Gov. Jerry Brown, who is often uncomfortable with the type of protocol-heavy events that will fill his schedule next week in China, said today he is "excited" about the trip -- even if a week of banquets and meetings "can be a little bit ... it's not, like, exciting."
The third-term Democrat, who leaves the state on Monday, is expected to promote carbon-reduction policies and to seek investment in California while on a trade mission in China. He told reporters at the Capitol that he is open to Chinese investment in public infrastructure, including high-speed rail.
Brown visited Japan when he was governor before, in 1977, in an effort to persuade car manufacturers to site a plant in California, but he said the larger delegation he will lead to China is "unprecedented -- I've never done this, ever."
Brown said relationship-building with Chinese officials is significant to California and its companies, and he predicted the trade mission will help facilitate billions of dollars in investment in California.
"At least I'm putting my stake in the ground over there and flying the California flag," he said.
As he was showing a handful of reporters out of his office, Brown said again that he was looking forward to the trip.
"These banquets, though," said Brown, who will turn 75 on Sunday. "Oh, boy, that's going to be tough."
PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Jerry Brown, center, gets a standing ovation after he delivered his State of the State speech on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee