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George Deukmejian

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George_Deukmejian&chld=H_100&junk=junk.png George Deukmejian Mars symbol.svg
George Deukmejian Official Portrait crop.jpg
Official portrait
Birth name Courken George Deukmejian, Jr.
Other names The Duke
Birthplace Menands
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Birth date 6 June 1928
Lived in Long Beach, Sacramento
Resides in Long Beach
Death place Long Beach
Death date 2018/05/08
Death year 2018
Education Siena College, St. John's University
Profession Politician, Lawyer
Positions Governor of California, California Attorney General, California State Assemblyman, California State Senator
Affiliations Republican Party
Languages English
Ethnicities Armenian
Ancestral villages Aintab, Erzerum
Spouses Gloria Saatjian
Children Leslie Gebb, Andrea Pollak, George Deukmejian Jr.

George Deukmejian (born July 6, 1928) is a Republican California politician from the city of Long Beach. He was the 35th Governor of California.

Born in Menands, New York, Deukmejian (pronounced duke-MAY-jee-unn) grew up there as well. He was the son of Armenian immigrants from Iran. He graduated from Siena College in 1949 with a degree in Sociology. He then earned a law degree from Saint John's University, in 1952. From 1953 to 1955, he served as a lawyer in the U.S. Army's Judge Advocate General's Corps.

He moved to California in 1955, where his sister, Mrs. Anna Ashjian, already lived. His sister introduced him to Gloria Saatjian, whose parents were also Armenian immigrants. They married in 1958 and had three children, two daughters, born in 1965 and 1970 and one son, born in 1967.

In California, he first entered private practice, but soon entered politics. He was elected to the California Assembly in 1962, representating Long Beach. In 1966, he moved to the State Senate. By 1969, he was the majority leader in the State Senate. He first ran for Attorney General of California in 1970, finishing fourth in the Republican primary. He won the election for Attorney General in 1978 and served from 1979 to 1983.

In 1982, he was elected to his first term as Governor of California, defeating Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley in the general election. He defeated Bradley again in a 1986 rematch. Deukmejian served as governor from 1983 to 1991. He is generally regarded as a moderate, more conservative than most California Democrats but considerably more liberal than right-wing Republican groups such as the California Republican Assembly.

Deukmejian was considered to be a conservative hard-liner on law and order issues, however; he largely made his career by being tough on crime. When he was in the legislature, he wrote California's capital punishment law. As governor, he orchestrated the removal of three justices of the California Supreme Court in the 1986 election, due to their consistent opposition to the death penalty in any and all circumstances. One of them (the best known) was Rose Bird, the first female Chief Justice of the Court (and the first one to be voted off).

From 1991 to 2000, he was a partner in a Los Angeles law firm. He retired in 2000, but reentered public life by serving on special commissions. He heads a commission to reform the California penal system, serves on a charter-reform commission in his hometown of Long Beach, and is overseeing a revamping of the UCLA Willed Body Program, after a scandal involving the sale of human body parts donated for science.


"Attorneys General don't appoint judges – Governors do."
Deukmejian explaining why he ran for Governor instead of running for a second term as Attorney General

Genocide Letter

October, 2007
Dear Members of Congress,

As you know, S.Res.106 and H.Res.106 are corresponding resolutions that call upon the President to ensure that United States foreign policy reflects proper recognition of the Armenian Genocide as documented in the United States records. The Armenian Genocide was carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923 and resulted in the massacre of 1,500,000 innocent men, women and children. Approximately 500,000 survivors were expelled from their homes, ending a 2,500 year presence in their historic homeland. The Armenian Genocide was the first genocide of the 20th century, and inspired the creation of the word genocide in 1944. In 1948, the United Nations War Crimes Commission invoked the Armenian Genocide as "one of the types of acts which the modern term 'crimes against humanity' is intended to cover." Right now, S.Res.106 and H.Res.106 are supported by more than half of the members in each Chamber of Congress. I thank those Senators and Representatives who have lent their support to this important human rights issue in the face of ongoing denial, and invite those who are still considering this issue to click on the link below to view my short video message, which briefly explains the historical facts of, and the reaffirmation efforts concerning, the Armenian Genocide. Your support and efforts to see that these resolutions are posted for a vote in Congress honors the memories of the 1.5 million people that perished in the Armenian Genocide, and reaffirms the proud history of the United States as a champion of human rights issues throughout the world.

Very truly yours,

George Deukmejian

35th Governor of California

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