Jan Brewer took the oath of office as Governor of Arizona on January 21, 2009, upon the resignation of then-Governor Janet Napolitano, inheriting one of the worst fiscal crises in the country. And, she was again sworn in on January 3, 2011, following a convincing election in her own right, in November, 2010.
She took decisive action to turn the situation around with a keen grasp of state budget issues from her past service in the Legislature, including in Senate leadership. And, this was not the first time she was called upon to turn around a fiscal mess.
As a newly elected member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in 1997, she encountered a local government bogged down so deep in debt that it was using short-term borrowing just to meet cash flow. At the end of Brewer’s tenure in 2002, Maricopa County’s financial turnaround was so dramatic that Governing Magazine proclaimed it as “one of the two best managed large counties in the nation.”
Governor Brewer’s journey into public service has been without fear, because her Minnesota-Norwegian parents, Wilford and Edna Drinkwine, established a firm foundation for her – one cemented in faith in God and love for our country. Believing his country needed him during World War II, Wilford Drinkwine moved his wife and young son halfway across America for a job in the Nevada desert, working at the country’s largest Navy munitions depot. Governor Brewer was born a couple of years later in 1944.
Years of breathing poisonous fumes of harsh chemicals from the depot munitions, precipitated her father’s death when she was 11. Facing the daunting and terrifying challenge of being a widow with two children and not having worked outside the home before, Edna Drinkwine taught her daughter by example how to face life’s challenges – you meet them head-on.
Governor Brewer’s mother took all her savings and opened a franchise dress shop in California and worked 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. Governor Brewer worked right beside her mother, every day after school and on weekends. From her mother, she learned to make hard choices and the value of action – if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. She learned that you’re measured by how you meet challenges – and, you never quit.
Jan Brewer moved to Arizona 40 years ago after marrying Glendale native, John Brewer. She and John raised their three sons in Glendale and have lived in the same house since the mid-1970s. Governor Brewer has seen Arizona grow and prosper — and she knows as the state goes through its economic peaks and valleys, it always emerges stronger.
Governor Brewer has laid a firm foundation for Arizona’s comeback. Commenting in her 2010 State of State address, she said difficult times “are filled with hope and opportunity. We are a young state. Arizona’s best days are still to come if we make the right decisions. They are what the future requires.”