Jerry Brown has entered the race for California’s governor. Sound familiar? It should; Brown already had this job, 35 years ago.
Yes, the 72-year-old is eligible for social security, but with age comes wisdom. Brown has done much for the Golden State, and given the chance, could do a much better job than current Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has increased California’s spending by $10.2 billion.
There’s no doubt that Brown has significant flaws, especially with regard to his plans for the California prison system. Nevertheless, he remains the most qualified gubernatorial candidate.
Brown recently served as the mayor of Oakland, where he brought 10,000 new residents to the city and cut the number of serious crimes by more than 30 percent. Currently, he is the attorney general of California, but it seems the gubernatorial job is calling him once more. The next governor will have a lot work cut out for him, and Brown is aware of this.
“Our state is in serious trouble, and the next governor must have the preparation, the knowledge and the know-how to get California working again. That is what I offer, and that’s why I’m declaring my candidacy for governor,” he stated in his press release announcing his candidacy.
It’s true Brown finds a great advantage in his history, especially compared to Republican front-runner Meg Whitman, the former eBay Inc. CEO, who lacks any political experience.
Brown is also a pioneer in the environmental protection corner, and has urged the Obama administration to overturn the Bush-era Environmental Protection Agency’s denial of California’s 30 percent reduction in tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions. Brown even sued Cosco Busan’s owners, operators and pilot after a San Francisco Bay oil spill, on behalf of the California Department of Fish and Game Office of Spill Prevention and Response.
With Brown’s help, in 15 years the state of California will not look like the terrain in Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.
Brown’s service to the state has also included interest in the education system, mandating that each California high school district establish clear standards for graduation and increasing the prominence of math and science studies in California State University and University of California schools. Recently, Brown has also pressured the UC Office of Presidents to find alternative funding sources for the state school systems that have raised tuition fees by 32 percent. When Pat Brown, Jerry Brown’s father, was governor, he established a solid education system for the state. Hopefully, Jerry can do the same.
Although Brown has an impressive résumé, there is still a problem that is concerning about his campaign: his connection with the prison guards union, which has given large donations to the Brown campaign. Brown also opposed Proposition 5: The Non-Violent Offender Rehabilitation Act, which could have cut state costs by $2.5 billion and reduced prison overcrowding.
Instead of continuing support of the prison guards union, perhaps Brown could garner the interest of higher education groups and spend money on students instead of criminals. If the state could produce more educated people who are productive in the economy, there could be fewer people in prison.
When it is time to vote in November, I can’t say that I will fully support Jerry Brown. Our government has enough old men sitting in office. That being said, I would rather have Brown than the former CEO of eBay Inc. as the governor of California.
John Gudenzi is a junior majoring in English.