Gray Davis on Principles & Values

Former Democratic CA Governor

If allowed to serve out term I will do things differently

Q: You said recently, “if the good voters of California allow me to serve out my term I will do things differently and make changes.” What did you do wrong and what will you change?

DAVIS: The biggest thing that I will change is to stay connected to the people of the state. When I was first elected I had town hall meeting, I spoke with people and learned a lot and got a lot of good ideas.

Governing should be a two-way street. You get wrapped up in Sacramento, talking to legislators who are important, lobbyists who are important, constituency groups.

At the end of the day the people put you there in the first place. You have to stay connected to them. Which is why we asked, and I’m glad that you agreed to have citizens tonight that I could talk to face-to-face, answer their questions. Learn from them and they can hear some of the conflicts pressures that I have to deal with as governor.

Source: Recall debate in Walnut Creek (pre-debate interview) , Sep 3, 2003

Message of recall: People are angry, but GOP is cheating

Q: You recently said “What is happening here is part of an ongoing national effort to steal elections Republicans cannot win.” but Lt. Gov. Bustamante says that voters who signed the recall petition were “sending a real strong message to the people of California, especially its leadership in Sacramento.” Governor, was there a message and what was it?

DAVIS: There is no question there was a message, that people are angry. Their lives are not going as well as they were a couple of years ago and I understand I’m the brunt of their concern.

But at the heart of this, there were a group of Republicans that were upset they could not win last November’s election. They tried to do what they’ve done to President Clinton, to try to impeach him in 1998 after they could not defeat him in ‘96. They did it in Florida where Al Gore got more votes, and when it looked like he might win the presidency, they stopped the vote count there. Now we won in November and they wanted to have a “do-over.”

Source: Recall debate in Walnut Creek (pre-debate interview) , Sep 3, 2003

Calls himself a centrist; calls himself a progressive too

Q: You came into office promising to govern from the center. But after the recall came you started to describe yourself as a progressive. What are you, a centrist or a progressive? Why have you suddenly started to describe yourself as a progressive?

DAVIS: I said in my first address that I would take a good idea from wherever it came from, the right the center or the left and I’ve maintained that posture from the very beginning. I do believe governments’ role is to help people, to be a safety net. And I do believe that many of the policies that I’ve pursued fill that overall goal. So I do not find any inconsistency. Being a centrist does not mean that you take the middle line on every issue, it means when you add up what I’ve done, I may say I’m in the center but not on every issue.

I’ve called myself a progressive most of my career. I think that the labels matter less than what you actually do and who you fight for.

Source: Recall debate in Walnut Creek (pre-debate interview) , Sep 3, 2003

Recall election is a humbling experience

Q: Sen. Dianne Feinstein went through a recall election almost 20 years ago and she described it as one of the most horrible, emotional events that she had ever gone through. Emotionally, how are you handling this?

DAVIS: It is not an easy time for my wife Sharon or I and it is not fun seeing everyone condemn you. It is a humbling experience. But I know the people that I represent want me to fight for their future so I have specific things to get done. We’ll get to them. Trust me.

Source: Recall debate in Walnut Creek (pre-debate interview) , Sep 3, 2003

Proud of record on education, healthcare, guns, environment

Q: What is your single proudest achievement that qualifies you to be Governor?

A: I don’t think you can boil it down to just one thing. As Governor, I’ve put together a record I can be proud of. In education, we’ve reduced class sizes, demanded more accountability and made historic investments in teacher recruitment and training. We’ve expanded 10-fold the Healthy Families Program for uninsured children, provided one million kids with health insurance and established the first agency in America to help patients fight their HMO-and win. We’ve signed the nation’s toughest gun laws, banning assault weapons and requiring trigger locks. We’ve signed tough new laws cleaning up our beaches, signed the nation’s first law reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sued the federal government to block more offshore drilling. We’ve improved our veterans’ homes and are building five more. Finally, I’m proud that California’s economy has grown from the 7th to the 5th largest in the world over the last four years.

Source: Eastern Groups Publications, CA Gov. Q&A, with Raul Vasquez , Nov 2, 2002

Religious affiliation: Catholic.

Davis : religious affiliation:

The Adherents.com website is an independent project and is not supported by or affiliated with any organization (academic, religious, or otherwise).

What’s an adherent?

The most common definition used in broad compilations of statistical data is somebody who claims to belong to or worship in a religion. This is the self-identification method of determining who is an adherent of what religion, and it is the method used in most national surveys and polls.

Such factors as religious service attendance, belief, practice, familiarity with doctrine, belief in certain creeds, etc., may be important to sociologists, religious leaders, and others. But these are measures of religiosity and are usually not used academically to define a person’s membership in a particular religion. It is important to recognize there are various levels of adherence, or membership within religious traditions or religious bodies. There’s no single definition, and sources of adherent statistics do not always make it clear what definition they are using.

Source: Adherents.com web site 00-ADH11 on Nov 7, 2000

Member of Democratic Governors Association.

Davis is a member of the Democratic Governors Association:

Source: DGA website, www.DemocraticGovernors.org/ 01-DGA1 on Aug 15, 2001

Member of Democratic Leadership Council.

Davis is a member of the Democratic Leadership Council:


The DLC’s mission is to promote public debate within the Democratic Party and the public at large about national and international policy and political issues. Specifically, as the founding organization of the New Democrat movement, the DLC’s goal is to modernize the progressive tradition in American politics for the 21st Century by advancing a set of innovative ideas for governing through a national network of elected officials and community leaders.

Who We Are

The Democratic Leadership Council is an idea center, catalyst, and national voice for a reform movement that is reshaping American politics by moving it beyond the old left-right debate. The DLC seeks to define and galvanize popular support for a new public philosophy built on progressive ideals, mainstream values, and innovative, non bureaucratic, market-based solutions. At its heart are three principles: promoting opportunity for all; demanding responsibility from everyone; and fostering a new sense of community.

Since its inception, the DLC has championed policies from spurring private sector economic growth, fiscal discipline and community policing to work based welfare reform, expanded international trade, and national service. Throughout the 90’s, innovative, New Democrat policies implemented by former DLC Chairman President Bill Clinton have helped produce the longest period of sustained economic growth in our history, the lowest unemployment in a generation, 22 million new jobs, cut the welfare rolls in half, reduced the crime rate for seven straight years, balanced the budget and streamlined the federal bureaucracy to its smallest size since the Kennedy administration.

Now, the DLC is promoting new ideas -- such as a second generation of environmental protection and new economy and technology development strategies -- that is distinctly different from traditional liberalism and conservatism to build the next generation of America’s leaders.

Source: Democratic Leadership Council web site 01-DLC0 on Nov 7, 2000

New Democrat: "Third Way" instead of left-right debate.

Davis adopted Third Way principles of the Democratic Leadership Council:

America and the world have changed dramatically in the closing decades of the 20th century. The industrial order of the 20th century is rapidly yielding to the networked “New Economy” of the 21st century. Our political and governing systems, however, have lagged behind the rest of society in adapting to these seismic shifts. They remain stuck in the left-right debates and the top-down bureaucracies of the industrial past.

The Democratic Leadership Council, and its affiliated think tank the Progressive Policy Institute, have been catalysts for modernizing politics and government. The core principles and ideas of this “Third Way” movement [began with] Bill Clinton’s Presidential campaign in 1992, Tony Blair’s Labour Party in Britain in 1997, and Gerhard Shroeder’s Social Democrats in Germany in 1998.

    The Third Way philosophy seeks to adapt enduring progressive values to the new challenges of he information age. It rests on three cornerstones:
  1. the idea that government should promote equal opportunity for all while granting special privilege for none;
  2. an ethic of mutual responsibility that equally rejects the politics of entitlement and the politics of social abandonment;
  3. and, a new approach to governing that empowers citizens to act for themselves.
The Third Way approach to economic opportunity and security stresses technological innovation, competitive enterprise, and education rather than top- down redistribution or laissez faire. On questions of values, it embraces “tolerant traditionalism,” honoring traditional moral and family values while resisting attempts to impose them on others. It favors an enabling rather than a bureaucratic government, expanding choices for citizens, using market means to achieve public ends and encouraging civic and community institutions to play a larger role in public life. The Third Way works to build inclusive, multiethnic societies based on common allegiance to democratic values.
Source: Democratic Leadership Council web site 01-DLC1 on Nov 7, 2000

Member, National Governors Association/Economic Development.

Davis is a member of the National Governors Association:

The National Governors Association (NGA) is the collective voice of the nation’s governors and one of Washington’s most respected public policy organizations. NGA provides governors with services that range from representing states on Capitol Hill and before the Administration on key federal issues to developing policy reports on innovative state programs and hosting networking seminars for state government executive branch officials. The NGA Center for Best Practices focuses on state innovations and best practices on issues that range from education and health to technology, welfare reform, and the environment. NGA also provides management and technical assistance to both new and incumbent governors.

Since their initial meeting in 1908 to discuss interstate water problems, governors have worked through the National Governors Association to deal with issues of public policy and governance relating to the states. The association’s ongoing mission is to support the work of the governors by providing a bipartisan forum to help shape and implement national policy and to solve state problems.

Fortune Magazine recently named NGA as one of Washington’s most powerful lobbying organizations due, in large part, to NGA’s ability to lead the debate on issues that impact states. From welfare reform to education, from the historic tobacco settlement to wireless communications tax policies, NGA has influenced major public policy issues while maintaining the strength of our Federalist system of government.

There are three standing committees—on Economic Development and Commerce, Human Resources, and Natural Resources—that provide a venue for governors to examine and develop policy positions on key state and national issues.

[Note: NGA positions represent a majority view of the nation’s governors, but do not necessarily reflect a governor’s individual viewpoint. Governors vote on NGA policy positions but the votes are not made public.]

Source: National Governors Association web site www.NGA.org 01-NGA0 on Jan 1, 2001

Member of the Western Governors' Association.

Davis is a member of the Western Governors' Association:

Established in 1984, the Western Governors' Association is an independent, non-partisan organization of governors from 18 western states and three U.S.-flag Pacific islands. The Association was formed to provide strong leadership in an era of critical change in the economy and demography of the West. The Western Governors recognize that many vital issues and opportunities shaping our future span state lines and are shared throughout the West.


Through their Association, the Western Governors identify and address key policy and governance issues in natural resources, the environment, human services, economic development, international relations and public management. Governors select the issues based on regional interest and impact. WGA helps the governors develop strategies both for the complex, long-term issues facing the West and for the region's immediate needs. Governors use the WGA to develop and advocate policies that reflect regional interests and relationships in debates at the national and state levels.
    The WGA has six basic objectives:
  1. Develop and Communicate Regional Policy
  2. Serve as a Leadership Forum
  3. Build Regional Capacity
  4. Conduct Research and Disseminate Findings
  5. Form Coalitions and Partnerships to Advance Regional Interests
  6. Build Public Understanding and Support for Regional Issues and Policy Positions
Source: Western Governors' Association Mission Statement 01-WGA0 on Aug 17, 2001

Other governors on Principles & Values: Gray Davis on other issues:
CA Gubernatorial:
Jerry Brown
CA Senatorial:
Barbara Boxer
Dianne Feinstein

Newly seated 2010:
NJ Chris Christie
VA Bob McDonnell

Term-limited as of Jan. 2011:
AL Bob Riley
CA Arnold Schwarzenegger
GA Sonny Perdue
HI Linda Lingle
ME John Baldacci
MI Jennifer Granholm
NM Bill Richardson
OK Brad Henry
OR Ted Kulongoski
PA Ed Rendell
RI Donald Carcieri
SC Mark Sanford
SD Mike Rounds
TN Phil Bredesen
WY Dave Freudenthal
Newly Elected Nov. 2010:
AL: Robert Bentley (R)
CA: Jerry Brown (D)
CO: John Hickenlooper (D)
CT: Dan Malloy (D)
FL: Rick Scott (R)
GA: Nathan Deal (R)
HI: Neil Abercrombie (D)
IA: Terry Branstad (R)
KS: Sam Brownback (R)
ME: Paul LePage (R)
MI: Rick Snyder (R)
MN: Mark Dayton (D)
ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
NM: Susana Martinez (R)
NV: Brian Sandoval (R)
NY: Andrew Cuomo (D)
OH: John Kasich (R)
OK: Mary Fallin (R)
PA: Tom Corbett (R)
RI: Lincoln Chafee (I)
SC: Nikki Haley (R)
SD: Dennis Daugaard (R)
TN: Bill Haslam (R)
VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
WI: Scott Walker (R)
WY: Matt Mead (R)
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Page last updated: Nov 23, 2011