History

Knight becomes state’s 31st governor

California Gov. Goodwin J. Knight’s major achievements included water conservation and the development of the Feather River Project.
California Gov. Goodwin J. Knight’s major achievements included water conservation and the development of the Feather River Project. Sacramento Center for History

Oct. 5, 1953: Goodwin J. Knight of Los Angeles became the thirty-first governor of California one second after last midnight and took his formal oath of office at 10 o’clock this morning in his home city.

Meantime, in Sacramento, Harold J. Powers of Eagleville, Modoc County, was sworn in as the new lieutenant governor.

There were three steps in the succession of lieutenant Governor Knight to the gubernatorial chair.

He became active governor yesterday morning the instant retiring governor Earl Warren crossed the state in the plane bearing him to Washington, D.C., to assume office today as chief justice of the United States.

Knight ascended to the full powers and permanent title of the governorship for the remaining 14 months and 27 days of Warren’s third term at the midnight effective hour of the outgoing executive’s resignation.

This morning the broad shouldered, graying 56 year old former jurist and lieutenant governor since 1946 stood in the assembly hall of the State Building in Los Angeles, accompanied by his two daughters and surrounded by friends and political supporters, and took the inaugural oath prescribed by the constitution. He was sworn in by Chief Justice Phil S. Gibson of the the state supreme court.

The new governor, who last week said he planned no general housecleaning in state government, said he will gather about him “men and women of talent and true patriotism” to continue programs of the Warren administration.

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