Top 100 - 2011

Jerry Brown

The great-grandson of an Irishman from Thurles, Co. Tipperary, new Governor of California Jerry Brown is no stranger to that political hot seat – from 1975-1983, he served as the state’s 34th governor, following in the footsteps of his father, Pat Brown. During his first tenure as governor, Brown created 1.9 million new jobs, guided both Democrats and Republicans to slow state government growth, and made California the leader in co-generation, solar and wind energy.

After his time as governor, he traveled and lectured extensively before returning to practicing law. In 1992, he unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party presidential nomination, though he did beat Bill Clinton in several primaries and was the only other Democratic candidate to maintain his campaign into the Democratic Convention. From 1998-2007, he served as the Mayor of Oakland, CA and was the California State Attorney General from 2007-2011.

In March 2010, Brown announced he was running for governor. He was elected in November and sworn in on January 3, 2011. Since taking office, Brown has focused particularly on the state’s budget, and has called a special vote for July 7th, when California residents will decide between tax extensions or doubling up on cuts to state services. In an address on YouTube, Brown said “This is a matter that’s too big, too irreversible to leave just to those who we’ve elected. This is a time when the people themselves can gather together in a special election and make the hard choice.”