SACRAMENTO — Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the appointment of his California Natural Resources Agency Secretary and California Labor and Workforce Development Agency Secretary, and senior advisors and members of the communications team in the Governor’s Office.
Wade Crowfoot, 45, of Oakland, has been appointed Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency. Crowfoot was chief executive officer of the Water Foundation from 2016 to 2018. He was deputy cabinet secretary and senior advisor to Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. from 2013 to 2016. Crowfoot also served as deputy director for Governor Brown’s Office of Planning and Research from 2011 to 2013. He was West Coast political director at the Environmental Defense Fund from 2009 to 2011 and senior environmental advisor to former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom from 2004 to 2007. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $209,943. Crowfoot is a Democrat.
Julie Su, 49, of Los Angeles, has been appointed Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. From 2011 to 2018, she served as California’s Labor Commissioner in Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s administration. Prior to being appointed Labor Commissioner, she served as the Litigation Director at Advancing Justice LA. She has spent 17 years of her career as a civil rights lawyer with a focus on protecting low-wage workers, and immigrant victims of crime and human trafficking. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $209,943. Su is a Democrat.
Ben Chida, 33, of Oakland, has been appointed Senior Policy Advisor for Cradle to Career in the Office of the Governor. Chida most recently advised non-profit organizations and tech companies on data privacy at an international law firm. Previously, Chida served as Attorney-Advisor in the executive office of Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, leading priorities in education, juvenile justice, foster youth, and children’s data. He also served as a judicial law clerk to federal judges in California and on the D.C. Circuit, and managed the development and launch of the first humanities MOOC on edX. Ben was also a third grade teacher at P.S. 325 in New York City, and worked as a roofer while attending a continuation high school and community college for five years. He attended Orange Coast College and received a B.A. from UC Berkeley, a teaching certificate in childhood education from Pace University, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $165,000. Chida is a Democrat.
Giannina Pérez 47, of Oakland, has been appointed Senior Policy Advisor for Early Childhood in the Office of the Governor. Pérez is an early childhood policy expert and strategist with more than 17 years of experience in state policy, advocacy, and government. Most recently, she worked with Early Edge California to expand professional development opportunities for the early learning workforce and ensure more young children learning English have the supports they need to succeed. For more than a decade, she worked at Children Now, where she led the organization’s work on policies impacting young children (prenatal to age eight) and their families. As Senior Director of Early Childhood Policy, she helped develop a comprehensive platform that included child care, preschool, kindergarten readiness, home visiting, developmental screenings and intervention, family support, child welfare, and overall early childhood systems building. She has also worked in the California Legislature for State Senator Hilda Solis and Assemblymember Cindy Montañez, focusing on women’s and children’s issues including expanding educational opportunities and financial assistance for child care providers, ensuring women receiving public assistance have more opportunities to attend college, and greater protections for survivors of domestic violence. Pérez earned a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Affairs. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $175,008. Pérez is registered without party preference.
Gina Da Silva, 32, of Sacramento, has been appointed Senior Policy Advisor for Immigration in the Office of the Governor. Da Silva has been the Director of Government Affairs at the California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC) since 2017, where she has worked since 2011 in several critical roles, co-leading a budget campaign and administrative advocacy to establish the “One California” Immigration Services Funding as well as subsequent campaigns to increase state funding for access to legal tools that reduce detentions and deportations. She has led legislative efforts to advance state protections for workers against E-Verify, in addition to efforts against mass detentions and deportations through the TRUTH Act and its expansion the CA Values Act. During the past year, Da Silva has driven CIPC’s efforts to address equity and inclusion for immigrants and refugees within workforce development and adult education policies. Da Silva is a California native whose passion for social justice and immigrant rights was shaped by her family’s’ immigrant experience and her lived experience in the United States and abroad. Before coming to CIPC, she spent several years in the Republic of Panama. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $130,008. Da Silva is a Democrat.
Lande Ajose, 52, of Oakland, has been appointed Senior Policy Advisor for Higher Education in the Office of the Governor. Ajose has been executive director of California Competes, which develops and advocates for bold yet pragmatic policies to boost California’s postsecondary degree attainment. Her background in higher education spans college admissions at Vassar College, education and workforce development at the James Irvine Foundation, and research and evaluation at MDRC, where she managed a comprehensive evaluation of the Achieving the Dream initiative. In 2014 and again in 2018, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. appointed her to the California Student Aid Commission, where she currently serves as Chair, and in 2016 Governor Brown appointed her to the Committee on Awards for Innovation in Higher Education. She serves on several boards and commissions, including the WASC Senior College and University Commission, the Institute for Higher Education Policy, and on the advisory committee of the Higher Education Policy Center at the Public Policy Institute of California. She earned a Master of Arts degree in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Affairs and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $175,008. Ajose is a Democrat.
Alice Busching Reynolds, 50, of San Francisco, has been appointed Senior Advisor to the Governor for Energy. Reynolds previously served as Senior Advisor for Climate, the Environment and Energy in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. from 2017 to January 2019. She was the Deputy Secretary for Law Enforcement and Counsel at the California Environmental Protection Agency from 2011 to 2017. Prior to joining CalEPA, she served as a Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General from 2002 to 2011 and was an attorney at Sonnenschein Nath and Rosenthal LLP from 1998 to 2001 and at Furth, Fahrner and Mason from 1995 to 1998. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $186,036. Reynolds is a Democrat.
Tracy Arnold, 44, of Sacramento, has been appointed Director of Research in the Office of the Governor. Arnold previously served as the Executive Director of Empower Civic Engagement. Prior to that, she was a partner at Mercury Public Affairs and Director of Jobs and Economic Growth in the Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, where she advised on matters related to economic development and international trade. She served as Deputy Executive Director for the California Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth, and Deputy Executive Director at the Washington State China Relations Council. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $145,008. Arnold is registered without party preference.
Jesse Melgar, 31, of Riverside, has been appointed Deputy Director of Media and Public Affairs in the Office of the Governor. Melgar previously served as Deputy Secretary of State and Chief Communications Officer for California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. Prior to that, he was Communications Director for State Senator Ricardo Lara and the California Latino Legislative Caucus. Melgar was formerly Communications Director for Equality California, Account Executive at Cerrell Associates, Inc., and Communications Manager at the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce. He earned a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of California, Riverside School of Public Policy. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $120,000. Melgar is a Democrat.
Anastasia R. Carney, 33, of Sacramento, has been appointed Deputy Director of Civic Engagement and Strategic Partnerships in the Office of the Governor. Carney previously served as Marketing and Outreach Director at the California Health Professions Education Foundation in 2018 and as a Program Associate at The California Endowment from 2013 to 2018. She served in several positions in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. from 2011 to 2013 and in the Office of First Lady Maria Shriver from 2007 to 2011. She is a member of the American Society for Public Administration and earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of San Francisco. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $90,000. Carney is a Democrat.
Janine Shimomura, 28, of Sacramento, has been appointed Assistant Director of Strategy and Communications in the Office of the Governor. Shimomura previously served as special assistant for communications at the California State Transportation Agency from 2016 to 2018. She was vice president of digital at the California Women’s List in 2016 and project director at WomenCount from 2015 to 2016. Shimomura served as a research analyst at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General from 2013 to 2015 and was an administrative assistant in the College of Environmental Design Dean’s Office at the University of California, Berkeley from 2011 to 2013. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $65,004. Shimomura is a Democrat.
Lande Watson, 21, of Sacramento, has been appointed Assistant Director of Research in the Office of the Governor. Most recently, she worked for NARAL Pro-Choice California as a Field Organizer. Previously, she worked as a Communications Assistant at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. She was also a research assistant at the George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $65,004. Watson is a Democrat.