Home>Articles>Governor’s Golden Bear Statue Will Make the Temporary Move While Capitol is Renovated

California State Capitol "Bacteria Bear" outside the Governor's office. Signs say "do not touch the bear." (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

Governor’s Golden Bear Statue Will Make the Temporary Move While Capitol is Renovated

‘Bacteria Bear’ was purchased by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at an auction for $20,000 in 2009

By Katy Grimes, November 20, 2021 2:30 am

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday that the bronze bear statue in front of the Governor’s Office, jokingly known before COVID as “bacteria bear,” was relocated to the reception area of the new, temporary Governor’s Office in the swing space.

The gigantic bronze Golden Bear statue has been holding court at the front entrance to the Governor’s Office in the State Capitol since it was purchased by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009.

The name “bacteria bear” comes from the thousands of school children who visit the State Capitol every year, with nearly every one of them touching the bear statue.

During the COVID pandemic, the bear statue was provided a ceremonial face mask.

California State Capitol Bear. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

“For many Californians making a trip to the State Capitol, one of the more memorable stops is the Governor’s Office – not to see the Governor but to visit the bronze bear statue that will continue to have a place of pride at our new, temporary office,” said Governor Newsom Friday. “State leaders have governed California from the Capitol Annex for nearly seven decades, and as we turn towards the next chapter, we reflect on the storied history of our Capitol and look forward to the work ahead charting California’s path to a brighter future.”

The Golden Bear was purchased by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at an auction for $20,000 when he first was elected governor. And there it stayed, even during Gov. Jerry Brown’s two final terms. “I do like the symbol because it’s on our flag and it projects the strength and determination and ferocity of what will be required in the months going forward,” Gov. Brown said in a 2011 interview.

Some in the Capitol press corps called the bear ‘Mic’ because it was used to hold resting microphones when they waited for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The bear, which weighs 800 pounds, actually belonged to Schwarzenegger, who gifted it to future governors.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger with sons at the State Capitol. (Photo: Pinterest)
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11 thoughts on “Governor’s Golden Bear Statue Will Make the Temporary Move While Capitol is Renovated

  1. Its time to consider getting rid of the “Golden Bear” as a CA symbol. The state needs a new symbol that is inclusive and represents everyone.

      1. Well John The “Idiot” Patriot, we now know how you like to dress.

        A more inclusive symbol would be somebody from the LBGTQ community. Harvey Milk, for example.

  2. I don’t understand why the Capitol building is being renovated in the first place. It’s only this constant desire for Dems to build monuments to themselves with taxpayer money that fuels this kind of stuff. I say let it crumble to reflect and symbolize what’s happening in the rest of California.

    1. I could not have said it any better Showandtell! With all the crisis we have like water, energy, CRIME, and inflation they are wasting probably billions renovating this useless monolith.

      1. You said it, John — and BILLIONS is probably not an exaggeration.
        Oh, also, I think they should move one of the many Sacramento tent encampments into the place where the golden bear was, and move another one into the rotunda where the beautiful Christopher Columbus sculpture used to be. Let these Dem “leaders” come face-to-face, every day, in their work environment, with what they have wrought in this state.

        1. Beautiful Chris Columbus sculpture?
          That killer murdered thousands of indigenous people. The fact that so many states still have a holiday celebrating that killer is very sad. CA needs to do away with that holiday for good.

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