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'The Duke' Remembered For Role In California Public Safety

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — George Deukmejian, a two-term governor of California died on Tuesday at his home in Long Beach according to friends and family.

"The word 'compassionate conservative' has no better definition than George Deukmejian," said Allan Zaremberg who worked for 10 years with "the Duke" as an advisor and legislative secretary.

"A person who made sure that California's public safety was No. 1," said Zaremberg.

He says Deukmejian pushed for law and order. Was tough on crime. And even instituted groundbreaking gun reform.

"He was a leader to achieve the first assault weapons ban in the United States in 1989," said Zaremberg.

Zaremberg says Deukmejian was fiscally responsible, while also overseeing the development of a workfare program for welfare and a nearly $20 billion transportation project.

"That was one of his hallmarks, that government should help people who couldn't help themselves," said Zaremberg.

Able to pull support from multiple political parties, Governor Brown writing in a statement,

"George Deukmejian was a popular governor and made friends across the political aisle. Anne and I join all Californians in expressing our deepest condolences to his family and friends."

Among Deukmejian's most notable international accomplishments' was taking a stand against Apartheid South Africa by prohibiting state pensions from investing in the country.

"He was a leader in doing that," said Zaremberg.

But Zaremberg says it was the way he dealt with people and his employees that has stuck with him over the years.

"I am who I am today, because of him," said Zaremberg.

The son of Armenian immigrants, Deukmejian was heavily invested in the Armenian community in southern California.

Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff in honor of George Deukmejian.

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