governor seen addressing drought, economy in speech
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[January 22, 2014]
By Sharon Bernstein
SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) — California Governor Jerry Brown, in his state of the state speech on
Wednesday, is expected to address problems of drought and economic
recovery while continuing to call on fellow Democrats to embrace fiscal
Brown, who served two terms as governor from 1975 to 1983, has
toed a largely centrist path during his third go-round at the
state's top job, vetoing several bills favored by progressive
Democrats including some gun control measures.
He is likely to address such issues as the drought plaguing the
notoriously thirsty state, as well as California's recovering
economy and budget, said Mark Baldassare, chief executive officer of
the Public Policy Institute of California.
With Brown, 75, widely expected to seek re-election this year, the
speech could also offer a preview of the tone and messaging he might
use in an upcoming campaign, Baldassare said.
"It's an opportunity for him to provide his vision," Baldassare
said. "I think he'll speak to both the immediate and long-term
issues facing the state."
This month, Brown took a stern line on fiscal restraint when he
released his $107 billion budget plan, potentially inviting a fight
with some progressive state lawmakers of his Democratic Party who
want to restore spending on social programs cut during the long
Key issues facing the state as it emerges from the economic slump
include the cost of higher education, the quality of California's
once-vaunted public K-12 schools and an ongoing struggle over
conditions in its massive prison system.
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Brown is also expected to push legislators to support his plan for a
$68 billion high-speed rail system that would connect Los Angeles
with San Francisco.
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Eric
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