Pete Wilson

Distinguished Visiting Fellow

Pete Wilson is a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution and was California’s thirty-sixth chief executive, serving as governor from 1991 to 1999. He was first appointed as a distinguished visiting fellow in 1999. Wilson previously served eight years as a United States senator (1983–91), eleven years as mayor of San Diego (1971–83), and five years as a California state assemblyman (1967–71).

His focus at the Hoover Institution includes the reform of primary and secondary education and national security issues. He is on the governing boards of the National D-Day Museum, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, the Richard M. Nixon Library and Birthplace Foundation, and the Donald Bren Foundation and is a founding director of the California Mentor Foundation.

Since leaving office, Wilson has received the Woodrow Wilson Institute Award for Distinguished Public Service and the Patriots Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Climate Policy Must Work For All Californians

by Pete Wilson, Stephen B. Williamsvia Sacramento Bee
Monday, September 7, 2015

Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature have made clear their commitment to combating global climate change. But in his inaugural address earlier this year, the governor wisely observed that “how we achieve these goals and at what pace will take great thought and imagination mixed with pragmatic caution.

Analysis and Commentary

Pete Wilson: Legal Way Is The Only Way To Come To U.S.

by Pete Wilsonvia Investor's Business Daily
Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Right Way and The Wrong Way to Come to America. There is a right way and a wrong way to come to America. However we may empathize with illegal immigrants who come to the United States hungry for a better life, we must insist that they choose the right way — the legal way.

To New Orleans, a Few Words from California

by Pete Wilsonvia Hoover Digest
Saturday, July 30, 2005

In the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, former California governor Pete Wilson offers advice and encouragement to the citizens of New Orleans.

What California Must Do

by Pete Wilsonvia Hoover Digest
Monday, July 30, 2001

What can Gray Davis, the current governor of California, do to end California’s energy crisis? Hoover fellow Pete Wilson, the former governor of California, has a few suggestions.

Ronald Reagan’s Best Scene

by Pete Wilsonvia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, January 30, 2001

Ronald Reagan played his best scene not in Hollywood but while in the White House. By Hoover fellow and former governor of California Pete Wilson.

Former Hoover fellow and Nobel laureate Milton Friedman.


with Pete Wilson, Milton Friedmanvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, December 21, 2000

America has spent three decades and hundreds of billions of dollars fighting a national war on drugs. Has the war on drugs been an effective way of dealing with America's drug problem or does it cause more harm than good? How should we weigh the moral and utilitarian arguments for and against the war on drugs; in other words, do we need to intensify the war on drugs or is it time to declare a cease fire?

Cheating America’s Schoolchildren

by Pete Wilsonvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, January 30, 2000

Everyone agrees on the need to reform our public schools—everyone, that is, except the teachers’ unions. Hoover fellow and former governor of California Pete Wilson argues that the teachers’ unions are putting their own interests above the interests of our children.