Well, folks, it's been a long road chronicling Jerry Brown's winning campaign for Governor, complete with interesting twists and surprising turns.
And now, after six months, I am officially ending my blogging duties and moving to New York City for an editing job at a pretty cool online publication.
I will miss being a part of our state's transformation, but I can leave confidently assured California's in great hands. It will be a tough job for Jerry, one I know he will approach with competence, integrity, an open mind, and a genuine enthusiasm for the Golden State.
Thanks for your comments, support, and readership - never lose your passion for getting California working again!
As the excitement surrounding our guy's landslide election subsided, I headed to the East Coast to enjoy (what I thought was) a well-deserved vacation with family.
Not so for Jerry. He began his gubernatorial duties immediately, beginning with a press conference at our Oakland campaign headquarters on Wednesday - which coincided with a parade celebrating another local victory (baseball, anyone?).
And the next day, Jerry went straight to Sacramento to fulfill his campaign season promises of tackling the state budget as early as possible.
There's no disputing that Jerry faces a challenge of colossal proportions, especially when it comes to the budget. Although voters approved Proposition 25 on Election Day, which allows a budget to pass with a simple majority in lieu of the previous two-thirds requirement, they also passed Propositions 22 and 26, which make it more difficult to both borrow cash from local governments and impose any new fees.
In backing all three propositions, the voters' message was simple: Pass the budget on time, but don't take any more money from us. In fact, they even rejected a measure that would have increased vehicle license fees by a mere $18 to raise money for state parks.
Jerry has made it clear he understands the popular sentiment, and his pledge to impose no new taxes without voter approval speaks to this.
Setting a precedent for bipartisan efforts, while in Sacramento Jerry met with members from both parties of the state legislature to begin budget talks. California officials followed his lead, opting for cooperation over stratification. Even state Senate Republican leader Bob Dutton said he would meet Jerry with "an open mind."
Rightfully so. As the New York Times pointed out over the weekend, a lot has changed about California since Jerry last governed--but a lot has changed about Jerry as well. He has accumulated years of experience in an array of leadership roles, and today, he approaches his once and current position with the perspective of a seasoned politician. And he brings a new confidante along to help him, too: First Lady Anne Gust is his most trusted advisor.
Jerry and Anne will finally get some much-needed relaxation during their vacation this week. But never one to curtail his duties, our Governor-elect will resume work promptly next Tuesday.
I wish them both a restful and refreshing trip, as the job ahead will certainly not be easy. Luckily, Jerry Brown is always ready for a challenge.
This past June, I decided to do something crazy.
I’d been following the California Governor’s race religiously since San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom decided to drop out last October, and found myself instantly fascinated by this Moonbeam fellow. Not only did everyone I asked about him have something positive to say, but the little I knew of Jerry Brown - a past governorship and some Buddhist retreats through Asia - piqued my curiosity.
Having wanted to get involved in California politics since watching the 2008 revelry from the sidelines, I made it my mission to join the Brown campaign’s roster of part-time volunteers. So I stopped by the Oakland headquarters one morning in early summer to drop off my resume.
By the end of the day, I had quit my job and fully committed myself to spending the next five months getting Jerry elected.
Last night, surrounded by coworkers, volunteers, loyal politicos, friends, and fans at Oakland’s Fox Theater, I watched in awe as my efforts came to fruition. Jerry Brown, 54; Meg Whitman, 41. Californians had officially chosen their next Governor.
It was a feat only a man as authentic and eccentric as Jerry could pull off. At odds with the most expensive non-presidential campaign and largest self-funded candidate in our nation’s history, our scrappy office of thirty-some (mostly unpaid) staffers battled a behemoth advertising blitz that began the day Whitman seized the Republican primary and didn’t cease until yesterday.
All the while, Jerry remained in good spirits, relentlessly crisscrossing California as he spread his message, peppering his speeches with those quirky asides his supporters know and love (“I’m the best pension deal our state can buy!”), reassuring voters they had the option to choose a human candidate and not just a product of a corporate campaign consultancy.
I’m confident Jerry will lead our state towards a brighter future--after all, it takes both a solid vision and years of experience to navigate the complex labyrinth of Sacramento politics.
There’s no disputing his experience. The son of California hall-of-famer and beloved former Governor Pat Brown, Jerry has been breathing state politics since he was five years old. His resume runs the gamut of elected offices: Secretary of State (1971-1975), two terms as Governor (1975-1983), chairman of the California Democratic Party (1989-1991), Mayor of Oakland (1999-2007), and Attorney General, a position he’s held since 2007.
In between, he traveled the world, broadening his experience and deepening his knowledge. The former Jesuit Seminary pupil studied under leading Zen practitioners in Japan and ministered to the sick at one of Mother Theresa’s hospices in India.
Throughout his four-decade career as a public servant, Jerry has championed progressive policies, from pioneering environmental laws to landmark legislation protecting equal rights. As Governor, he created 1.9 million new jobs and selected more women and minorities for his cabinet than ever before, including the first woman and first Latino to be appointed to the state Supreme Court.
And his vision is equally inspiring. My personal political philosophies lead me to believe in the importance of the three e’s: education, the economy, and the environment. Jerry has presented comprehensive plans for all three, including a groundbreaking clean energy proposal slated to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the sector.
These past five months have been an amazing adventure, complete with early mornings, late nights, media firestorms, and tireless conversations with angry and enthusiastic voters alike. I’m proud of my team for guiding Jerry towards victory, but I’m even more proud of my fellow Californians for making the right choice on Election Day.
Special Election Day blog post from Schuyler, the leader of our statewide volunteer effort. Our campaign would not have been possible without the dedication and passion of our amazing volunteers, and for that, we can't thank you enough!
What seems simultaneously like it was yesterday and an eternity ago, we embarked on a campaign to elect Jerry Brown as the next Governor of the State of California.
From the beginning, we knew the financial resources of our opponent would be unmatchable. With this understanding, built a campaign based on the passionate dedication of volunteers across the state.
I began reaching out to communities throughout California to find leaders willing and able to take on an ambitious task: lead their local countywide field effort to elect Jerry, and do it as a volunteer. It takes a special individual to take on such a challenging job, but it’s those same qualifications that bring out the most altruistic and hard-working people.
Our strategy was to not create entirely new systems and networks just for this campaign. We firmly believe each community already has its strong Democratic organizations, and if we could plug into those groups, we would help build up already-existing networks. Our goal was to find the strongest local Democratic contingents and use their resources to support our grassroots campaign.
We spoke with Democratic Central Committee leadership throughout the state, talked to local Democratic groups, and interviewed lots of strong candidates, quickly building a statewide operation run entirely by volunteers.
Many of the people we selected to spearhead our local countywide campaigns have been community organizers since Jerry began his career, while others have only just begun to engage in local organizing. In some counties, we matched recent college graduates with veteran organizers so that their unique skill sets would complement one another.
As our County Coordinators were appointed, they began to build upon their local political infrastructure. We equipped our volunteers with materials, ideas, and resources from the campaign to help them succeed and sent them lists of volunteers in their area who had signed up on our website so they could fold them into local organizing efforts and build deeper support for Democrats throughout their region.
Our volunteers have exceeded our expectations at every turn. We have people who quit their jobs to work full-time for the campaign in their county, and others who are casualties of the market downturn and lost their jobs yet spend their time volunteering for Jerry, driven by their faith that he will restore the California Dream. Some volunteers have homes in foreclosure and still use their spare time to fight to get California back on track under Jerry’s leadership.
There are so many exceptional volunteers throughout that state, and to mention any by name would be to omit too many others. However, I hope that I can convey the gratitude and respect that I, the campaign staff, and especially Jerry feel for their immeasurable contribution to our effort. Whether they worked one or 100 hours, we couldn’t have done this without them.
Although I was born and raised here, my work with leaders and community members throughout the state has given me a deeper love and respect for Californians. The passion our volunteers brought to every task we assigned, the dedication they showed to our campaign, and the infinite belief they have in Jerry to lead our state back from the brink continue to amaze me.
So this is our small thank you to our volunteers throughout the state, from whom we draw inspiration on a daily basis. During each conversation I have with a supporter, every phone bank I visit, and at the rallies across California, the enthusiasm our volunteers exhibit encourages me—not only about not this election, but about the future of our state.
Guest post from staffer Victoria Hassid, who spent the weekend in Eureka preparing for Jerry's sixth stop on his statewide tour. Thanks to everyone who came out to our events and helped make Jerry's final campaign push a huge success!
I started planning my Halloween costume around mid-July; I kid you not. I love Halloween—I often see it as the ultimate holiday of fun, jokingly calling it the “single person’s Super Bowl.”
But costumes, parties and trick or treating were far from my mind this weekend as I hunkered down in Humboldt County for three days with colleague Sarah in preparation for Jerry’s visit as part of his 12-city statewide blitz.
Neither Sarah nor I had ever been to Eureka, let alone advanced an event for Jerry completely on our own. We were excited, nervous and unsure what to expect. No amount of experience, however, could have prepared me for the energy, passion and excitement Humboldt County holds for Jerry.
From the minute we hit the ground, we were met with open arms as people from all over both Humboldt County and northern Del Norte County gathered to help give Jerry a warm welcome. We drove up and down 101, meeting volunteers eager to donate their time, money, and resources to make sure Jerry felt the love.
Supporters started lining up in the dark at 6 am Sunday morning outside the historic Samoa Cookhouse, the longest continuously running, (and last surviving) logger chowhouse. As locals from across the area, some as far as two hours north, filled the restaurant, wafts of syrup, sausage and French toast began filling the air.
The anticipation was high as everyone waited for Jerry’s arrival; the energy palpable. As soon as our candidate walked in, everyone immediately stood to their feet. The crowd was electric.
Before long, Jerry hopped on a small riser, surrounded by supporters. The crowd hung onto his every word.
While joking that he “wasn’t quite awake yet,” he easily discussed his California roots, his love for the North Coast, and why we still needed to move forward on thoughtful environmental policy—a fact hardly lost amidst the one of California’s most gorgeous stretches of coastline.
Our weekend in Eureka combined with Jerry’s remarks reminded me yet again why this election is so important. All weekend, we met people who will rely on our next governor for jobs, to save our environment, to get our state back on track. We all know that only Jerry can get this done.
And while he reminded us that we have tough decisions ahead, that it will not always be easy, he also gave us hope. Hope that California’s recent struggles would serve to provide lessons on how we can strengthen our state and make us better than ever.
Unlike some other candidates I know, Jerry isn’t trying to make us the next Texas or Colorado. We don’t need to try and be some other state.
A lifelong Californian himself, Jerry knows California is the best state. And the rest of us, we who have spent all or part of our lives here, agree. As our next Governor, Jerry will focus on what makes us strong, shaping our state into the land of possibility and innovation it’s always been.
As Jerry jetted off to the airport towards his next stop in Chico, Sarah and I joined hundreds of local supporters to wave him goodbye. I felt inspired in a way I so rarely do these days. Love, optimism, and pride washed over me as I was reminded, yet again, about why I can’t wait for Jerry Brown to lead California.
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