Edmund Gerald “Pat” Brown (1905-96) was the 32nd Governor of California, serving between 1959 and 1967. He was admitted to membership of the Order of the Lion and the Black Cross by Prince-Abbot Edmond II.
Brown graduated from San Francisco Law School in 1927 and passed the Bar the following year. He ran as Republican Party candidate for the State Assembly in 1928 but was unsuccessful. In 1932 he joined the Democratic Party and in 1939 contested the post of District Attorney of San Francisco, again unsuccessfully. However, he ran again in 1943 and this time was successful, serving for seven years and making his name in standing against underground abortion providers and bookmakers.
In 1946, he was the Democratic nominee for Attorney-General of California, but lost. In 1950 he contested the position again and was successful, winning re-election in 1954. He won the nomination for Governor in 1958 and defeated William F. Knowland (also a member of the San Luigi Orders) in the resulting contest. In 1962 he was re-elected, this time defeating Richard M. Nixon. His gubernatorial service was marked by a notable expansion of higher education in California, with the Donahoe Higher Education Act of 1960 its keystone. Water resources were developed, with the new California Aqueduct being named for him. He also established the state economic development commission and consumers’ council, and oversaw fair employment legislation.
In 1964, Brown was under consideration as Lyndon B. Johnson’s running mate, but lost out to Hubert Humphrey. Towards the end of his term, the Watts Riots and demonstrations at UC Berkeley against the Vietnam War adversely affected his popularity. In 1966, he resolved to seek a third term, which he had earlier said he would not do, and faced a tough primary battle against Sam Yorty, who polled 38% against Brown’s 52%. Coming through this, Brown’s campaign seemed to be closely poised, but in the event, his Republican opponent, Ronald Reagan, won a landslide victory.
Brown and his wife Bernice Layne had four children, of whom one son, Jerry Brown, is the current Governor of California.
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