* Born: Aug. 23, 1933, Lake Forest, Ill.
* Residence: Sacramento
* Current position: Governor
* Education: Bachelor's degree with major in English literature, Yale University, 1955; law degree, University of California, Boalt Hall, 1962.
* Career highlights: State Assembly, 1966-71; mayor of San Diego, 1971-1982; U.S. senator, 1983-1991; governor since 1991.
* Family: Married to the former Gayle Graham; sons Todd and Philip Graham.
After more than two decades in public office, Pete Wilson became governor in 1991 and was immediately confronted with a budget crisis that was to mushroom into a $14.3-billion gap between the state's anticipated revenue and spending. Working closely with Democrats in the Legislature, Wilson tried to close the gap with a combination of tax increases, budget cuts and one-time accounting shifts.
But within months after his first budget was enacted, it was clear that the recession that gripped the state's economy was not about to fade, and revenues plummeted again. The ongoing fiscal crisis has colored much of Wilson's first term.
In addition to the worst economic downturn since the Depression, Wilson has weathered the Los Angeles riots, devastating urban wildfires in the Bay Area and Southern California, and earthquakes on the North Coast and in Los Angeles. He has declared states of emergency in 47 of California's 58 counties.
Wilson came into office preaching the benefits of prevention over remedial programs but has, by his own admission, only planted the seeds of the programs he believes are needed to steer California's next generation away from drugs, gangs and crime and into productive lives.
In the last year, Wilson has reached several bipartisan deals with the Legislature meant to improve the state's business climate and overhaul welfare.
The Speech: In His Own Words
We must begin to take back our streets from violent crime . . . reclaim our schools from drugs and gangs . . . begin to create new jobs again.
God knows we've endured more than any people should have to.
We've been shaken by earthquakes, scorched by wildfires, battered by recession and devastated by Washington's defense cuts. But the California spirit has never been broken.
California has the people, we have the power, to make our own destiny. That's what we must do today. . . .
And we've already begun. When I took office four years ago, our state budget was a runaway train headed for a wreck. We turned it around.
We haven't just slowed the growth of government, we actually cut the size of government, nearly $3 billion in the last two years.
We've slashed bureaucracy by cutting 111 state boards and commissions and reducing the number of state employees as a percentage of the population to the lowest level since Ronald Reagan was governor. We've reformed welfare so that it finally pays to work.
And we're again leading the nation in taking back our streets from violent crime. . . . We're making a California that's safe for jobs and safe for families.
When I took office, California had a business climate that was chasing jobs across our border. Years of accumulated rules, regulations and red tape had created a job-killing machine.
So we cut taxes, reformed workers' comp and slashed red tape. And we got results.
Major employers like Intel, Pac Bell, and the Danish toy company Lego have responded by announcing hundreds of millions of dollars in new investments that are creating thousands of new jobs for California.
We've turned California from a job-killer into a job-creator. . . .
Californians still have many other challenges. Even though we've turned the corner in reviving California's economy, we have a long way to go in making it healthy again.
Californians still face tough times. And to get through these tough times, we need more than 10-point plans and catchy slogans. What California needs today is strong and unflinching leadership.
I learned about leadership by example and by experience.
I learned from a grandfather I never knew, because he gave his life as a cop on the streets of Chicago. I learned it from a mother and a father who did the quiet work of raising a family and paying the bills. I learned it serving in the United States Marine Corps and walking the streets of quake-shaken L.A.
The governor of California must be many things--a crisis manager when the earth shakes or the forest burns, a booster for California jobs across the country and around the world, a person of conviction who can stand up for what's right no matter what the consequences or who's opposed.
But today, above all, the governor of California must be a leader who can bring California through tough times. . . . California needs a governor who can fight crime by making the tough call to invoke the death penalty--and do it in good conscience because he believes it to be right.
California needs a governor who can tell Washington that guaranteeing health care, education and welfare for the families of illegal immigrants isn't just wrong. It's making the problem worse. . . .
I ask for your support in this campaign to complete the job we started, this campaign to make California shine again.