Edmund G. Brown Jr. was born in San Francisco on April 7, 1938. He graduated from St. Ignatius High School in 1955 and entered Sacred Heart Novitiate, a Jesuit seminary. He later attended the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1961 before earning a J.D. at Yale Law School in 1964.
Brown was elected Trustee for the Los Angeles Community College District in 1969, California Secretary of State in 1970 and Governor of California in 1974 and 1978. During his first two terms as Governor, he helped create millions of jobs, strengthened environmental protections and promoted renewable energy. After his governorship, Brown lectured and traveled widely, practiced law, served as chairman of the state Democratic Party and ran for president.
In 1998, Brown was elected Mayor of Oakland and helped revitalize its downtown and reduce crime, while also founding two high-performing charter schools. Brown was elected California Attorney General in 2006 and worked to protect consumers, pursue mortgage fraud and real estate scams, champion workers’ rights and crack down on violent crime.
Brown was elected to a third gubernatorial term in 2010 and to a historic fourth term in 2014. Since returning to the Governor’s Office, Brown eliminated the state’s multi-billion budget deficit, spearheading successful campaigns to provide billions in new funding for California’s schools (Proposition 30) and establish a robust Rainy-Day Fund to prepare for the next economic downturn (Proposition 2).
Under Brown, California cut its unemployment rate to a record low, added nearly 3 million new jobs and expanded health coverage to millions more Californians, while enacting sweeping public safety, immigration, workers’ compensation, water, pension, education, housing and economic development reforms. While he was Governor, California also established nation-leading targets to protect the environment and fight climate change, and by 2030 the state will: reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels, double the rate of energy efficiency savings in its buildings, reduce today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent and 5 million zero-emission vehicles on California’s roads. Under a law Brown signed, by 2045, California will generate 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources and achieve carbon neutrality.
Brown currently serves as chair of the UC Berkeley California-China Climate Institute, executive chair of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and on the board of the Nuclear Threat Initiative. He is married to Anne Gust Brown, who served as Special Counsel, an unpaid position, in the Office of the Governor.