SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Democrat Jerry Brown was sworn in Monday as California’s 39th governor, returning to the office he left 28 years ago but inheriting a much different and more troubled state than the one he led then.
The man who once was California’s most famous bachelor took the oath of office after being introduced by his wife of five years, former Gap Inc. executive Anne Gust Brown, inside Sacramento Memorial Auditorium.
As California Supreme Court Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye administered the oath, Gust Brown held a Bible that had belonged to her grandfather and was used during her wedding with Brown.
Brown has predicted a grim future for the financially beleaguered state. Where his predecessor, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, expressed optimism at every turn, Brown has been realistic since winning the Nov. 2 election. California has faced several years of deep budget deficits and is confronting another estimated at $28 billion through June 2012.
Its general fund is $15 billion less than it was just three years ago, reflecting a sharp drop in tax revenue from a recession that has battered the economy of the nation’s most populous state. Brown, 72, said the choices facing California’s 38.8 million people are painful.
“The year ahead will demand courage and sacrifice,” he said.
California was among 26 states swearing in governors with the new year. Among them were New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who took his oath over the weekend in a similarly scaled-down event, and South Carolina’s Nikki Haley, a Republican who will be the country’s first female Indian-American governor when she is sworn in next week.
Among the other governors inaugurated Monday were Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, also a Republican, and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, that state’s first Democratic governor in two decades.