California Gov. Jerry Brown painted a bleak picture of the country and world at his final State of the State address Thursday night.
Brown, a Democrat, warned of the increasing dangers of climate change after a year of apocalyptic natural disasters in California ranging from drought to wildfires and — most recently — mudslides. Brown also took the chance to warn against nuclear threats, citing that the doomsday clock, which measures the likelihood of an existential threat to humanity, moved 30 seconds closer to midnight in recent weeks. Thursday’s speech was Brown’s 16th and final state of the state address, according to the Sacramento Bee.
“Our world, our way of life, our system of governance — all are at immediate and genuine risk,” Brown said. “Endless new weapons systems, growing antagonism among nations, the poison in our politics, climate change. All of this calls out for courage, for imagination and for generous dialogue.”
At two minutes to midnight, the doomsday clock is as close to catastrophe as it was in the height of the Cold War in 1953, Brown said. Many are skeptical that the level of danger is truly that high.
The rest of Brown’s speech was devoted to defending his policy points and dragging down President Donald Trump. He touted pension reforms, workers’ compensation, and a cap-and-trade program.
“All these programs are big and very important to our future. And their passage demonstrates that some American governments can actually get things done — even in the face of deepening partisan division,” Brown said.
Despite the thinly veiled dig at Trump, Brown’s speech was not entirely critical of him. He lauded the president for providing “substantial” federal support to California, Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico during their various natural disasters in 2017. Brown further nodded to Republicans in acknowledging that his cap-and-trade emissions program was only made possible by eight republican lawmakers jumping across the aisle to vote Democrat, the Bee reported.
Brown also highlighted the need for reforms to California’s justice system. Brown called on voters to lower sentences and expand re-entry programs that help inmates rehabilitate into society, ensuring that they don’t commit more crimes.
“When a human being gets a 20-or 40-year sentence, as tens of thousands do, incentives to reform weaken and hopelessness and violence take over, making prison gang influence all the more powerful,” Brown said.
Brown has served three non-consecutive terms as California’s governor, but will reach the end of his tenure in the state’s upcoming 2018 gubernatorial election.
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