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Jan Brewer

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Janice Kay "Jan" Brewer
JanBrewer Portrait.jpg
Governor of Arizona
Former officeholder
In office
January 20, 2009 - January 5, 2015
PredecessorJanet Napolitano (D)
Base salary$95,000 per year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
First electedNovember 2, 2010
Next generalNA
Campaign $$2,458,505
Term limits2 consecutive terms
Prior offices
Arizona House of Representatives
1983 - 1987
Arizona State Senate
1987 - 1997
Arizona Secretary of State
2003 - 2009
OtherGlendale Community College
Date of birthSeptember 26, 1944
Place of birthHollywood, California
ProfessionRadiology technician
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Janice Kay "Jan" Drinkwine Brewer (b. September 26, 1944, in Hollywood, California) was the 22nd Republican Governor of Arizona. Brewer became governor in 2009, succeeding former Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) after she resigned to join the cabinet of President Barack Obama. Brewer was serving as Arizona Secretary of State at the time of Napolitano's departure. Since Arizona does not have a lieutenant governor, the secretary of state is second in the line of succession to the governorship. Brewer assumed the role on January 20, 2009. On November 2, 2010, Brewer was elected to her first full term, effective through January 5, 2015. She was succeeded by former Arizona Treasurer Doug Ducey (R).

In November 2012, speculation began that Brewer would attempt to challenge the state term-limit law in order to run for re-election in 2014. To make such a bid possible, she would have had to seek a change in the law itself by constitutional amendment, or else circumvent the law by obtaining an exemption from the state Supreme Court. The press attention paid to the matter waned in the subsequent months, and Brewer eventually retired the notion she could overcome, or at least stretch, her term limit.[1] She finally laid the subject to rest on March 12, 2014. “There does come a time to pass the torch of leadership; And after completing this term in office, I will be doing just that,” Brewer stated.[2]

Long active in state politics, Brewer began her political career in 1982 when she was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives. Serving in that chamber until 1987, Brewer then joined the Arizona State Senate for the next ten years. In 1996, Brewer was elected the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, serving as Chair in 1998 and 2001. She was next elected Arizona Secretary of State in 2002, where she served until being elevated to the governorship in 2009.[3] As the Arizona Constitution does not make provision for the position of Lieutenant Governor, Brewer, as secretary of state, was the first in line to succeed Democratic Gov. Napolitano when she resigned to become United States Secretary of Homeland Security on January 20, 2009.

Brewer is Arizona's fourth female governor and third consecutive female governor. In the 2010 midterm election, she won election to a full term as Arizona's chief executive.[3]

An analysis of Republican governors by Nate Silver of the New York Times in April 2013 ranked Brewer as the 18th most conservative governor in the country.[4]


Brewer was born in Hollywood, California to Perry and Edna Drinkwine. Her father died of lung disease when she was eleven years old. Growing up, Brewer worked alongside her mother in a franchise dress shop her mother owned.

Brewer studied at Glendale Community College where she received a radiologist technician certificate. She moved to Arizona after marrying her husband, John.


  • Radiologist Technician Certificate - Glendale Community College

Political career

Governor of Arizona (2009 - 2015)

In January of 2009, former Gov. Napolitano was officially nominated by President Barack Obama to be his Secretary of Homeland Security. As secretary of state, Brewer was next in the line of succession. She became Governor of Arizona on January 20, 2009, and held her inaugural ceremony the next day. She subsequently won election to a full term as governor in 2010.


Gay rights

On February 27, 2014, Brewer vetoed a measure that would have allowed business owners to deny service to same-sex couples if it conflicted with their religious beliefs. After much consideration, the governor announced the decision at the Capitol, saying “I call them like I see them, despite the cheers or the boos from the crowd.”[5] Brewer rejected SB 1062 on the grounds that it “does not address a specific or present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona.” She was also concerned about what regrettable and unintended consequences the "broadly worded" bill might yield. [5][6]

The week before Brewer shot it down, SB 1062 passed in the Republican-controlled legislature and immediately ignited a nationwide media firestorm, with supporters and critics of the bill each arguing in the interest of preventing discrimination. A score of high profile government officials and activist organizations vied for the upper hand in this complex argument about civil liberty and religious freedoms. Republican leaders like U.S. Sen. John McCain, Florida Gov. Rick Scott ex-Gov. and 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney stood out for their opposition to bill, although Brewer's recently restated prioritization of Arizona's budget, education and other economic issues indicate she was perhaps more susceptible to the disapproving calls and divestment threats from business leaders, believing it could cause the state substantial economic harm, especially with respect to tourism, as well as tarnish its reputation.[7] Summarizing the stance of those who had rooted for SB 1062 to succeed, state Sen. Steven B. Yarbrough stated, "This bill is not about allowing discrimination...about preventing discrimination against people who are clearly living out their faith." His position mirrored those expressed by members of other GOP-led state legislatures, including Georgia, Idaho, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Dakota, all of which had introduced this type of legislation prior to the heavily publicized debate over SB 1062 in Arizona.

As of February 2014, Arizona was not among the 21 states where it is illegal for public accommodations to refuse services to any individual based on his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.[8]

Judicial appointments

As governor, Brewer is responsible for appointing judges to Arizona state courts. In Arizona, the governor makes a judicial appointment after candidates are recommended by a judicial nominating commission. After the governor appoints a judge, she or he must run for retention at the appellate level or election at the trial court level in the next general election more than two years after taking office. For an up-to-date list of all of Brewer's appointees, see Judgepedia's page on her appointments.

Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")

In March 2010, after the federal government enacted the Affordable Care Act, including a mandate that would require everyone in the country to purchase insurance, Brewer called a special session of the State Legislature in order to seek permission to sue the federal government on behalf of the state. Terry Goddard, then the Democratic State Attorney General, had chosen not to join other states in filing suit against the federal government over health care reform, believing it had "little chance of prevailing," and Brewer decided she should intervene. It should be noted that, at the time, both Brewer and Goddard were candidates in the state's gubernatorial race - Goddard being the presumptive Democratic nominee as opposed to Brewer, who was facing a heavily competitive Republican primary contest.[9]

Medicaid Expansion

In June 2012, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as "Obamacare," and state officials such as Brewer who had long fought for its repeal were faced with the dilemma of how to proceed with the few options which had been left for them to decide, including whether to participate in the federally controlled Medicaid expansion and whether to setup a state-specific versus federal health-exchange program. Several of Brewer's Republican colleagues pledged to keep their states outside the sphere of medicaid expansion, in some cases to demonstrate their enduring commitment to opposing the law, or else because they mistrusted the federal government to honor its long term financial promises for the expansion. In her 2013 State of the State address, however, Brewer resolved this particular dilemma for Arizona by breaking ranks with the Republican party on the issue of Medicaid.[10] In addition to conceding the futility of continued opposition to Obamacare in the wake of the Supreme Court decision and Obama's re-election victory, Brewer discussed the considerable popular support for expanding patient eligibility: Arizona had already voted twice to require the state to provide free care for everyone up to the federal poverty line.[10] During her speech, Brewer appealed to the Republican-controlled legislature to consider the merits of letting the federal government help finance an expansion which seemed likely to occur in Arizona regardless. She also pointed to the economic and job saving potential of including Arizona in the federal expansion.[10] Despite embracing this feature of the Affordable Care Act, Brewer made it clear she would not settle for less federal funding than would be necessary to support the potential addition of 300,000 newly-eligible Arizonans to the Medicaid rolls, to "protect rural and safety-net hospitals from being pushed to the brink by growing their cost in caring for the uninsured."[11]

Anti-Medicaid expansion movement

Brewer's appeal to the state legislature in January 2013 to expand Arizona's Medicaid rolls under the auspices of Obamacare culminated in June with the successful passage of a law outlining a plan for implementation. Days later, a group that disapproved of Brewer's alignment with President Obama's health care overhaul, The United Republican Alliance of Principled Conservatives, filed a referendum to block the Medicaid Expansion law from taking effect, but the referendum failed to collect the required 86,405 valid signatures to land on the November 2014 ballot before the September 11, 2013 deadline. Opponents - including the 36 Republican members of the state legislature who voted against expansion - turned to a lawsuit brought by the conservative Goldwater Institute as their chief alternative to blocking the law before it officially went live Jan. 1, 2014, with eligible Arizonans enrolling as early as Oct. 1.[12] The institute filed on the grounds that because the expansion would require participating hospitals to pay a set fee to the state to help compensate for future reductions in the federal subsidy, the law contains a tax and therefore its implementation under the control of the executive branch would violate the state law enforcing separation of powers.

While the imposition of such a fee is an authority granted to state agencies "over 80 times in the past five years," according to a Brewer spokesperson, critics insist that the fee's resemblance to a tax is too close for constitutional comfort, per Article 3, Section 22, the distribution of powers.[13] In that vein, the lawsuit challenged the constitutionality of the procedural metric by which the expansion was judged and obtained legislative approval. The suit argues that the Brewer administration deliberately misrepresented the hospital fee to circumvent the higher-approval thresholds required for tax authorization; Had the fee been introduced as a tax instead, a two-thirds vote from both chambers would have been called for in order for the expansion to pass muster.[14]

“If this bill is not stopped, a dangerous precedent will have been set that extends far beyond Medicaid expansion," stated one Goldwater Institute attorney, mirroring the mantras famously recited by those who had previously led the fight against the implementation of Obamacare- Brewer among them.[15]

Job creation ranking

In a June 2013 analysis by The Business Journals which ranked 45 of the country's 50 governors by their job creation record, Brewer was ranked number 29. The five governors omitted from the analysis all assumed office in 2013. The ranking was based on a comparison of the annual private sector growth rate in all 50 states using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.[16][17]

Term limits

Brewer was originally appointed governor in 2009 and subsequently won election to a full term in 2010. Having occupied the office during two consecutive terms, she is barred from seeking re-election in 2014 under the state's rules governing term limits for executive officials.[18] However in late 2012, Brewer launched a discussion about her possibly running again in 2014. The discussion raised eyebrows as well as questions, particularly among the political media, about the merits of a potential legal challenge. Based on most interpretations of the state constitution voiced at the time, Brewer was ineligible to run for re-election. Then, in November 2012, Brewer's former chief legal counsel Joe Kanefield presented a counter argument to the Arizona Republic which lent Brewer some encouragement. Kanefield asserted that the specific language of the term limit law -- "which shall include any part of a term served" -- was meant to prevent crafty politicians from resigning just short of their second term's expiration in order to stay in office; And since Brewer, short of "gaming the system," inherited the role automatically in 2009 per constitutional succession procedure, she ought to be able to run for re-election without violating the spirit of the law, he said.[18][19]

When asked about her potential third term bid and the accompanying term-limit hurdle in a November 2012 interview with the Arizona Republic, Brewer responded, "I haven't ruled it out, and I've been encouraged by people — legal scholars and other people — that it's probably something that I ought to pursue."[19] If Brewer decided to do so, a majority vote by the Arizona Supreme Court would have been required to enable her bid.[20] Brewer appointed three of the five total justices.[19]

Brewer finally conceded in March 2014, stating that “There does come a time to pass the torch of leadership... And after competing this term in office, I will be doing just that."


There is an independent redistricting commission, created by Proposition 106 in 2000, that governs redistricting in Arizona. According to its website, the mission of the commission is, "to administer the fair and balanced redistricting of the Congressional and Legislative districts for the State of Arizona."[21]

The commission has 5 members: one appointed by each of the Senate President, Senate Minority Leader, House Speaker and House Minority Leader. The fifth and final member is an independent, chosen by the first four appointees. The fifth member also serves as the chair. As of October 2011, the commission was comprised of 2 Democrats, 2 Republicans and 1 independent.

Following the 2010 census, the commission drafted redistricting maps. The draft maps, for which there is a 30 day comment period that began October 11, 2011, leave open the possibility that Democrats could gain seats in Republican-controlled Arizona. On October 26, 2011, Gov. Brewer "began the impeachment process for removing members from the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission by submitting a letter outlining her grievances to commission Chairwoman Colleen Mathis."[22]. Earlier in the month, Brewer called the draft maps "gerrymandering at its worst," and described the commission as "unaccountable" and said it "misused its authority."[22]

Presidential preference


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Jan Brewer endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. [23]

Arizona Secretary of State (2003 - 2009)

Brewer was elected Arizona Secretary of State in 2002, serving there until 2009. She was also a delegate to the 2004 Republican National Convention.

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors (1996 - 2002)

In 1996 Brewer ran for chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, defeating incumbent Ed King. She served in this position for six years.

Arizona State Senate (1986 - 1996)

Brewer was a state senator for ten years, from 1986-1996. During her last three years as a state senator, she held the leadership position of majority whip.

Arizona House of Representatives (1982 - 1986)

Brewer was elected as a Republican to the Arizona House of Representatives in 1982. She served there through 1986, when she won election to the Arizona State Senate.



See also: Arizona Gubernatorial election, 2014

Brewer, who was originally appointed to the position in 2009 and has been elected one time since, in 2010, is technically unable to seek re-election in 2014 under the Arizona constitution's rules governing gubernatorial term limits.[24] Despite her publicized consideration back in November 2012 of a possible legal challenge to the specific constitutional restriction precluding her run, the subsequent silence on the issue suggested that Brewer had decided not to pursue efforts to amend or bypass constitutional term-limits in order to run again in 2014. Nonetheless, she waited until March 2014 to publicly rule out the possibility of a bid.[2]


See also: Arizona gubernatorial election, 2010 and Gubernatorial elections, 2010


On November 2, 2010, Jan Brewer won re-election to the office of Governor of Arizona. She defeated Terry Goddard (D), Barry J. Hess (LBT), Larry Gist (Green) and various write-in challengers in the general election.

Governor of Arizona, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJan Brewer Incumbent 54.3% 938,934
     Democratic Terry Goddard 42.4% 733,935
     Libertarian Barry J. Hess 2.2% 38,722
     Green Larry Gist 0.9% 16,128
     N/A Write-ins 0.1% 2,017
Total Votes 1,729,736
Election Results Via: Arizona Secretary of State


Brewer defeated four opponents in the August 24 primary, receiving 81.79% of the vote. Buz Mills came in second with 8.84%.

2010 Race for Governor - Republican Primary[25]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Jan Brewer (R) 81.79%
Matt Jette (R) 3.29%
Dean Martin (R) 5.77%
Buz Mills (R) 8.84%
(write-in) 0.31%
Total votes 370,296

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Brewer is available dating back to 1996. Based on available campaign finance records, Brewer raised a total of $2,458,505 during that time period. This information was last updated on June 4, 2014.[26]

Jan Brewer's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Governor of Arizona Not up for election $0
2010 Governor of Arizona Won $1,820,099
2008 Arizona Secretary of State Not up for election $0
2006 Arizona Secretary of State Won $261,510
2004 Arizona Secretary of State Not up for election $-21,050
2002 Arizona Secretary of State Won $370,989
1996 Arizona State Senate District 19 Not up for election $26,957
Grand Total Raised $2,458,505

Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Jan Brewer's donors each year.[27] Click [show] for more information.


Brewer married her husband, John, and worked in Glendale, California, before moving to his hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. in 1970. They later moved to Glendale, Arizona, where he became a successful chiropractor and found success in real estate. She gave birth to three sons, one of whom died in 2007.[28]

Recent news

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See also

External links

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  1. Arizona Republic, "Kanefield: Constitution clears Brewer to pursue another term," November 15, 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 The New York Times, "Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona won't seek re-election," March 12, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 Office of the Arizona Governor, "Governor Janice K. Brewer Biography," March 30, 2013
  4. New York Times, "In State Governments, Signs of a Healthier G.O.P.," April 16, 2013
  5. 5.0 5.1 The New York Times, "Arizona Governor Vetoes Bill on Refusal of Service to Gays," February 27, 2014
  6. The Los Angeles Times, "Arizona businesses already can refuse to serve gays: SB1062 explained," February 22, 2014
  7. Arizona Republic, "SENATE BILL 1062," accessed February 27, 2014
  8. Human Rights Council, "LGBT-Inclusive Public Accommodations Laws," accessed February 27, 2014
  9. The Arizona Republic, "Brewer, Goddard divided on suing feds" 25 March, 2010
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Office of the Arizona Governor, "State of the State Addresss," January 14, 2013
  11. East Valley Tribune, "Brewer address: Ariz. should expand Medicaid, CPS efforts," January 14, 2013
  12. AZ, "Group files referendum to block Medicaid expansion," June 19, 2013
  13. Arizona Republic, "Goldwater Institute sues over Arizona Medicaid law," September 12, 2013
  14., "Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer keeps up pro-Obamacare fight," September 13, 2013
  15. Politico, "Arizona activists fail to get Medicaid expansion on ballot but turn to courts," September 12, 2013
  16. The Business Journals, "Governors and jobs: How governors rank for job creation in their states," June 27, 2013
  17. The Business Journals, "How state governors rank on their job-growth record," June 27, 2013
  18. 18.0 18.1 Arizona Republic, "Kanefield: Constitution clears Brewer to pursue another term," November 15, 2012
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 The Arizona Daily Sun, "Brewer on re-election: No Decision," November 14, 2012
  20. Politico, "Brewer may seek 3rd term as governor," November 12, 2012
  21. Redistricting Commission site
  22. 22.0 22.1, "Arizona Governor Starts Impeachment Process Against Redistricting Panel," October 26, 2011
  23. KGET, "Romney picks up endorsement in Arizona," February 26, 2012
  24. Arizona Republic, "Kanefield: Constitution clears Brewer to pursue another term," November 15, 2012
  25. Arizona Department of State, Division of Elections, “August 24, 2010 Primary Election Results, Governor”, August 24, 2010
  26. Follow the Money, " Career fundraising for Jan Brewer," accessed June 4, 2013
  27. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
  28. Project VoteSmart, "Bio of Jan Brewer," accessed July 6, 2011
Political offices
Preceded by
Janet Napolitano (D)
Governor of Arizona
Succeeded by
Doug Ducey (R)
Preceded by
Betsy Bayless
Arizona Secretary of State
Succeeded by
Ken Bennett (R)