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At 90, Willie Brown Reflects on His Rise to Top of California Politics

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Willie Brown talks with KQED Political Breakdown hosts Marisa Lagos and Scott Shafer in his offices in San Francisco on April 2, 2024. (Martin do Nascimento/KQED)

The name Willie Brown is synonymous with power politics in California. He became the first Black speaker of the state Assembly in 1980 and held the job for a record 14 years, often with help from Republicans. After term limits forced him to leave the Legislature, he ran for mayor of San Francisco, serving eight years in that job.

Scott and Marisa sit down with Brown in his San Francisco office to discuss his path from segregated Mineola, Texas, to the height of power in California.


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