Former gov talks persistence, success

first_imgFormer California Gov. George Deukmejian spoke to students and faculty on Monday about the importance of perseverance in the face of failure.Persistent politician · Former California Gov. George Deukmejian talked to students on Monday about how perseverance leads to success. – Ralf Cheung | Daily TrojanDuring his speech, titled “If I Could Do It, You Can Do It,” Deukmejian recounted to a crowd in the Social Sciences Building about  how the support of his family attributed to his successes.“I don’t have very much to tell you about myself that is extraordinary or different,” Deukmejian said. “I was very fortunate to have wonderful support from my parents.”Deukmejian described his journey from a New York State town with 1,700 residents to his time in law school, where Deukmejian was approached by a sergeant who presented a life-changing opportunity to him: the sergeant asked him for legal help.“I went to this sergeant who I had helped and asked if I could get my Military Occupational Specialties number and change my classification from an infantryman because of my law degree,” Deukmejian said.Because of this interaction, Deukmejian did not have to fight in the military and continued with his political career. After moving to Long Beach in the 1950s, he became friends with a State Assemblyman William Grant through a Republican Party club. Deukmejian then volunteered to aid his campaign for reelection. When Grant retired, Deukmejian then ran for his seat and won. Deukmejian decided to run for attorney general. However, his bid was unsuccessful.“I came in dead last among four candidates,” Deukmejian said. “But I still kept my seat in the State Senate, and ran again in 1978.”Deukmejian won his race in 1978 and worked under then- (and current) Gov. Jerry Brown. When Brown vacated the governorship to make a bid to become one of California’s national senators from California, Deukmejian put his name on the primary ballot and won.Deukmejian said he his proudest achievement was working with both sides of the aisle.“I used the power of veto 4,000 times,” Deukmejian said. “I was the only Republican to hold a constitutionally mandated state office at the time — every other office was controlled by Democrats. They had the majority in both houses of the state assembly.”Janet Shamilian, a senior majoring in political science, said it was not only Deukmejian’s successes that were inspiring, but his response to initial failure.“I really like that he elaborated on both his successes and his unsuccessful campaigns,” Shamilian said. “It is always motivating to see someone who was unsuccessful the first time around.”Arteen Mnayan, a senior majoring in political science, said Deukmejian is also a role model, especially for those also of Armenian heritage.“Armenians have Deukmejian to look up to,” Mnayan said.  “It’s inspiring and it allows us to accomplish things we never thought we would.”Deukmejian concluded the event by urging students to take an active part in civic engagement.“I urge you to continue to work hard, to strive to do your best,” Deukmejian said. “Whatever you choose to do, you can always still have an interest in pubic life. You don’t necessarily have to be an elected person. You can vote.”last_img read more