Governor Brown Gives His Fourth Inaugural Address: Mixed Reviews On How to Solve Some Of The States Most Persistent Problems: By: Simeon Gant, California Black Media Sacramento, CA--For the first ti
1/8/2015, 9:50 a.m. | Updated on 1/8/2015, 9:50 a.m.
By: Simeon Gant, California Black Media
Sacramento, CA--For the first time in the state’s history California elected one person to the Governor’s office four times. The Honorable Edmund "Jerry" Brown was sworn in today in front of both houses of the legislature, California's judges and a bevy of state officials. Brown combined the State of the State address with his inaugural speech to include his previous accomplishments and a wish list of upcoming issues addressing California.
Brown quickly spoke to the usual concerns of most Californians – education, crime and public safety, health, human services and overall fiscal stability. The most unique aspect of his speech however, was how little has changed.
Brown recalled his first time in the Assembly Chambers. It was1959 during his father, Governor Pat Brown’s inauguration, “That was 56 years ago, yet the issues that my father raised bear eerie resemblance to those we still grapple with today: discrimination, the quality of education and the challenge of recruiting and training teachers, the menace of air pollution, and its danger to our health; a realistic water program; economic development; consumer protection and overcrowded prisons.”
Members of the Legislative Black Caucus responded to the Governor’s speech with hope and optimism for concerns of education equity and a reduction in health disparities throughout the state.
“The Governor is a visionary and very committed to California,” said Assembly Member Shirley Weber, Ph.D., chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. Focusing on how education equity may play out this year, the San Diego representative lawmaker said, “Local Control Funding Formula is still a work in progress. What they do with the resources they get for those special populations is going to be a challenge because we have already run into some roadblocks in terms of accountability and transparency. I want to see outcomes.”
Governor Brown touted the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) as “a much fairer system of school funding.” He informed the audience LCFF’s shift toward giving local school districts more control, giving the state less power and delivering more money to schools “based on the number of students from foster care, low-income families and non-English –speaking parents.”
Freshman Assembly Member Tony Thurmond, a Democrat from Richmond was also pleased to hear the Governor include an increase in health insurance coverage under the Medi-Cal Program.
As chair of the budget subcommittee on health and human services, Assembly Member Thurmond relates to the relatively silent healthcare crises of hospital and clinic closures, “In my district we have a hospital that could close because of the low reimbursement rate in Medi-cal.” He continued, “We know that people of color and low income people are disproportionally impacted around healthcare disparities and we are going to need to make some expansions around Medi-Cal.”
Governor Brown’s speech covered many of the state’s social and economic bases, confidently including the passage of water projects, environmental protection, a $2.8 billion Rainy Day Fund, driver’s licenses for undocumented citizens, $59 billion investment in roads, highways and bridges, the elderly, pensions and criminal justice.