By Michael B. Marois - Bloomberg Businessweek
By the time Jerry Brown returned to the California governor’s office for a third term, he had as Oakland’s mayor eschewed affordable housing for $1 billion in downtown development and as attorney general sued the biggest U.S. mortgage lender for stoking the financial crisis.
Through those roles, two prior terms as chief executive and a tenure as secretary of state, the 76-year-old Democrat has emerged as the nation’s most experienced governor. Brown, who once trained to be a Jesuit priest, says he’s learned after four decades in political office to embrace pragmatism, anticipate challenges long in advance and accept that too many variables exist in any situation to try to ride any one to success.
“It takes many factors,” Brown said in an interview with Bloomberg News at his San Francisco office. “As Machiavelli said, fortuna e virtù. Virtù is skill. Fortuna is good fortune. You have to have both of those.”
Again at the helm of the nation-sized state (STOCA1:US) and up for re-election, Brown has shown bipartisanship can work in Sacramento, even as it fails in Washington, as he steers California to projected surpluses from record deficits. He won almost unanimous votes on $7.5 billion of bonds for projects to battle an historic drought and on a rainy-day reserve fund to cushion against economic downturns.
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