Jerry Brown Kicks Off Campaign with Visit to Solar Company Solaria

Following an easy victory in Tuesday’s primary race, Jerry Brown, Democratic candidate for California Governor, officially kicked off his campaigntoday, in a contest that promises to have the environment as a centerpiece issue. Solaria Corporation, a Silicon Valley solar panel manufacturer, hosted the event.

In opening remarks, Dan Shugar, Solaria’s chief executive, praised Brown’s record on the environment and support for the clean tech sector.  During Brown’s first term as Governor (1975–1983), he championed the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority, which provides financing for facilities that develop advanced transportation technologies.

Tesla, the electric car superstar, earlier this year was granted CAEATFA tax incentives totaling $31 million.

In his comments, Brown specifically touted his support for AB32, California’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction and clean energy bill, describing it as “a very flexible framework for reducing our dependency on fossil fuel, curbing pollution and dealing with climate change and most importantly creating the jobs of the future.”

The rest of the Democratic ticket including Gavin Newsome, current San Francisco mayor who is running for Lieutenant Governor, joined Brown at the podium, where each candidate spoke about the importance of renewable energy for California’s economic future.

The green jobs issue has become a popular soapbox for politicians from both parties. But the candidates fundamentally disagree on how to create those jobs. Brown’s opponent, Republican Meg Whitman, former eBay CEO, has vowed that her first act in office will be to suspend implementation of most AB32 rules,  which she described as “job killing regulations.”  According to her website, her job growth plan calls for “cutting taxes and modifying regulations that discourage our businesses from hiring.”

During his remarks today, Brown challenged Whitman to debate these central issues, but added, “even if she doesn’t want to debate, I’ll be glad to stand next to her and let you ask questions of her and me. What is she afraid of?”

Ms. Whitman, who won her party’s nomination by a wide margin in Tuesday’s primary race, also chose Silicon Valley to launch her campaign at a rally outside the San Jose Tech Museum of Innovation.

(Photo Credit: Bob Hauser)

Jim Witkin is a writer and researcher based in Silicon Valley focused on business, technology and the environment. His work has been featured in the New York Times and Guardian newspapers on topics that include: sustainable business practices, clean tech, the environment and next generation transportation technologies. He holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School. Contact him at

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