California Had 4 Governors in 4 Days and No One Noticed

Darrell Steinberg, California Senate President Pro Tempore, Jerry Brown, governor of California,  Gavin Newsom, lieutenant governor of California via Getty Images
Darrell Steinberg, California Senate President Pro Tempore, Jerry Brown, governor of California, Gavin Newsom, lieutenant governor of California via Getty Images

Governor Jerry Brown is a pretty low key guy. His third term as governor has been a relatively successful one, having steered the state out of a financial crisis. He hasn’t been without controversy, but he seems to equally upset everyone in a fair and balanced way. There is very little doubt he will win his fourth term this November.

The Governor Formerly Known As Moonbeam doesn’t believe in glitz. In fact, unless you are a regular follower of the happenings in Sacramento, you might not even notice when he’s gone. Like this past week. On Sunday, July 27, Gov. Brown headed of to Mexico to sign two energy-pacts with the Mexican government. The deals focused on cross-border clean tech investment and emission reduction programs. They also signed an agreement focusing on online learning initiatives, including ” joint research programs, cross-border student and teacher exchanges, and teacher training courses for English-language teachers.”

Like I said, nothing glamorous.

While Gov. Brown was in Mexico, someone had to stay on here at home. As the eighth largest economy in the world, we can never really be without someone in charge. As per the California Constitution, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is next in the line of succession.

Newsom tends to get a lot more attention that Gov. Brown, largely because he’s young and, well, hot. Good looks aside, the former mayor of San Francisco is also a very capable leader and our state remained in very good hands. On Tuesday, however, the number two guy in charge had to hand over his temporary reign as the Chief of State to deal with Special Olympics business in New York and Washington, D.C.. Newsom was appointed the Executive Chairman of the Leadership Committee for the 2015 Special Olympics that will be held in Los Angeles next year. The state remained in tact, so his roughly 60 hours as governor was a bonafide success.

On Tuesday, our third governor in as many days took over. Next in line was Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. Elected to the Senate in 2006, he has been the Senate leader since 2008. His 24 hours as acting governor was not quite as eventful as the last time he served temporary duty. In August of last year he issued issued an emergency proclamation for Mariposa County due to the effects of the Rim Fire that raged near Yosemite National Park.

While it was a slow week for California, it was a busy travel week for our governors. Steinberg had personal business in Chicago, which left Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins in charge. This was Speaker Atkins first time as temporary governor yet it was a historic one. She is only the second woman to serve as temporary governor in California. Interestingly, the last time we had a temporary woman governor was in 1976, during Gov. Brown’s first term.

We still have not elected a woman for real, however. We need to get on that.

After nine hours, acting Governor Atkins time was up and Gov. Brown quietly returned to California on Thursday and resumed his duties.

And that is how California survived having four governors in four days without anyone noticing.


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