Sacramento, CA — Governor Jerry Brown titled his 2017 State of the State Address, “California is not turning back, not now, not ever.”
It was delivered this morning at the state capitol in Sacramento. There were several references to President Donald Trump’s administration, and Brown noted that California lawmakers are prepared to fight with Washington, DC on issues like climate change, immigration and health care. On a different note, Brown praised the Trump administration’s call to improve the nation’s roads and other infrastructure, including new dam construction.
The Governor’s speech is receiving mixed reviews among Republicans. Mother Lode District Five Assemblyman Frank Bigelow says, “I was very glad to hear the Governor stress the need for a focus on infrastructure in the year ahead. Our priorities in 2017 must be building new water storage and fixing our roads. The recent storms could have filled Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat Dam if they had already been built, so we must focus our efforts on ensuring these projects are funded and completed. Our farms and families have conserved; now the state must step up to support them with more water storage.”
Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes was less complimentary of the Governor’s overall vision, saying, “There are really two ‘states of the state’ in California. One California is populated by wealthy people. They receive excellent healthcare, their children are taught in the best and safest schools. The other California is home to people whose access to health care is limited, their schools are failing and violence is an everyday reality.”
The Governor’s speech lasted about 15 minutes and he received multiple standing ovations from Democratic lawmakers, and at one point from both sides of the aisle, when he called for the parties to work together on issues and serve as an example for the rest of the country. The entire State of the State Address is transcribed below:
“Thank you. Thank you for all that energy and enthusiasm. It is just what we need for the battle ahead. So keep it up and don’t ever falter.
This is California, the sixth most powerful economy in the world. One out of every eight Americans lives right here and 27 percent – almost eleven million – were born in a foreign land.
When California does well, America does well. And when California hurts, America hurts.
As the English poet, John Donne, said almost 400 years ago:
“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
A few moments ago, I swore into office our new attorney general. Like so many others, he is the son of immigrants who saw California as a place where, through grit and determination, they could realize their dreams. And they are not alone, millions of Californians have come here from Mexico and a hundred other countries, making our state what it is today: vibrant, even turbulent, and a beacon of hope to the rest of the world.
We don’t have a Statue of Liberty with its inscription: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” But we do have the Golden Gate and a spirit of adventure and openness that has welcomed – since the Gold Rush of 1848 – one wave of immigration after another.
For myself, I feel privileged to stand before you as your governor, as did my father almost sixty years ago. His mother, Ida, the youngest of eight children, was born in very modest circumstances, not very far from where we are gathered today. Her father arrived in California in 1852, having left from the Port of Hamburg, aboard a ship named “Perseverance.”
It is that spirit of perseverance and courage which built our state from the beginning. And it is that spirit which will get us through the great uncertainty and the difficulties ahead.
It is customary on an occasion like this to lay out a specific agenda for the year ahead. Six times before from this rostrum, I have done that, and in some detail. And, as I reread those proposals set forth in previous State of the State speeches, I was amazed to see how much we have accomplished together.
· Increased – by tens of billions – support for our public schools and universities.
· Provided health insurance to over five million more Californians.
· Raised the minimum wage.
· Reduced prison overcrowding and reformed our system of crime and punishment.
· Made California a world leader in the fight against climate change.
· Passed a water bond.
· Built up a rainy day fund.
· And closed a huge $27 billion deficit.
And during the last seven years, California has reduced the unemployment rate from 12.1 percent to 5.2 percent and created almost 2.5 million jobs. And that’s not all.
But this morning it is hard for me to keep my thoughts just on California. The recent election and inauguration of a new President have shown deep divisions across America.
While no one knows what the new leaders will actually do, there are signs that are disturbing. We have seen the bald assertion of “alternative facts.” We have heard the blatant attacks on science. Familiar signposts of our democracy –truth, civility, working together – have been obscured or swept aside.
But on Saturday, in cities across the country, we also witnessed a vast and inspiring fervor that is stirring in the land. Democracy doesn’t come from the top; it starts and spreads in the hearts of the people. And in the hearts of Americans, our core principles are as strong as ever.
So as we reflect on the state of our state, we should do so in the broader context of our country and its challenges. We must prepare for uncertain times and reaffirm the basic principles that have made California the Great Exception that it is.
First, in California, immigrants are an integral part of who we are and what we’ve become. They have helped create the wealth and dynamism of this state from the very beginning.”