Commonwealth Club: Fmr. Mayor Willie Brown

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Willie Brown gives his annual lecture on political trends.

Two-term mayor of San Francisco and former speaker of the California State Assembly, Willie Brown is widely regarded as one of the state's most influential African-American politicians of the late 20th century. From civil rights to education reform, tax policy, economic development, health care, international trade, domestic partnerships and affirmative action, he's left his mark on every aspect of politics and public policy in the Golden State. Come listen to this acknowledged master of the political game share his knowledge and skills with a new generation of California leaders.

Brown left an indelible mark in an assortment of political issues, ranging from civil rights to international trade. While mayor, he overhauled Muni and redeveloped the Embarcadero, among other accomplishments. And he was sought for advice from such prominent figures as Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

Brown served in the California State Assembly from 1964 to 1995, becoming the state's first African-American speaker in 1980. He held the position for an unprecedented fifteen years, and was eventually termed out of office. In 1995, Brown left the State Assembly to run for Mayor of San Francisco against incumbent Frank Jordan. He was elected in a landslide and served from 1996 until 2004.

Since leaving office, Brown co-hosted a morning radio show with comedian Will Durst and produced a weekly podcast. Brown, whose dramatic style helped fuel an acting career, first appeared on the big screen as a politician in "The Godfather Part III " in 1990. Brown has also played himself in "George of the Jungle," "The Parent Trap," "The Wedding Planner," "The Princess Diaries," and "Hulk," amongst others.

Brown earned a bachelor's degree in political science from San Francisco State University and a J.D. from Hastings College of the Law. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African-Americans.

This program was recorded live on May 7, 2008.

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