Jerry Brown

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Jerry Brown is the Attorney General of California. He was the former Mayor of Oakland and former Governor of California. He is running for Governor once again in 2010 against Meg Whitman.

Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown, Jr.,was born in San Francisco on April 7, 1938. He graduated from San Francisco's St. Ignatius High School, attended the University of Santa Clara and studied for the Catholic priesthood at Sacred Heart Novitiate, a Jesuit seminary. He received a B.A. degree in Latin and Greek from the University of California at Berkeley in 1961, and graduated from Yale Law School in 1964. He is the son of former Governor of California, Edmund G. "Pat" Brown.

In 1969, Brown was elected to the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees. In 1970, he was elected California Secretary of State. Four years later, he was elected Governor. He was reelected in 1978 by the largest vote margin in California's history.

Brown unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate in 1982. In 1989, he became chairman of the state Democratic Party. In 1992, he launched a presidential bid. Brown defeated future president Bill Clinton in Maine, Colorado, Vermont, Connecticut, Utah and Nevada during the 1992 Presidential primaries. While not successful, Brown's innovative use of toll free "1-800" contribution call centers and his request for low dollar ($100) contributions set the stage for the 2004 Presidential campaign of Howard Dean and his campaign manager, former Brown campaign employee Joe Trippi.

Brown was elected mayor of Oakland in 1998 and re-elected to a second term in 2002.

Jerry Brown, the Iconoclast

Of all big-name politicians, Brown is probably the most outside-the-box. As governor of California, he refused to live in the gubernatorial mansion, and instead lived in a small apartment in Sacramento. Instead of using a luxury sedan or limousine, he commuted to work in a state-owned fleet Plymouth.

In 1978, he proposed that the state of California purchase its own satellite in order to speed up emergency communications. For this proposal, he acquired the nickname "Governor Moonbeam". Interestingly, a similar program was later adopted by the state.

For a while in the late seventies and early eighties, Brown dated pop singer Linda Ronstadt. After leaving the gubernatorial office in 1983, he traveled to Japan to study Buddhism. In the nineties, he hosted a call-in radio show in California.

Governor Brown once described himself as both to the right and to the left of Jimmy Carter, whom he fought for the 1976 and 1980 Presidential nominations. He pursued his own visionary (some say quirky) brand of politics, which included a flat tax proposal when he ran for President in 1992.

In 1979, the punk band Dead Kennedys painted Governor Brown as a "Zen fascist" in their song "California Uber Alles", a vision of California in which Brown's "suede/denim secret police" would hunt down the "un-cool" people.

Term as Attorney General

Brown was elected in 2006 to become Attorney General. His tenure in office was marked by his opposition to Prop 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative, and his refusal to defend the initiative in court on the grounds that he believed it to be unconstitutional.

Running for Governor again

Jerry Brown is running for Governor in 2010. He was unopposed in the primary and faces billionaire Meg Whitman in the fall.

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