President Lyndon B. Johnson Consoles California Governor Pat Brown As He Surrenders Office to His Successor, Ronald Reagan

LBJ laid on the charm, praising the “uniqueness of your talents and insights at the service of all our people. I know they share my admiration and appreciation of your accomplishments on California's and America*s behalf.”

Edmund “Pat” Brown was district attorney for San Francisco in the 1940s, and was elected Attorney General of California in 1950. He became the state’s governor in 1959. As governor, Brown saw an explosion of emigrants arrive in California, and in response he embarked on major projects, building important infrastructure and redefining...

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President Lyndon B. Johnson Consoles California Governor Pat Brown As He Surrenders Office to His Successor, Ronald Reagan

LBJ laid on the charm, praising the “uniqueness of your talents and insights at the service of all our people. I know they share my admiration and appreciation of your accomplishments on California's and America*s behalf.”

Edmund “Pat” Brown was district attorney for San Francisco in the 1940s, and was elected Attorney General of California in 1950. He became the state’s governor in 1959. As governor, Brown saw an explosion of emigrants arrive in California, and in response he embarked on major projects, building important infrastructure and redefining the state’s higher education system. His legacy has earned him the regard of many as the builder of modern California.

Brown’s surprise decision to seek a third term in 1966 came at a time when his popularity was at a low ebb. The Republicans seized upon this opportunity by nominating a well-known and charismatic political outsider, actor and union leader Ronald Reagan. Reagan was elected, and assumed the post of California governor on January 2, 1967.

LBJ wore Brown this consoling letter, to take a tad of the sting out of Brown’s leaving office. Typed letter signed, on White House letterhead, Washington, January 6, 1967, to Brown. “One of the privileges of the Presidency is the opportunity it affords for sharpening the mind and opening the heart with the ablest of Americans. You gave me such an opportunity on your recent visit here. I am grateful for it and will make the most of it. Your letter is a bonus. I consider its counsel a second opportunity to put the uniqueness of your talents and insights at the service of all our people. I know they share my admiration and appreciation of your accomplishments on California’s and America*s behalf. Like me, they are reassured that your good mind and heart will be searching on for new achievement. You know that whenever you are in Washington you need no engraved invitation to call. It will always be my privilege to have the pleasure of your company. May the New Year bring you all gladness and good fortune.”

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