People often ask why anyone would want to run a state plagued with so many problems. But Brown assured everyone he wants the job as California's 39th governor.
California is much different than when he left the governor's office nearly three decades ago with much of Sacramento today mired in gridlock and partisanship, especially over the budget.
The Democrat, though, vowed to forge a new way.
"There's no other way forward. In this crisis, we simply have to learn to work together as Californians first, members of a political party second," Brown said.
The new governor also referenced his family, speaking of the hardships they endured generations ago to come to California. The 72-year-old singled out his aunt, Connie Carlson, who will be 99 years old this year.
"By the way, those who are hankering after my job, it may be a while. So relax," he said.
All kidding aside, Brown thinks his family's pioneering spirit is still alive today, and that will help move California out of this recession.
"California, here I come, right back where I started from. Thank you!" he said.
Brown attended a labor union's inaugural reception, one of many around the Capitol. And in keeping with his frugal nature, only hot dogs, chips and water were served. Estimates are that Brown spent less than $100,000 for inaugural festivities.
Brown will need to present a new state budget proposal next Monday, so he will have to get right to work. More budget cuts are expected in the face of a $28 billion deficit.