The Honorable Willie Brown, Jr. Receives Prestigious League of California Cities Lifetime Achievement Award

Sep 22, 2021


Contact: Jill Oviatt
Cell: (916) 882-8656,

Sacramento — The League of California Cities Past Presidents Council today announced the selection of the Honorable Willie L. Brown, Jr. as the recipient of the 2021 Past Presidents’ Lifetime Achievement Award.

Widely regarded as the most influential African American politician of the late century, Brown has been at the center of California politics, government, and civic life for four decades. His successful tenure in public office includes serving two terms as mayor of San Francisco and 30 years in the California State Assembly, where he was the longest-serving Speaker in the state’s history. He also served on the board of trustees for the California State University system, as a regent for the University of California, and on the board of administration for CalPERS.

Brown’s career spans the American Presidency from Lyndon Johnson to George W. Bush, and he’s worked with every California governor, from Pat Brown to Arnold Schwarzenegger. From civil rights to education reform, tax policy, economic development, health care, international trade, domestic partnerships, and affirmative action, he’s left his imprimatur on every aspect of politics and public policy in the Golden State. 

As the mayor of California’s most cosmopolitan city, he refurbished and rebuilt the nation’s busiest transit system, pioneered the use of bond measures to build affordable housing, created a model juvenile justice system, and paved the way for a second campus of the University of California, San Francisco, that would anchor and position the city as a center for the burgeoning field of biotechnology. 

Today, he heads the Willie L. Brown, Jr. Institute on Politics and Public Service, where this acknowledged master of the art of politics shares his knowledge and skills with a new generation of California leaders. 

“The Past Presidents chose the Honorable Willie Brown, Jr. from a list of distinguished Californians due to his many years of dedicated and extraordinarily effective public service,” Cal Cities Immediate Past President and Town of Yountville Mayor John F. Dunbar said. “This award recognizes the contributions of an outstanding Californian who has made significant and unique contributions to the state or to his or her community over an extended period of years and I cannot think of anyone more fitting for this recognition.”  

The League Past Presidents’ Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 1996 and is given annually. Preference is given to nominees with close ties to cities; however, nominees may also be selected from the categories of local government leaders, academics/teachers, authors, media producers, community leaders, and state or national leaders.


Established in 1898, the League of California Cities is a nonprofit statewide association that advocates for cities with the state and federal governments and provides education and training services to elected and appointed city officials. Cal Cities’ mission is to expand and protect local control for cities through education and advocacy to enhance the quality of life for all Californians.