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Willie Lewis Brown, Jr., served as a Two-term Mayor of San Francisco from 1996 to 2004. He was a legendary Speaker of the California State Assembly from 1980 to 1995 (re-elected 16 straight times to the 13th Assembly District, San Francisco) and is widely regarded as the most influential African-American politician of the late twentieth century. He was the Chair on Committee on Ways and Means. He served on the Board of Trustees, California State University system and as Regent of the University of California. He was the Chair of the Revenue and Taxation Committee, and was on the Board of Administration for CalPERS. He has been at the center of California politics, government, and civic life for an astonishing four decades.
Mr. Brown's career spans the American Presidency from Lyndon Johnson to George W. Bush, and he has worked with every California Governor from Pat Brown to Arnold Schwarzenegger. From civil rights to education reform, tax policy, economic development, health care, international trade, domestic partnerships, and affirmative action, he's left his imprimatur on every aspect of politics and public policy in the Golden State.
As Mayor of California's most cosmopolitan city, Willie Brown refurbished and rebuilt the nation's busiest transit system, pioneered the use of bond measures to build affordable housing, created a model juvenile justice system, and paved the way for a second campus of the University of California, San Francisco, to serve as the anchor of a new development that will position the City as a center for the burgeoning field of biotechnology.
Mr. Brown has a Bachelor of Arts from San Francisco State University and a Juris Doctor degree from Hastings College of Law, University of California. He was admitted to practice law for the State of California, all Federal Courts, and the Supreme Court. He has been honored with honorary Doctor of Law degrees from Morehouse College and Atlanta University in GA; Jarvis Christian College, Hawkins, Texas; Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio; University of Alabama; Golden Gate University, Lincoln, San Francisco State University, Crown College of University of California, Santa Cruz, and San Joaquin College of Law, Clovis, all of California. He has honorary Juris Doctor degrees from Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland; Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; The City College of New York; Paine College, Augusta, Georgia; and Lorenzo Patino School of Law, University of Northern California.
Today, Willie Brown heads the Willie L. Brown, Jr., Institute on Politics and Public Service, where this acknowledged master of the art of politics shares his knowledge and skills with a new generation of California leaders.