Edmund G. Brown, Jr., known as Jerry, was born in San Francisco on April 7, 1938. He attended both public and parochial schools, graduating from St. Ignatius High School in 1955. He completed his freshman year at the University of Santa Clara before entering Sacred Heart Novitiate, a Jesuit seminary in August 1956. Two years later, he took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. In 1960, he left the Society of Jesus and enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley. He received his B.A. degree in Classics the next year and then entered Yale Law School, where he graduated in 1964.
Following law school, Brown worked as a law clerk to California Supreme Court Justice Mathew Tobriner, traveled and studied in Mexico and Latin America and then took up residence in Los Angeles, working for the prestigious law firm, Tuttle & Taylor. In 1969, Brown was elected to the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees, placing first in a field of 124. In 1970, he was elected California Secretary of State. During his term, he forced legislators to comply with campaign disclosure laws, exposed President Nixon’s use of falsely notarized documents to improperly earn a large tax deduction and drafted and helped pass the California Fair Political Practices Act. Brown personally argued before the state Supreme Court and won against Gulf, Mobile and Standard Oil for election law violations (Brown vs. Superior Court).
Brown was elected Governor in 1974 and reelected in 1978, by over one million votes.
After his defeat by Pete Wilson in the 1982 U.S. Senate race, Brown lectured widely, led delegations to China and the Soviet Union, studied Spanish in Mexico, spent six months in Japan studying Japanese culture and Buddhist practice, worked with Mother Teresa in India at the Home for the Dying and traveled to Bangladesh as a CARE ambassador of good will during the devastating floods of 1988.
Brown again practiced law in Los Angeles and in 1989 became chairman of the state Democratic Party. He resigned that position in 1991, expressing his disgust with the growing influence of money in politics, and sought the 1992 Democratic Presidential nomination. During that campaign he refused to take contributions larger than $100 and used an “800″ number to raise funds.
Despite limited financial resources, Brown defeated Bill Clinton in Maine, Colorado, Vermont, Connecticut, Utah and Nevada during the 1992 Presidential primaries and was the only candidate other than Clinton to receive enough voter support to continue until the Democratic National Convention.
In 1998, Brown ran for mayor of Oakland against 11 other candidates and won in the primary with 59% of the vote. Before taking office, he successfully passed a voter initiative, changing the ceremonial office of mayor to that of a “Strong Mayor” form of city government. Brown was re-elected in 2002 with 64% of the vote.
On June 18, 2005, Brown married Anne Gust in a ceremony officiated by Senator Dianne Feinstein. Later the same day, they had a Catholic ceremony at St. Agnes, the San Francisco church where Jerry was baptized and his parents were married. The marriage is the first for both.
Jerry Brown was elected California’s 31st Attorney General on November 6, 2006.