Jerry Brown on Thursday paraded the state's wares in an annual address, defending big-ticket infrastructure projects and touting a remarkable economic comeback and commitment to fighting climate change.
Brown also touched on the state's devastating fire season last fall, which destroyed thousands of homes up and down the state. Things have since turned around, with Brown projecting a $6 billion surplus in this budget.
Brown largely avoided talk of President Donald Trump and Washington during his more than 30-minute address, although he highlighted the president's decision to withdraw the United States from global climate commitments.
The state has traveled a fair distance from the years following the recession when the New York Times described it as the Coast of Dystopia, Brown said Thursday.
"Some American governments actually can get stuff done, even in the face of deepening party divisions", the fourth-term governor said at the state Capitol in Sacramento, citing state lawmakers' renewal of California's landmark cap-and-trade program in July as an example. "We should never forget our dependence on the natural environment ... we can't fight nature, we have to learn how to get along with it", he said. "I got your back", Brown promised. He directly criticized the president only once, calling him out for doubting climate change.
Mr. Brown repeatedly returned to a theme of California exceptionalism.
Brown still has quite a bit of unfinished business left for the 347 days before he departs the State Capitol for his family ranch in Colusa County.More news: The Coca-Cola (KO) Sets New 52-Week High at $47.57
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He defended both projects in the speech, saying they were necessary for the state's wellbeing. Both projects have faced criticism, and costs of the train recently jumped by almost $3 billion.
And Assemblyman Matthew Harper of Huntington Beach said Brown should dump high-speed rail, spending high taxes and other funds on improving roads. And he called for more mental health and drug treatment programs. At another point, he praised Republican U.S. Sens. "Thank God for John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins", he said, noting that they had joined with Democrats to save Obamacare.
Brown didn't mention several of the state's other biggest challenges, including sky-high housing costs and rising homelessness rates. Tony Mendoza, who remains under investigation for sexual harassment.
While Brown included fewer of the literary and philosophical flourishes that characterized many of his past addresses, he closed the speech with a reference to his great-grandfather, August Schuckman, a German immigrant who sailed to America in 1849.
Late past year, Brown announced that California and the European Union would consider creating a common carbon market to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
While he has emerged as an worldwide leader on the issue, local environmental activists continue to clash with Brown on his decision not to entirely ban hydraulic fracking and for provisions in the cap-and-trade bill they say are too friendly to the oil industry.
"I can be more productive working at a job fair in my district", Vidak said. Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, the GOP leader in the Assembly.