California Says Goodbye To Jerry Brown, State's Longest-Serving Governor After a long political career, it's Jerry Brown's last day in office. He is retiring after four terms as the governor of California, and we remember his time through some of his more memorable quips.
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California Says Goodbye To Jerry Brown, State's Longest-Serving Governor

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California Says Goodbye To Jerry Brown, State's Longest-Serving Governor

California Says Goodbye To Jerry Brown, State's Longest-Serving Governor

California Says Goodbye To Jerry Brown, State's Longest-Serving Governor

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After a long political career, it's Jerry Brown's last day in office. He is retiring after four terms as the governor of California, and we remember his time through some of his more memorable quips.

NOEL KING, HOST:

California Governor Jerry Brown finishes his term today. He's always liked reeling off Latin quotes and obscure literary and historical references. Ben Adler of Capital Public Radio has a reporter's notebook of some of Brown's more memorable quips during his final go-round as governor.

BEN ADLER, BYLINE: You might expect a drop in entertainment value when a movie star leaves the governor's office. But Jerry Brown took California politics from Arnold Schwarzenegger's...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: I'll be back.

ADLER: To Latin.

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JERRY BROWN: I've often used the phrase from Thomas Hobbes, bellum omnes contra omnes - or rather, bellum omni contra omnes.

ADLER: That was Brown quoting a 17th century English philosopher during a state budget update in May 2011, back when California faced a $27 billion deficit. He was urging Republicans to strike a deal that would let voters decide whether to extend expiring tax increases. Otherwise, he translated...

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BROWN: ...War of all against all. It will be - everyone will return to their corner and devise strategies on what California does.

ADLER: There was no deal. So later that year, after signing a budget with automatic cuts if state revenues came in below projections, Brown again turned to Latin.

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BROWN: There's a very simple - I wanted to invoke a Latin phrase here - nemo dat non habet. It means, no man gives what he does not have. The state cannot give what it does not have.

ADLER: Brown would also sprinkle in little quips when speaking off the cuff. For example, in September of 2011, as he was slogging through hundreds of bills on his desk...

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BROWN: Not every human problem needs a law.

ADLER: ...A statement he sometimes echoed in his veto messages, which themselves were often quite entertaining. And last month, at the Sacramento Press Club, he put forth perhaps the most Jerry Brown quote ever.

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BROWN: I'm not here to make news. I'm here to enlighten you.

(LAUGHTER)

ADLER: As for literary and historical references, you'd be hard-pressed to top the 20 that Brown weaved into his 2013 State of the State address. For example...

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BROWN: Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Genesis.

Then the lean cows ate up the fat cows.

Quiz-bits (ph).

William Butler Yeats.

The principle of subsidiarity.

"The Little Engine That Could."

ADLER: And in his 2017 State of the State...

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BROWN: Let me end in the immortal words of Woody Guthrie...

ADLER: Brown quoted Guthrie's progressive folk anthem, "This Land Is Your Land," as he urged a state still reeling from President Trump's election to respond with courage and perseverance.

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BROWN: Nobody living can ever make me turn back. This land was made for you and me.

California's not turning back - not now, not ever. His truth is marching on.

(APPLAUSE)

ADLER: That last line, an ad-lib inserted in the moment, from another famed American anthem, "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic." For NPR News, I'm Ben Adler in Sacramento.

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