When President Barack Obama asked Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano to step in as Secretary of Homeland Security, Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer was appointed to run The Grand Canyon State, becoming Arizona's fourth female governor.
Jan Brewer was born in 1944 in Hollywood, California and holds a degree in radiology from California Community College. She is married to John Brewer, who is a chiropractor. They have three sons, one of whom died in 2007, and Brewer accredits her political career to her interest in her sons' education. When she took office, Brewer told the Arizona Star that even though she has big plans for the state, she hopes she can maintain her normal daily life including her Saturday trips to Costco, putting her favorite meals in the crockpot before heading out to work in the morning, "getting in the dirt" of her garden, and enjoying her daily Coke Zero. She claims that staying in touch with the people she serves is key to successful governing:
"They do the same thing every day that you do. They face the same problems with their children. They face the same things with education and paying to send them to college. And you bring that with you, and you feel like you're their voice."
Brewer moved to Arizona in 1970 and has since spent 26 years serving the people of the state. She was supervisor of Maricopa County, a member of both houses of Arizona legislature, and was serving her second term as the state's Secretary of State when she stepped in as Governor in January. As Secretary of State, Brewer worked to help taxpayers keep more of their money and make the election process more accessible. She consolidated assignments, eliminated staff overtime, and had the state legislature update laws to rid the state of unnecessary expenditure and to help address the state budget deficit. She also compiled the Help America Vote Act State Plan which eliminated punch card voting systems, created centralized and uniform voter registration system and put touch-screen voting devices for disabled voters in each precinct. She also introduced and passed legislation that allowed men and women in the military to register and vote via fax or internet, which allowed hundreds of Arizona's military members to vote in the 2008 elections.
As Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, Brewer turned the county around from being deep in debt to becoming one of the most fiscally sound counties in the United States. Brewer also worked to secure better salaries for sheriff's deputies, secure thousands of acres of land away from development and into county parks, and improved the Maricopa Medical Center Burn unit which today is one of the best health care facilities in the nation. As a member of the Arizona State legislature, Brewer served as the Majority Whip for three years, leading the way in reform that continues to help millions of Arizonans with tax relief, budget reform, truth in sentencing, open enrollment, school report cards, charter schools, clean air and water, and state trust land preservation. She also created the first Living Will statue in the nation.
In addition, Brewer has many other accomplishments and professional and community affiliations. She has served on the Governor's Military Task Force, as vice-chairman of the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, vice-chairman of WESTMARC, which focuses on economic development and growth issues, as Chairman of the Board of Directors for RIAZ, Inc. (Recovery Innovations of Arizona), and as Co-Chairman of the Continuum of Care organization dealing with homeless issues. She is also a charter member of Luke Fighter County Partnership which is dedicated to preserving the missions of Luke Air Force Base. She is also a member of Hope and a Future, Child Help USA, Arizonans for Children, the Arrowhead Republican Women's Club, the Maricopa County SMI Commission, the Arizona Rifle and Pistol Association, the Japanese-American Citizens League, and the Life in Christ Lutheran Church in Peoria.