WHEREAS, Assemblyman Willie B. Brown was a leader in public life in the State of New Jersey, having dedicated the majority of his career to serving the common good, and New Jersey is a better place today because of that service; and
WHEREAS, Assemblyman Brown was born in Pendleton, South Carolina, raised on a farm, graduated from high school, and enrolled in South Carolina State University; and
WHEREAS, Assemblyman Brown became an adopted son of New Jersey, moving to Newark while he was in college, attending Bloomfield College, and spending virtually the entire remainder of his life in this State; and
WHEREAS, following his undergraduate studies, he soon embarked on his lifelong mission of working for the people of the State of New Jersey, initially serving as a district leader and then, winning election to the Assembly in 1973, at age 33, representing Essex County; and
WHEREAS, Assemblyman Brown won re-election to the Assembly eleven consecutive times, serving for a total of 24 years; and
WHEREAS, he was the driving force and lead sponsor of legislation requiring that New Jersey’s pension fund divest itself of securities in firms doing business in South Africa, making New Jersey the first state in the country to divest from South Africa because of its apartheid regime; and
WHEREAS, Governor Thomas Kean signed the divestment bill and was subsequently informed by leaders in South Africa that the divestiture movement made a real difference and that it was the first time apartheid leaders understood that their policies were going to have a serious impact in the United States; and
WHEREAS, while in the Legislature, Assemblyman Brown was a passionate advocate for the less fortunate among us; and
WHEREAS, the Assemblyman held numerous leadership positions in the Assembly including minority leader, deputy speaker, and majority whip; and
WHEREAS, following his service in elective office, he also was chief of staff to prominent officials in Essex County, including the County Executive; and
WHEREAS, Assemblyman Brown was a tenacious legislator and effective legislative leader, yet possessed the wisdom and strength of character that allowed him to form friendships across partisan lines, with allies and with adversaries, amidst the often challenging political culture, and accordingly is remembered as a warm and good-natured man as well as a fighter; and
WHEREAS, the Assemblyman’s passion for public service and for caring for his fellow human beings have inspired many, including many of his family, to enter public service, and
WHEREAS, it is with deep sadness that we mourn the loss of Assemblyman Brown and extend our sincere sympathy to his family and friends; and
WHEREAS, it is fitting and appropriate to honor the memory and the passing of Assemblyman Brown;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JON S. CORZINE, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:
- The flag of the United States of America and the flag of the State of New Jersey shall be flown at half-staff at all State departments, offices, agencies and instrumentalities during appropriate hours on Thursday, January 15, 2009, in recognition and mourning of the passing of Assemblyman Willie B. Brown.
- This Order shall take effect immediately.
GIVEN, under my hand and seal this 13th day of
Two Thousand and Nine, and of the
Independence of the United States, the Two Hundred and Thirty-third.
/s/ Jon S. Corzine
/s/ William J. Castner, Jr.
Chief Counsel to the Governor