|Birthname||Courken George Deukmejian, Jr.|
|born on||6 June 1928 at 21:52 (= 9:52 PM )|
|Place||Albany, New York, 42n39, 73w45|
|Timezone||EDT h4w (is daylight saving time)|
|Astrology data||16°04' 25°56 Asc. 05°34'|
American attorney and politician, a conservative Republican who took office as Governor of California on 3 January 1983 and was re-elected in 1987. A dedicated public servant, George Deukmejian served 16 years in the California State Legislature as well as four years as California's Attorney General and as the Governor from 1983 to 1991. Deukmejian was the first and so far the only governor of a U.S. state of Armenian descent.
Courken George Deukmejian, Jr. was born to Armenian parents who had fled Turkish persecution. He was raised in a large apartment in Menands, New York. His dad was an Oriental rug merchant and his mom a homemaker. He grew up in a typical Armenian immigrant household where he learned basic values and the importance of hard work.
Early in life Deukmejian dropped the ancient Armenian name of Courken, but did not let go of the values he had internalized. In high school, he wrapped meat for a butcher and made clothes hangers. While at Sienna College, a small school in Loudonville, New York, he held a variety of jobs including driving a truck, dispatching fire engines and making ice cream. At Sienna, he managed the basketball team and picked up the nickname "Duke," which remains with him. He earned a B.A. degree from Sienna College in 1949. Then he enrolled at St. John’s University school of law in Brooklyn, New York, again working his way through school. He graduated with his legal degree in 1952.
From 1953-55 he did a stint in the U.S. Army where he worked in the Judge Advocate General’s office in Paris. After returning home, he decided that California offered greater opportunities than New York, and drove cross-country to California in 1955. He settled in Long Beach and practiced law there. Active in the local businessmen’s association, he was soon elected its president. In 1959 he was chosen Long Beach "Man of the Year," an honor which may have inspired his decision to study practical politics at the Chamber of Commerce.
In June 1962 Deukmejian won the Republican party primary for state assemblyman from Long Beach. He won the general election by about 10,000 votes and proceeded to make anticrime legislation his top concern. He was the key figure in passing the California statute mandating a prison term for persons using a handgun in the commission of a crime. He wrote the Career Criminal Act, which lengthened sentences for repeat offenders and wrote legislation for stronger punishment for rape. After a 1976 Supreme Court ruling struck down California’s death penalty statute, he wrote a new capital punishment law. This measure withstood constitutional scrutiny and passed in 1977 over the veto of Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
In 1970, Deukmejian entered the GOP primary contest for attorney general, but finished in fourth place. In 1978, he succeeded in defeating black Congresswoman Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, a liberal Democrat. As attorney general, he headed the California Department of Justice, one of the state’s largest departments with its more than 500 lawyers. His "hands-on" approach led him to keep close tabs on his department’s attorneys. His focus on crime fighting continued with the establishment of a Special Prosecutions Unit to combat organized crime, narcotics trafficking and antisocial motorcycle gangs. Deukmejian also pushed anti-crime bills through the legislature.
Soon after taking office, Deukmejian reduced the scope of activity of the Justice Department’s environmental unit. However, he did file two major hazardous waste disposal suits. He continued his stance against the collective bargaining rights for state employees. Somewhat mollifying California’s liberals, he significantly increased the number of blacks and women employed by the Justice Department during a time when the total number of the department’s employees was declining.
By the end of 1981 "the Duke" announced his candidacy for governor of California, running against Tom Bradley, the black Democratic mayor of Los Angeles. Again stressing his tough anti-crime record, he won the election by a narrow 52,000-vote margin out of 7,400,000 votes.
In his inaugural address on 3 January 1983 Deukmejian called for a "Common Sense Society." He promised to appoint judges more concerned with victims’ rights, condemned government regulations that had "choked off growth and progress," and pledged to appoint officials who would "help rather than hinder those who produce job opportunities." He immediately faced a fiscal crisis of a projected $1.5 billion deficit in the $22 billion budget for 1982-83. Determined not to raise taxes, he vowed to make spending cuts instead. He succeeded in passing legislature that decreased spending and rolled- over half of the fiscal year’s deficit into the next fiscal year. The 1983-84 budget reflected his conservative priorities with proposed increases in expenditures for law enforcement and public education, while cutting spending on social and environmental programs.
Deukmejian stood in strong contrast to his predecessor, Governor Edmund G. Brown, in both policy and lifestyle. Deukmejian is a staid and dedicated family man. Married to Gloria Saatjian, also the child of Armenian immigrants, since 1957, the couple have three children: Leslie, 20, George,18 and Andrea, 15 (1985). Gloria Deukmejian is more comfortable with the traditional roles "such as family, three teen-agers…dogs (three beagles), neighbors, organizations…PTA…" The slender, soft-spoken George Deukmejian is reported to have tastes no more exotic than a love of ice cream and golf. He prefers to relax by reading a book or taking a dip in his pool.
His two terms as Governor of California ended in 1991. He was honored by the Armenian Assembly as their master of ceremonies for the 25th Anniversary National Tribute Gala on 6 September 1997.
Deukmejian died at his home in Long Beach on 8 May 2018 at the age of 89.
- Relationship : Marriage 1957 (Lasting marriage)
B.C. in hand, LMR
- Family : Relationship : Marriage more than 15 Yrs (From 1957)
- Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (One, lasting)
- Family : Parenting : Kids 1-3 (Three)
- Personal : Death : Long life more than 80 yrs (Age 89)
- Vocation : Law : Attorney
- Vocation : Military : Military service (1953-55)
- Vocation : Politics : Public office
- Notable : Book Collection : Occult/ Misc. Collection