Joseph Graham “Gray” Davis Jr. (born December 26, 1942) is a retired American attorney and Democratic Party politician who served as the 37th Governor of California from 1999 to 2003. In 2003, only a few months into his second term, Davis was recalled and removed from office, the second state governor successfully recalled in U.S. history. Prior to serving as governor, Davis was chief of staff to Governor Jerry Brown (1975–81), a California State Assemblyman (1983–87), California State Controller (1987–95) and the 44th Lieutenant Governor of California (1995–99). Davis holds a B.A. in history from Stanford University and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his service as a Captain in the Vietnam War.
During his time as governor, Davis made education his top priority and California spent eight billion dollars more than was required under Proposition 98 during his first term. Under Davis, California standardized test scores increased for five straight years. Davis signed the nation’s first state law requiring automakers to limit auto emissions. Davis supported laws to ban assault weapons and is also credited with improving relations between California and Mexico. Davis began his tenure as governor with strong approval ratings but they declined as voters blamed him for the California electricity crisis, the California budget crisis that followed the bursting of the dot-com bubble, and the car tax. Voters were also alienated by Davis’s outrageous fundraising efforts and negative campaigning.On October 7, 2003, Davis was recalled in the second such election in U.S. history, after the removal of Lynn Frazier of North Dakota in 1921. He was succeeded in office on November 17, 2003 by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who won the recall replacement election. Davis spent 1,778 days as governor and signed 5,132 bills out of 6,244, vetoing 1,112 bills. Since being recalled, Davis has worked as a lecturer at the UCLA School of Public Affairs, as an attorney at Loeb & Loeb and sat on the Board of Directors of the animation company DiC Entertainment.