LOS ANGELES — Former Governor of California George Deukmejian died on May 8. He was 89.
George Deukmejian, a two-term California governor who was admired by Republicans and Democrats alike for his willingness to cross party boundaries, and who quietly shepherded the state through a period of rapid growth and sustained prosperity, died at his home in Long Beach, Calif.
His death was confirmed by Steve Merksamer, Deukmejian’s former chief of staff.
As governor, Deukmejian appointed more than 1,000 judges, many of whom are still serving in California’s courts.
In the 1982 race for governor, he defeated the mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley, by about 90,000 votes out of nearly eight million cast, a victory so narrow that some news reports prematurely pronounced Bradley the winner.
Deukmejian served two terms, from January 1983 to January 1991. In each of his eight state budgets, education was the state’s highest funding priority. In 1985, the California Legislature considered a bill introducing a human rights and genocide curriculum throughout the California public school system. Both the California State Senate and Assembly passed the bill in September of that year. Governor Deukmejian signed the bill into law on September 28, 1985, and the new curriculum was first printed in 1987.