Jan Brewer

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Jan Brewer
Jan Brewer by Gage Skidmore 3.jpg
22nd Governor of Arizona
In office
January 21, 2009 – January 5, 2015
Preceded by Janet Napolitano
Succeeded by Doug Ducey
18th Secretary of State of Arizona
In office
January 6, 2003 – January 21, 2009
Governor Janet Napolitano
Preceded by Betsey Bayless
Succeeded by Ken Bennett
Member of the Board of Supervisors of Maricopa County
In office
January 3, 1997 – January 6, 2003
Preceded by Ed King
Succeeded by Max Wilson
Member of the Arizona Senate
from the 19th district
In office
January 6, 1987 – January 3, 1997
Preceded by William Davis
Succeeded by Scott Bundgaard
Member of the Arizona House of Representatives
from the 19th district
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 6, 1987
Preceded by Jane Dee Hull
Succeeded by Don Kenney
Personal details
Born Janice Kay Drinkwine
(1944-09-26) September 26, 1944 (age 70)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) John Brewer
Alma mater Glendale Community College, Arizona
Religion Lutheranism[1]
Website Official website

Janice Kay "Jan" Brewer (née Drinkwine; born September 26, 1944)[2] was the 22nd Governor of the U.S. state of Arizona, from 2009 to 2015. A member of the Republican Party, Brewer is the fourth woman, and third consecutive woman, to serve as Governor of Arizona. Brewer previously served as Secretary of State of Arizona from January 2003 to January 2009, when Governor Janet Napolitano resigned after being selected as Secretary of Homeland Security. Brewer became Governor of Arizona as part of the line of succession, as determined by the Arizona Constitution.

Born in California, Brewer attended Glendale Community College (Arizona) where she received a radiological technologist certificate. She has never earned a college degree. She has served as a State Senator and State Representative for Arizona from 1983 to 1996. Brewer also served as Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors before running for Arizona Secretary of State in 2002.

Brewer came into the national spotlight when, on April 23, 2010, when she signed the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act. The act makes it a state misdemeanor crime for an immigrant to be in Arizona without carrying registration documents required by federal law, authorizes state and local law enforcement of federal immigration laws, and cracks down on those sheltering, hiring and transporting illegal aliens.[3] Brewer sought a full term as Governor of Arizona in the 2010 Arizona gubernatorial election, and was elected on November 2, 2010, winning with 55% of the vote over Democrat Terry Goddard's 42%.

Early life[edit]

Brewer was born Janice Kay Drinkwine on September 26, 1944, in Hollywood, California, the daughter of Edna C. (née Bakken) and Perry Wilford Drinkwine, then a civilian supervisor at the Hawthorne Army Depot in Hawthorne, Nevada.[1][4] Brewer is of English and Norwegian descent.[1][5] Her maternal grandfather, Emil Theodore Bakken, was from Norway, and her maternal grandmother, Carrie Nelson, was from Minnesota and the daughter of Norwegian immigrants.[5] Meanwhile, her paternal grandmother, Sarah Rosina Ford (original surname Wilford), was an Englishwoman from Buckinghamshire.[5]

Brewer and her older brother, Paul, lived solely in Hawthorne until she was ten years old, when the family moved to California, seeking "dry desert air and clean ocean breezes".[1] Her father died of lung disease when she was eleven years old, having been ravaged by the constant exposure to chemicals while at the depot. She graduated from Verdugo Hills High School in 1962.[6]

She married John Leon Brewer in Nevada, and worked briefly in Glendale, California, before moving to her husband's hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, in 1970. The couple later relocated to Glendale, Arizona, where John became a successful chiropractor, in addition to finding some real estate success. They settled in the Deer Valley section of Phoenix. The couple have three children.[1]

Political career[edit]

State legislature[edit]

Going on to become interested in her children's education, Brewer began attending school board meetings in 1981, and quickly became "unimpressed" by the board's performance.[1] Intending to run for a seat on the board, Brewer soon saw an opening in her local legislative district, and decided to run for State Representative. Brewer would go on to serve in the Arizona House of Representatives for three years, from 1983 to 1987, before deciding to run for the Arizona Senate, where she would serve from 1987 to 1996. As State Senator, Brewer sought legislation with the intention of creating an office of Lieutenant Governor in the state, arguing that holding the office of Secretary of State does not make a candidate qualified for Governor, and that the office should be filled by a member of the same party, should a vacancy arise.[1] During her last three years as a State Senator, she held the senior leadership position of majority whip.[1]

In 1996 Brewer ran for chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, defeating incumbent Ed King, and served for six years on the board. She inherited a debt of $165 million, and by the end of Brewer's tenure in 2002, she left Maricopa County in one of the strongest financial positions of any county in the nation.[1] Governing Magazine proclaimed the County as "one of the two best managed large counties in the nation".[7]

Secretary of State of Arizona[edit]

In early 2002, Brewer created a campaign committee to run for the office of Secretary of State of Arizona, to replace outgoing Arizona Secretary of State Betsey Bayless. Brewer faced a tough primary race against Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who attempted to highlight her tenure as a county supervisor by accusing her of raising taxes after the county had reported an increase in revenue.[1] Brewer responded to the criticism by proclaiming that she had voted to lower the tax rate and that the county had collected more revenue because of an increase in property valuations. Brewer ultimately won the primary race against DiCiccio. In the general election, she faced Democratic State Senator Chris Cummiskey and Libertarian candidate Sean Nottingham. During the campaign, she fought on a largely conservative, pro-life rights platform, winning by a narrow margin of just 23,000 votes.[1]

As Secretary of State, Brewer instituted a vote-by-fax program for overseas military troops, which would later be adopted by other municipalities, including San Francisco. Brewer also helped marshal changes brought about by Arizona Proposition 200, which required citizens in the state to show proof of citizenship before registering to vote or applying for public benefits.[1]

Governor of Arizona[edit]

Governor Janet Napolitano was selected by President Barack Obama to serve as the Secretary of Homeland Security in the United States Cabinet. Since Arizona has no lieutenant governor, the Secretary of State stands first in the line of succession if he or she holds that post as a result of an election. Despite her earlier quarrels with the line of succession while serving in the State Senate, Brewer was sworn in as governor after Napolitano resigned from her position on January 21, 2009. She is Arizona's fourth female governor and its third consecutive female governor.[1]

In her inaugural address, Brewer promised to keep taxes low in Arizona, in an attempt to attract business from other states, including California. Fewer than two months into her term, however, Brewer proposed a tax increase in front of the State Legislature, prompting Republican state Sen. Ron Gould to walk out of the address mid-speech.[8] Attempting to rationalize the tax increase, Brewer stated that she was ultimately forced to ask for the increase due to the state's $4 billion state budget deficit.[1]

Governor Jan Brewer meeting with President Barack Obama in June 2010.

On April 23, 2010, Brewer signed the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, otherwise known as Arizona SB1070, into law, making it "a state crime for illegal immigrants to not have an alien registration document", and requiring police "to question people about their immigration status if there is reason". It also makes it illegal for people to hire illegal immigrants for day labor or to knowingly transport them. In addition, it provides provisions to allow citizens to file lawsuits against government agencies that hinder enforcement of immigration laws.[9] A follow-on bill, said to address certain "racial profiling" issues with the original bill, was passed by the Arizona legislature just before ending their 2010 session, and was signed by Brewer on April 30, 2010.[10] Signing of the bill has led to massive demonstrations in Arizona, Washington, D.C. and many other cities across the United States, both for and against the legislation.[11]

On June 3, 2010, Brewer met with President Barack Obama to discuss immigration along Mexico's border with Arizona, and how the federal government could work together with state officials to combat violence there. Brewer remarked after the meeting, "I am encouraged that there is going to be much better dialogue between the federal government and the state of Arizona now."[12] According to press reports, about 1200 national guard troops will be stationed along the border, in a layout still to be determined.[13]

On August 24, 2010, Brewer won the Republican primary, to face Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard in the general election.[14] Brewer was elected in her own right on November 2, 2010, to the office of Governor in the state's 2010 gubernatorial election, earning 55% of the states votes over Democrat Terry Goddard with 42%. This was not unexpected, as polling conducted after Brewer's signing of Arizona SB1070 had shown her as an early favorite in the general election, and she was sworn in for a full term on January 3, 2011, on the State Capitol grounds in Phoenix.[15]

As a result of a ballot measure approved by the voters in 2000, redistricting in Arizona is entrusted to a five-member panel with an independent chair. In 2011, Republicans wanted more favorable lines than those drawn by the commission, and Brewer sent a letter purporting to remove Colleen Mathis, the independent chair, from office. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that Brewer's action was illegal and it reinstated Mathis.[16]

In 2013, the left leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) rated Brewer as one of "The Worst Governors in America".[17] However, in August 2013 conservative Newsmax magazine named Brewer among the "25 most influential women in the GOP".[18]

Brewer speaking to the 2012 Republican state convention in Phoenix, Arizona.

Brewer was not be able to run for a second full four-year term in 2014. The Arizona Constitution limits the governor to two consecutive terms, regardless of whether they serve full or partial terms. However, former governors are allowed to seek additional nonconsecutive terms after a four-year respite. In November 2012, Brewer declared she was looking into what she called "ambiguity" in Arizona's term-limit law to seek a third term.[19] In February 2014, Brewer reiterated that she was considering running for re-election,[20] but on March 12, 2014, she announced that she would not attempt to seek another term in office, which would have required what The Arizona Republic called a "long-shot court challenge".[21]

On February 26, 2014, Governor Brewer vetoed Arizona SB 1062, a bill allowing business owners to refuse services to homosexuals that was passed by the state legislature.[22][23]

Political views[edit]


As of 2010 she has advocated a raise in Arizona's sales tax from 5.6% to 6.6%. The proposal is intended to raise 1 billion dollars a year in order to reduce the $3 billion/year deficit.[24]

Gun rights[edit]

In July 2009, Jan Brewer signed SB 1113, which entitles people in Arizona to carry concealed guns in bars or restaurants as long as they do not consume alcohol, and the business has not specifically posted a sign in accordance with Arizona law that guns are not to be permitted on the premises.[25] Brewer also signed SB 1168, a measure that bans property owners from prohibiting the storage of firearms in locked vehicles parked on their lots.[26] She signed SB 1243, which allows a person who is threatened to announce they are armed, or display or place their hand on their firearm before the use of deadly force.[27] In April 2010, Brewer signed SB 1108, which removes the licensure requirement for law-abiding citizens who choose to carry a concealed firearm in the state of Arizona—the third state in the union with such a law after Vermont and Alaska. Brewer is a member and supporter of the National Rifle Association, as well as the Arizona Rifle and Pistol Association.[28] On April 18, 2011, Governor Jan Brewer vetoed two bills, one setting a mandate that anyone running for President must have proof of U.S. citizenship, and the other allowing guns on college campuses.[29]


In the face of a mounting budget crisis in Arizona, Brewer signed the 2011 legislative budget, which eliminates the Arizona variant of the State Children's Health Insurance Program program, known as KidsCare, that provides health insurance to uninsured children[30] whose families' income exceeds the Medicaid cutoff.[31] According to the FY 2011 budget, enrollment caps will also be put into place for Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), thereby limiting access to the program. Brewer, at a press conference, said the state had no choice but to eliminate the free health care programs saying, "We do not have the money [...] We are broke."[32]

In 2011, Brewer stopped Medicaid funding for organ transplants to save $1.4 million; 98 patients were waiting for transplants.[33] After criticism, the funding was restored.

Brewer called a special session of the Arizona Legislature to join in the class-action lawsuit by 21 state Attorneys General to challenge the constitutionality of that part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which establishes a federal individual mandate to purchase health insurance.[34][35] The mandate was considered by legislators and insurers [36] as a quid pro quo for the inclusion in the legislation of popular changes that will prevent insurers from pre-screening applicants and/or applying higher premiums and coverage caps on people with pre-existing conditions and/or rescinding policies once a patient becomes seriously ill.[citation needed]

In 2013 Brewer defended her support for Obamacare, and called it a "moral issue".[37]

Immigration, border security, law and order and "headless bodies"[edit]

Brewer believes in strict enforcement of border security, with absolutely no amnesty for illegal immigrants entering the United States.[citation needed] In addition to signing Arizona SB 1070, she has prohibited state and local governments from giving any public benefits to illegal aliens, in addition to making it a misdemeanor for a state or local government official to fail to report immigration law violations discovered while administering a public benefit or service. Brewer has also supported efforts to re-deploy the Arizona National Guard along the southern Arizona border, in an attempt to provide increased border security.[citation needed]

On May 2, 2011, Gov. Brewer signed into law a bill authorizing the construction of a border fence between Arizona and Mexico.

The bill, SB 1406, permits Arizona to work with other border states in constructing a privately funded border fence, hailed as a major step in enforcing national security.

"The federal government has put states like Arizona on the back burner for far too long, making flawed claims that the border has never been more secure," said Sen. Steve Smith, sponsor of SB 1406. "For proof that a well-built fence really works, all you need to do is look at the progress in Yuma County."

On June 27, 2010, Brewer appeared on "Sunday Square Off", which broadcasts on KPNX-TV. While speaking on the subject of crime related to illegal immigration, she was quoted as saying that "law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded," a claim that has been disputed.[38][39][40] Brewer later indicated she "misspoke".[41]

On July 11, 2010, Jan Brewer announced that $10 million given to her state by the federal government, most of which was intended to go to education, would instead go to enforcing border security.[42]

On April 3, 2012, Gov. Brewer signed HB 2349 into law. The bill protects federal funding for tens of thousands of students at Arizona's public universities. The legislation received overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers of the Arizona Legislature. Federal law requires school campuses to be drug-free in order to be eligible for federal funding or student financial aid. The federal government makes no exceptions for medically prescribed usage of marijuana approved by State voters. The legislation applies the same drug-free campus protections to all community colleges, high schools, junior high schools, middle schools and preschools throughout Arizona. House Bill 2349 was approved 52-2 by the House and 28-2 by the Senate.

Same-sex marriage and domestic partnership[edit]

Brewer supported Arizona Proposition 107, which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman.[43] This 2006 referendum, which would have prevented both same-sex marriage and civil unions in the state, did not pass - the first time U.S. voters rejected an attempt to ban same-sex marriage. However, in 2008, another proposition that banned same sex marriage (but not civil unions) passed.

Jan Brewer signed a law repealing legislation put into place by former governor Janet Napolitano, which had granted domestic partners of state employees the ability to be considered as "dependents", similar to the way married spouses are handled.[44]

According to an editorial in the Arizona Daily Star on October 13, 2009, the Department of Administration in Arizona "stated that about 800 state employees are affected and that the cost to insure domestic partners is about $3 million of the $625 million the state spends on benefits".[45] However, the state was giving those employees another year of coverage, due to legal necessity: "A legal review determined existing contracts with state employees will be honored."[45]

A federal lawsuit, Diaz v. Brewer, formerly Collins v. Brewer, challenging Brewer's action is being heard in federal court. The plaintiffs, represented by Lambda Legal, a LGBT rights advocacy group, asked for summary judgment based on due process and equal protection claims. On July 23, 2010, U.S. District Judge John W. Sedwick denied the due process claim, but based on the equal protection claim he issued a temporary injunction blocking enforcement of the law pending a trial.[46] Brewer said the state would appeal the decision.[47]


Brewer is the author of Scorpions for Breakfast: My Fight Against Special Interests, Liberal Media, and Cynical Politicos to Secure America's Border, published November 2011 by Broadside Books.[48]


Brewer's signing of Arizona SB 1070 and her position of Governor made her the recipient of much of the bill's criticism. In response to the various personal attacks launched against her, many of which called her a Nazi, she responded: "Knowing that my father died fighting the Nazi regime in Germany, that I lost him when I was 11 because of that... and then to have them call me Hitler's daughter. It hurts. It's ugliness beyond anything I've ever experienced." Brewer's father died in 1955 (ten years after World War II ended) from lung cancer, believed to be caused from constant exposure to chemicals while working as a civilian supervisor at the Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada making munitions used by allied forces. Critics stated that her use of the term "died fighting" was misleading, although her spokesman remarked that she did not view it as an improper statement.[49]

Brewer at a book signing in Phoenix, Arizona on November 5, 2011.

After Brewer's statement that "Our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded," a Fox News team investigated the claim. They concluded that in the last two years only one human skull had been found, and that had been the result of animals. Six medical examiners in Arizona from Yuma, Pima, Santa Cruz, Cochise, Pinal and Maricopa confirmed that they had no records of decapitated bodies.[38][39] Brewer later retracted her previous statement, saying, "That was an error, if I said that. I misspoke, but you know, let me be clear, I am concerned about the border region because it continues to be reported in Mexico that there's a lot of violence going on and we don't want that going into Arizona."[50]

The Brewer administration has also been investigated for questionable activities by KPHO for hiring Chuck Coughlin and Paul Senseman, both lobbyists for Corrections Corporation of America, as a policy advisor to her campaign and communications director in her administration.[51] Both Coughlin and Senseman no longer work for CCA. CCA operates six private, for-profit prisons in Arizona.[52] After KPHO published its investigative report, Brewer's re-election campaign retaliated by pulling all campaign ads from KPHO.[51]

On August 15, 2012, the same day that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began accepting applications under the Obama administration's new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Governor Brewer issued an executive order preventing the state of Arizona from issuing driver's licenses and public benefits to young illegal immigrants who receive deferred status and work authorization under the new program. In addition to driving privileges, Governor Brewer's order bars illegal immigrants who qualify for deferred action from receiving state-subsidized child care, health insurance, unemployment benefits, business and professional licenses, and government contracts.[53] Thousands of individuals submitted applications for the new program.[54][55]

Personal life[edit]

Brewer attended Glendale Community College in Glendale, Arizona,[56] where she received a radiological technologist certificate.[57]

Brewer and her husband have had three sons, one of whom died of cancer in 2007.[58] Another son was declared not guilty by reason of insanity for the rape of a Phoenix woman in 1989; he has been a psychiatric patient for 25 years in the Arizona State Hospital.[59]


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  59. ^ "Brewer: Son's mental ills give her perspective". Arizona Daily Star. 2010-09-15. Retrieved 2010-10-13. 

External links[edit]

Arizona House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jane Dee Hull
Member of the Arizona House of Representatives
from the 19th district

Succeeded by
Don Kenney
Arizona Senate
Preceded by
William Davis
Member of the Arizona Senate
from the 19th district

Succeeded by
Scott Bundgaard
Political offices
Preceded by
Ed King
Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Maricopa County
Succeeded by
Max Wilson
Preceded by
Betsey Bayless
Secretary of State of Arizona
Succeeded by
Ken Bennett
Preceded by
Janet Napolitano
Governor of Arizona
Succeeded by
Doug Ducey
Party political offices
Preceded by
Len Munsil
Republican nominee for Governor of Arizona
Succeeded by
Doug Ducey