SACRAMENTO — Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the appointment of Governor’s Office staff — including JP Petrucione, the highest-ranking, out, transgender appointee in state history — and designated leaders of the California Energy Commission.
JP Petrucione, 45, of Portland, OR, has been appointed Director of Digital Media in the Office of Governor Newsom. Most recently, Petrucione was Global Digital Director for Public Policy at Airbnb for two years. Prior to that he co-founded and was Managing Partner at Social Stream Media and worked as a consultant at Storefront Political Media in San Francisco. He also served as then-Mayor Newsom’s Deputy Communications Director from 2004 to 2007. Petrucione was born and raised in San Francisco. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $105,000. Petrucione is a Democrat.
Tonya LaMont, 33, of Riverside, has been appointed Deputy Director of Digital, Communications in the Office of Governor Newsom. LaMont was the co-founder of LaMont Digital from 2014 to 2018 and specialized in long-term digital narrative change and digital organizing with an emphasis on civic engagement for nonprofits, foundations, and the entertainment industry. LaMont was the Head of Music & Live Events at Adler Integrated from 2012 to 2014 where she set social media standards for the music industry. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $90,000. LaMont is a Democrat.
Brian Ferguson, 35, of Sacramento, has been appointed Deputy Director of Media and Public Affairs in the Office of Governor Newsom. Ferguson served as Deputy Press Secretary in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. from 2017 to 2019. He served as Deputy Director of Public Affairs at the California Department of General Services from 2013 to 2017, where he also served as Acting Deputy Director of Sustainability from 2014 to 2015. Ferguson was a communications specialist at the California Faculty Association from 2006 to 2013. He was a contributing writer at the Syracuse Post-Standard in 2006 and a writer at the Marin Independent Journal from 2004 to 2005. He earned a Master of Arts degree from the Syracuse University, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $135,000. Ferguson is a Democrat.
Chona Sarte, 32, of Sacramento, has been appointed Deputy Director of External Affairs in the Office of Governor Newsom. Sarte served in several positions at the California Environmental Protection Agency from 2010 to 2019, including Special Projects Adviser and Administrative Assistant to the Secretary for Environmental Protection. Sarte was also Financial Operations Assistant at the California Air Resources Board from 2009 to 2010. She earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of California, Davis. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $85,008. Sarte is a Democrat.
Sepi Esfahlani, 25, of Fullerton, has been appointed Assistant Director of External Affairs in the Office of Governor Newsom. Esfahlani previously served as Director of Scheduling on former California State Treasurer John Chiang’s gubernatorial campaign. Prior to that, she interned at the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and in the Office of U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $50,004. Esfahlani is a Democrat.
Lisa Marroquin, 28, of Los Angeles, has been appointed Assistant Director of Strategic Partnerships in the Office of Governor Newsom. Marroquin served in the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti from 2015 to 2019. In that office, Marroquin served as Legislative Deputy from 2017 to 2019 and Communication Associate and Press Assistant from 2015 to 2017. Prior to that, Marroquin was a Community Organizer for Communities for a New California Education Fund, where she ran civic engagement campaigns focused on increasing community access to local government. Marroquin got her start in organizing by going through the SEIU International Organizer-in-Training program. Marroquin was a Women’s Policy Institute Fellow from 2014 to 2015. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $65,004. Marroquin is a Democrat.
Nicole Elliott, 34, of San Francisco, has been appointed Senior Advisor on cannabis in the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Elliott has been director at the San Francisco Office of Cannabis since 2017. She served as director of the Mayor’s Office of Legislative and Government Affairs for the late Mayor Lee’s administration from 2014 to 2017, also serving as his director of appointments from 2011 to 2014. Elliott held multiple positions at the City and County of San Francisco from 2009 to 2011, including deputy board liaison and director of scheduling. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $150,000. Elliott is a Democrat.
David Hochschild, 47, of Berkeley, has been designated chair of the California Energy Commission, where he has served as a member since 2013. Hochschild was vice president of external affairs at Solaria Corporation from 2007 to 2013. He was executive director at PV Now from 2005 to 2007 and co-founder and director of policy at the Vote Solar Initiative from 2002 to 2005. Hochschild was special assistant to San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown from 2000 to 2001 and program director at The President’s Award, Port Alfred, South Africa from 1996 to 1997. Hochschild served as a commissioner on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission from 2007 to 2008. Hochschild was reappointed by the Governor to the Energy Commission last month, and is currently pending Senate confirmation. The compensation is $158,572. Hochschild is a Democrat.
Janea Scott, 45, of Sacramento, has been designated Vice Chair of the California Energy Commission, where she has served since 2013. Scott was a deputy counselor for renewable energy and special assistant to the counselor at the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of the Secretary from 2009 to 2013 and held multiple positions at the Environmental Defense Fund from 2000 to 2009, including senior attorney and staff attorney. She was an AmeriCorps member working on the San Francisco Urban Service Project from 1996 to 1997. Scott earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Colorado Law School and a Master of Science degree in earth systems from Stanford University. Scott was confirmed by the Senate to the Energy Commission in 2016 and the compensation is $153,689. Scott is a Democrat.