Gov. Brown touts liberal accomplishments, rebukes Washington Republicans in final State of the State address

Gov. Brown touts liberal accomplishments, rebukes Washington Republicans in final State of the State address

California Gov. Jerry Brown delivered his final “State of the State” address in Sacramento on Thursday, mixing in a reflection on his last two terms in office with warnings about the future – without mention President Trump by name.

“Our world, our way of life, our system of governance all are at immediate and genuine risk. Endless new weapons systems, growing antagonism among nations, the poison in our politics, climate change,” Brown said. “All of this calls out for courage, for imagination and for generous dialogue.”

The Democratic governor touted what he sees as accomplishments, including guiding California from an economic catastrophe along with promoting the state as a leader on issues like climate change and immigration reform.

Overall, the 79-year-old governor portrayed California as an example to be followed while lambasting the “poison of our politics,” an apparent reference to Trump and the GOP agenda in Washington.

“Despite what is widely believed by some of the most powerful people in Washington, the science of climate change is not in doubt,” Brown told the Legislature. “All nations agree except one, and that is solely because of one man: our current president.”

Citing headlines like “California Is Doomed” when he entered the office for a second time in 2011, Brown pointed to the extension of cap-and-trade, a budget surplus and pension reform as reasons to bet on the Golden State in years to come.

“All these programs are big and very important to our future,” the governor continued. “And their passage demonstrates that some American governments can actually get things done – even in the face of deepening partisan division.”

However, Republican critics argue the current state of the pension system is still untenable and the high poverty rate and skyrocketing cost of living are issues yet to be adequately addressed in Sacramento.

“Some people are spending 50 percent of their pay on rent,” Republican Assembly Leader Brian Dahle said after the speech. “With increasing taxes, they’re raising revenues off the back of people here.”

And the address would not have been complete without reference to Brown’s bullet train project, with him admitting that “I make no bones about it. I like trains, and I like high-speed trains even better.”

The price of the high-speed rail connecting the north and south of the state has faced increased costs in the decade since voters approved it. For example, as the Los Angeles Times noted, the first installment – from Bakersfield to Madera – is already $4.6 billion over budget.

“Yes, it costs lots of money, but it is still cheaper and more convenient than expanding airports and building new freeways to meet the growing demand,” Brown said in defense. “It will be fast, quiet, and powered by renewable electricity and last for a hundred years.”

Overall, Brown exits with his state having positioned itself at the center of the so-called “resistance” against President Trump. In addition to several lawsuits challenging Washington on issues like sanctuary cities and fracking, culturally, California has come to embody all things anti-Trump.

“Here in California, we follow a different path,” the governor said.

While Brown did not comment on the current race to fill his office, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom stands as the overwhelming frontrunner and, aside from his opposition to the bullet train, is campaigning on a platform that’s mostly consistent with Brown’s wider agenda, suggesting that in 2018, voters may choose to continue the direction the outgoing governor envisions.

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