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Jerry Brown takes office on a “very emotional day”

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Jerry Brown was sworn in Monday morning as California's 39th governor, saying he has the opportunity to follow in his father's footsteps again. He also joked he was following in his own footsteps, referring to his return to the governor's office after 28 years. Brown served two terms between 1975 and 1983.

Memorial Auditorium hosted the ceremony, which featured a cappella performances by the Oakland School of the Arts Choir. The choir opened the ceremony with a rendition of "This Land is Your Land" and sang the National Anthem as the Oakland Military Institute and California Cadet Corps Honor Guard presented the colors.

Brown's wife, Anne Gust Brown, spoke first, describing the day as a "very emotional day" and acknowledged former governors Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger and their wives. The two former governors sat next to each other in the front row of the auditorium, along with other dignitaries such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Dianne Feinstein and members of the Brown and Gust families. After introducing her husband, she stood between Jerry Brown and newly sworn-in California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who administered the oath of office. With his left hand on his wife's grandfather's bible, and raising his right hand, Jerry Brown recited the oath. When he reached the part where he swears to take the obligation freely and without mental reservations, Brown turned to the audience and repeated, "Really, no mental reservations!" The audience responded with laughter and applause.

In his 16-minute inaugural address, Brown thanked Schwarzenegger for "keeping California the great exception that it is." He spoke about the difficulties facing Californians and recounted the challenges facing his great-grandfather who traveled from Germany to America and crossed the Great Plains and mountains to reach California. Brown also introduced his aunt, who will turn 99 this March. Commenting to those who may be "hankering after" his job, Brown said it may be a while, referring to his "good genes". Ironically, Brown returned to the wrong place in his speech, stammered and then quipped about his age. He adroitly moved on to stress his point, saying, "Every Californian is heir to some form of powerful tradition, some history of overcoming challenges much more daunting than the ones we face today."

Speaking on the budget challenges, Brown used general terms describing his proposed budget as "painful, but it will be honest." Saying, "This is the time to honestly assess our financial condition and make the tough choices," he promised there would be no smoke and mirrors on the budget. He also stressed that California's schools should be places of real learning and that students should have the "skills, zest and character to keep California up and running the best."

Jerry Brown closed his speech by quoting a line from the song, "California, here I come, right back where I started from." As Brown left the auditorium, the choir sang, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."

Other gubernatorial inaugural events included an open hot dog picnic in Capitol Park and a private reception at the California State Railroad Museum.


Photos by Kati Garner and Ron Nabity

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