In a rare appearance marking his former identity as governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger is returning to Sacramento on Monday for two reasons: to join Governor Jerry Brown to champion the state’s efforts addressing climate change, and to celebrate the unveiling of his portrait in the capitol rotunda, according to the Associated Press.
Schwarzenegger has generally eschewed public appearances revolving around his reign as governor since he left office in 2011 when he returnined to his acting career. When he has made appearances, they have been to support renewable energy.
As governor, Schwarzenegger pushed hard for AB32, California’s 2006 global-warming law, which opened the door for the state to adopt a cap-and-trade system that limited greenhouse gas emissions.
Brown and Schwarzenegger will appear together at a symposium cheering the state’s climate change policies and to head off critics before the United Nations holds its climate-change conferences in Lima, Peru and Paris.
The event, to be held at a 250-seat auditorium at the California Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters, is scheduled to feature supporters from across the spectrum, from research experts to businesses executives from Apple Inc. and UPS Inc. and including actor Ed Begley Jr.
Panels at the event are expected to slam dependence on fossil fuels, using the recent lengthening of California’s wildfire season as fodder for their arguments.
After the symposium, Schwarzenegger will attend a ceremony in the Capitol rotunda where they will unveil his portrait. The painting will ultimately hang net to the portrait of Democratic predecessor Gray Davis–whom Schwarzenegger replaced after Davis was recalled–in the third floor of the building.
When Schwarzenegger left office, the state was left with a massive budget deficit. Brown has raised taxes in order to counter that situation, claiming he is balancing the budget, though that claim is dubious.
Schwarzenegger had problems as governor. He attempted to restructure the government with his California Performance Review, which projected savings of $32 billion over five years, but gave up when Democrats opposed him. He called legislators “girlie men” when they wouldn’t stand up to special interests so the state could move forward. He told his own GOP that it was “dying at the box office.”
He barely reformed the boards and commissions he criticized, while giving termed-out six-figure jobs on obscure boards, and promised to whittle down the size of government but used borrowing and accounting tricks to claim he had done so.
The first year he was in office, Schwarzenegger asked for $15 billion to refinance the state’s deficit, later asking for $37 billion to address problems with roads, schools, levee repairs and affordable housing projects. He ultimately named a Democrat as his chief of staff and claimed, “Post-partisanship is Republicans and Democrats actively giving birth to new ideas together,” in his 2007 inauguration speech.
After leaving office, Schwarzenegger was found to have had an affair with his maid that produced a son, which wrecked his marriage to Maria Shriver.
Schwarzenegger has returned to the movies, lately appearing in The Expendables 3 and an upcoming Terminator.