Capitol Alert: Jerry Brown to give speech at Washington think tank

dsiders@sacbee.comOctober 21, 2013 

Gov. Jerry Brown discusses the state budget at a news conference at the state Capitol in Sacramento in January.

RANDALL BENTON — rbenton@sacbee.com

Gov. Jerry Brown, who visits Washington infrequently and typically keeps a low profile when he does, will deliver a rare speech in the nation's capital Thursday.

The Democratic governor, who will speak at a conference hosted by the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, has said in recent months that he wants to advocate for immigration and environmental policy changes on a national stage, but his remarks Thursday are expected to be focused more on budgeting.

"He's been asked to speak about how California is tackling its fiscal challenges and getting things done, at a time when gridlock and partisanship dominate national politics," Brown spokesman Evan Westrup said in an email.

Also on the program Thursday are Secretary of State John Kerry, former Vice President Al Gore and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

Brown made frequent appearances in Washington when he was governor before, from 1975 to 1983, and running unsuccessfully for president, but he has sharply limited his out-of-state travel since returning to office in 2011.

Brown attended a conference of the nation's governors in Washington earlier this year. Among the people with whom he met privately there was former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, chairman of the Center for American Progress.

Brown will travel to Southern California before heading east. On Tuesday, Brown will attend the launch of a hotel construction project at the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens.

The casino is a major supporter of Brown, donating $37,000 to his 2010 campaign for governor, $25,000 to his successful initiative to raise taxes last year and $14,700 so far to his re-election campaign. The casino this year has also donated $5,000 at Brown's behest to each of two charter schools Brown started in Oakland when he was mayor of that city.

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