SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Gov. Jerry Brown will look back on his four terms as California’s governor and lay out his vision for what’s to come in his final State of the State address.
It was the 16th such address for the 79-year-old Brown, who was elected to two terms starting in 1975 then to two more in 2011.
Brown, the son of former Gov. Pat Brown, has frequently used his annual address to the Legislature to highlight California as the nation’s beacon of opportunity and hope but also warn of its past economic woes and the financial pitfalls that may loom ahead.
Gov. Jerry Brown is defending two massive and much-scrutinized infrastructure projects in his State of the State address.
He’s acknowledging there are “obstacles” in the ambitious plan to build a high-speed train from Los Angeles to San Francisco, the cost of which has skyrocketed since it was first proposed. Brown argues pursing the project will still be cheaper than expanding airports or building new freeways.
He says: “Difficulties challenge us but they can’t discourage us.”
Brown also says he has persisted with a plan to bring water from the north to the south through massive tunnels because it is “vital” to California. Brown’s administration has recently decided to consider one tunnel instead of two. He says he believes the project can conserve water and protect wildlife.
Brown is calling for a task force of scientists and forest management experts to find ways to reduce the wildfire threat to California.
Brown said in his annual State of the State address Thursday that the wildfires are becoming more destructive and the fire season is becoming longer.
The Democratic governor says California needs to be ready with firefighting capabilities and communications systems to warn people of danger.
Local officials faced criticism last year that they failed to adequately notify residents of the risk of fierce wildfires in Northern California’s wine country and of mudslides near Santa Barbara.
Last year’s speech outlined battles to come with the Trump administration on immigration.
Brown is termed out of office and can’t run again in November.
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