New Leadership and a New Outlook in 2011

On Monday at precisely 11:19 a.m., Governor Schwarzenegger’s seemingly endless term finally came to a close as Jerry Brown was officially sworn in as our once and current Governor. And right away, it became clear that Governor Brown is about to usher in into a whole new era of California politics.

Unlike Schwarzenegger — who spent his inaugurals hobnobbing with corporate lobbyists and courting wealthy donors — Governor Brown instead chose to head straight to the People’s Inauguration Party on the Capitol lawn, sponsored by the Orange County Employees Association, where  he munched on a free hot dog alongside thousands of working Californians who came out to celebrate the occasion.

Later in the afternoon, Governor Brown made a surprise appearance at the California Labor Federation’s own inauguration celebration, where he warmly greeted and mingled with the union activists and leaders who were instrumental in the 2010 campaign. There, he was joined by soon-to-be- sworn-in Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, Controller John Chiang, Public Instruction Superintendent Tom Torlakson, and more than two dozen labor-endorsed state legislators and local lawmakers who took the time to have a drink with the grassroots activists who helped propel them to victory.

If there’s one thing that Brown demonstrated on Inauguration Day, it’s that he truly is a politician of the people, for the people, and by the people. Whereas Schwarzenegger was essentially a mouthpiece for the corporations that have pillaged our economy at the expense of working families, Brown is firmly committed to representing the true will of the working families of California. 

We all know that the year ahead won’t be easy — heck, Brown is the first to admit that – but his down-to-earth attitude is exactly what our state needs to move past the partisan divide, get our economy back on track and put people to work. As Brown said in concluding his inaugural speech:

I have thought a lot about this, and it strikes me that what we face together as Californians are not so much problems but rather conditions, life’s inherent difficulties. A problem can be solved or forgotten but a condition always remains. It remains to elicit the best from each of us and show us how we depend on one another and how we have to work together.