Gov. Jerry Brown looked back on his four terms as California's governor as he delivered his final State of the State address at the California capitol Thursday morning.
It is the 16th address Brown has given as governor of California. Brown was elected to two terms starting in 1975, and again in 2011. He is termed out of office now and can't run again in November.
During his speech, Brown defended two major infrastructure projects he has been a big proponent for. The governor acknowledged there were "obstacles" to his twin plans of building a high-speed train and a water tunnel that would deliver badly needed water to Southern California from the northern half of the state.
“California is setting the pace for the entire nation,” Brown said. “Yes, there are critics, there are lawsuits, lots of them, there are countless obstacles. But California was built on dreams and perseverance and the bolder path is still our way forward.”
The governor also addressed the need for scientists and forest management experts to find ways to reduce the wildfire threat in California. Brown pointed out that wildfires are becoming more destructive and the fire season has grown longer in recent years and warned that Californians couldn't ignore the dangers of climate change.
The four term governor leaves behind a series of legislative accomplishments during his two most recent terms as governor. California was in dire straits financially leading up to Brown's inauguration in 2011, but Brown leaves behind a $6.1 billion surplus and a $19 billion rainy day fund.
Brown closed on a hopeful note, quoting Woody Gunthrie's This Land is Your Land, and promising that California would not turn back against the progress they had made.
While we now face different challenges, make no mistake: the future is uncertain and dangers abound. Whether it’s the threat to our budget, or to undocumented Californians, or to our efforts to combat climate change – or even more global threats such as a financial meltdown or a nuclear incident or terrorist attack – this is a time which calls out for courage and for perseverance. I promise you both.
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