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George Deukmejian
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U.S. Governor
    (June 6, 1928-May 8, 2018)
    Born in Menards, New York
    Birth name was Courken George Deukmejian, Jr.
    California State Senator (1967-79)
    California Attorney General (1979-83)
    Governor of California (1983-91)
    As part of his anti-marijuana campaign as Attorney General, he helicoptered in with gun-toting agents for a raid on a marijuana farm.
    He was nicknamed ‘Governor No’ for the large number of bills he vetoed.
    He vetoed the first bill banning discrimination against gays and lesbians to pass the state legislature (1984).
    He boasted in the middle of his term about eliminating the state budget deficit, but a later economic turndown resulted in his leaving his successor an even bigger shortfall than the one he had faced.
    He was on the shortlist of potential running mates for George H.W. Bush, but asked that he be removed from consideration as he did not want to hand control of the state over to the lieutenant governor, who was a Democrat.
    He had an often dour appearance and had to write happy faces on the notes for his speeches to remind himself to smile.
    He was married to Gloria Saatjian for 61 years.
    He won re-election as governor by a 61%-37% margin, setting a record for the state.
    He got the University of California system to divest its pension funds from companies doing business in South Africa (1986).
    He presided over a $1 billion tax rebate (1987).
    He convinced the Democratic state assembly to pass legislation requiring welfare recipients to undergo job training or perform community service work to receive their checks.
    After a 1989 school shooting, he commented that he did not see ‘any reason why anybody needs to have a military assault-type weapon, even somebody who is a sportsman or hunter,’ and signed legislation to make California the first state to ban such weapons.
    UCLA Chancellor Charles Young said, ‘I believe he never took a position that he didn’t believe sincerely.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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