history, every statewide constitutional office holder supports full equality for the entire LGBT community.
While the highlight was watching Kamala Harris take the oath of office and listening to her speech about fundamental change in the criminal justice system and her references to the LGBT community and marriage equality, the swearing in of Brown and his realistic yet optiminst remarks about fixing California’s broken economy set the tone for what will be a challenging year.
With [Dave] Jones and [Tom] Torlakson, we have two proven supporters of LGBT equality. We are already working with both on advancing the rights of LGBT people. In fact, Torlakson has already signed on to be the co-sponsor along with Equality California of Assemblyman Tom Ammaino’s anti-bullying bill that was introduced last month. With such strong and proven pro-equality leaders now in office we have an unprecedented opportunity to advance equality and improve the lives of LGBT Californians.
Today, Equality California Institute Board Member Betty Yee will be sworn in for a second term on the California Board of Equalization and founding board member VIcky Kolowkowski will be sworn in as the nation’s first transgender judge. What a terrific way to start the new year.