Joseph Graham "Gray" Davis, Jr. (born December 26 1942) is an American politician who served as Governor of California from 1999 until being recalled in 2003. Davis is a Democrat who was often known as a moderate. Prior to serving as governor, Davis served as Chief of Staff to Governor Jerry Brown (1975-1981), California State Assemblyman (1983-1987), California State Controller (1987-1995), and Lieutenant Governor of California (1995-1999). Davis holds a B.A. in history from Stanford University and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his service as a Captain in the Vietnam War.
During his time as governor, Davis made education his top priority and California spent eight billion dollars more than was required under California Proposition 98 during his first term. Under Davis, California standardized test scores increased for five straight years. Davis signed the nation's first state law requiring automakers to limit auto emissions. Davis supported laws to ban assault weapons. He is also credited with improving relations between California and Mexico. Davis began his tenure as Governor with strong approval ratings, but those ratings declined as voters blamed Davis for the California electricity crisis and the California budget crisis that followed the dot-com bubble burst. Voters were also alienated by Davis’s record breaking fundraising efforts and negative campaigning.
On October 7, 2003, he became the second governor to be recalled in American history. Davis was succeeded by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger on November 17 after the 2003 recall election. Davis spent 1,778 days as governor, and signed 5,132 bills out of 6,244, vetoing 1,100 bills. Since being recalled, Davis has worked as a guest lecturer at the UCLA School of Public Affairs and as an attorney at Loeb & Loeb, and sat on the Board of Directors of the animation company DiC Entertainment.
- Headlines in search show improved relations
- Davis Loyalists Give Cruz Cold Shoulder by Ballon, Marc. JewishJournal.com. Copyright 2006-2007. Accessed September 17, 2007.
- STATE OF TRANSITION: End of the Davis era, Tempered temperament led state by Salladay, Robert The San Francisco Chronicle. Wednesday, November 12, 2003. Accessed on August 22, 2007.
Portions of this article were adapted from Wikipedia.