Commentary

03/28/2017  by Ed Coghlan

Governor Brown goes to Washington


(Photo Credit: Charlie Kaijo/Flickr)

California Governor Jerry Brown made the case for his state in a national interview aired on Meet the Press.

“California is very prosperous. We are growing faster than other parts of the country,” the Governor said. “Even in (Republican) Orange County, the prosperity is so strong that Hillary carried it.”

Regarding the new Trump Administration in Washington, the Governor indicated there were things to agree with and things to fight about.

“We fight on health care. We fight on immigration. But we work together on infrastructure,” he said.

The Governor made a high-profile trip to Washington, D.C. last week where he essentially made the case that California will be a major player on certain issues important to us.

On infrastructure, the Governor indicated California is ready to go if the president is.

“Does he believe in shovel-ready construction projects that will create American jobs that will move American products in a couple of months or not?” he asked. “Because the Republicans are only against it for crass, political reasons.”

Trump’s popularity in California is especially low—61 percent of registered Californian voters disapprove of the way the President is doing the job.

And yet a poll from the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley shows a majority of Californians want the state elected leaders to work with the President for the betterment of California.

A noted California leader thinks this is an opportunity for President Trump.

"President Trump could become a better president by simply beginning to understand California instead of writing it off,” said Lenny Mendonca, CA Fwd Leadership Council Co-Chair. “We have some common interests--job growth and infrastructure improvement to name two where a state-federal partnership would be mutually beneficial.”

Mendonca pointed out the political reality that California will never vote for Trump is not reason to ignore it. “This remarkably diverse state has many economic and social regions. To understand California better would help the president understand the nation better.”

Governor Brown said he can work with President Trump, or as he put it, “collaborate with him.” But there are limits.

“We work with China. We work with Russia. We can certainly work with our own president. I want to work with him where's there is something good but I'm not going to turn over our police departments to become agents of the federal government,” he warned.

Brown’s message to the President on immigration was pointed—no wall, no mass deportations.

“I don't like that wall and to the extent it violates law I would enforce that,” he told MTP’s Chuck Todd.“

“I’m not going to sit around and play patsy and say go ahead and lock us in--if you're going to try and deport two million people, no, we are going to fight. We are going to do the right and human, I mean Christian thing from my point of view because you don't treat human beings like that.”

The Governor reminded the audience that things can change in politics—just a few years ago California was called ungovernable.

"As the Governor indicated, electoral and fiscal reforms have resulted in more lawmakers who are focused on solving problems in their districts, which requires courage to buck special interests and to compromise," said Jim Mayer, CA Fwd President and CEO, whose organization has been at the center of the reform movement in California over the last decade. "Elected officials in California are now doing what was unthinkable 10 years ago -- governing."

"But we are not done, and we have some hard choices to make on issues like housing and infrastructure," added Mayer. "Our challenge now is to model how to grow a diverse economy in ways that reduces income disparity and achieves our climate goals."

When Brown was asked if he had any advice for President Trump, the Governor didn’t blink.

“Don’t fight everybody. Choose your battles and make more allies than enemies,” he said. “Politics is about addition not subtraction.

Categories: Economy, Smart Investment, Infrastructure, Jerry Brown, Jim Mayer, Lenny Mendonca

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