15-Second Bio: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer

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Arizona Governor Jan Brewer

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While her state has been the butt of jokes and she herself has been the target of harsh criticism – most recently after her decision to ban ethnic studies in schools – back home Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s approval rating is up. The vote of confidence proves that while her policies may be controversial worldwide, a majority of Arizona residents support the Republican governor they did not elect.

Brewer stepped into the governorship from her post as Secretary of State, replacing then-Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, who left to become President Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security. These days, Brewer is as divisive as the bills she signs, but that wasn’t always the case. Though she’s been in politics for over a quarter century, she mostly flew under the radar — until now. Brewer created quite a wave (something of a tsunami, really) on April 23 when she signed the nation’s toughest bill on immigration into law. The measure prompted Congress to reignite the immigration debate and spurred protests nationwide from those who allege the law discriminates against Latinos and promotes racial profiling (for her part, Brewer has said profiling will not be tolerated). Not to be intimidated, a mere 20 days after signing the immigration law, Brewer again created a bit of controversy May 13 when she signed a bill that targets a local school district’s ethnic studies program — hours after human rights experts at the United Nations condemned the measure.

Quick Facts:

— Born Janice Kay Drinkwine on September 26, 1944 in Hollywood, California. She was raised mostly in Southern California by a single mother.

— She and her husband, John Brewer, a chiropractor, have lived in the Phoenix-area since the early 1970s. The couple had three sons, one of whom died in 2007.

— Brewer has been in politics for the last 27 years. She has been elected to both houses of the Arizona State Legislature, served as Maricopa County Supervisor and was Secretary of State for seven years before becoming governor.

— Became the 22nd governor of Arizona (and the fifth Secretary of State to succeed to Governor mid-term) when she took the oath of office on January 21, 2009.

— She is running for a full term in the Arizona gubernatorial race this fall.

Quote By:

“Rest assured, we will not back down until our borders are secure.”
— Saying she has come under fire from President Obama, Al Sharpton and liberal East Coast media since she signed the state’s new immigration law (Facebook, April 28, 2010)

Quote About:

“The law signed by Brewer of Arizona is just like the German Nazi laws that make Jews scared to go out on the streets. We have to smash their business agreements in the nose. We have to declare war on Arizona.
— Ricardo Rocha, journalist and TV presenter, said of the immigration law (TIME, April 28, 2010)

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