BIOGRAPHY OF GOVERNOR PETE WILSON
There is a paperweight on the desk of the 36th Governor of California that summarizes
the attitude of the man who sits on the hot seat behind it. "If you're not the
lead dog," the paperweight reads, "the scenery never changes."
The man behind that slogan is Governor Pete Wilson, and throughout his career he's
moved to the front of the pack to lead.
Pete Wilson was born August 23, 1933, in Lake Forest, Illinois. He attended Yale
University on an ROTC scholarship and served three years as a Marine Corps infantry
officer before going on to earn a law degree from the University of California.
Throughout his nearly three decades of public service --as an Assemblyman, Mayor
of San Diego, United States Senator, and Governor of California -- Pete Wilson has
charted an independent, path-breaking course.
As an Assemblyman in the 1960's, he authored legislation to protect California's
coastal areas --the first such bill of its kind in the nation.
As San Diego's Mayor, a position he held for a decade, he revitalized downtown, created
California's first modern light rail system, and steered the city through a period
of unparalleled growth while maintaining its beauty and high standard of living.
Pete Wilson was twice elected to represent California in the United States Senate.
In 1982, he won with the support of 53 of California's 58 counties. In 1988, he was
re-elected by the largest margin in the nation.
A leader on defense and foreign policy issues, Pete Wilson was also a forceful voice
for bringing fiscal responsibility to Washington and for supporting tougher law enforcement
As Governor, Pete Wilson has shown imaginative leadership while grappling with the
toughest economic problems any Governor has confronted since the Great Depression.
Despite the hard budget times, Pete Wilson has enacted his program of "preventative
government" to benefit children. He has maintained per pupil spending in California
classrooms, protected public safety by increasing funding for corrections, and saved
several key California military bases from unjustifiable closure. And he has also
embarked on a major overhaul of government to slash red tape and make government
a partner, rather than an adversary, in helping California businesses create jobs.
With Pete Wilson's leadership, the Golden State is poised for a Great California
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