SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the following appointments:
Kate Folmar, 47, of Sacramento, has been appointed deputy secretary for external affairs at the California Health and Human Services Agency. Folmar has been communications director for Everytown for Gun Safety since 2017, where she was deputy communications director from 2015 to 2017. She was founder and a consultant at Kate Folmar Communications from 2014 to 2015, communications director at the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center from 2011 to 2014 and press secretary for U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer from 2010 to 2011. Folmar was communications director for the California Democratic Party in 2009 and press secretary for California Secretary of State Debra Bowen from 2007 to 2009. She held multiple positions at the San Jose Mercury News from 2000 to 2007, including Capitol reporter, education reporter and local editor, and was a reporter for the Los Angeles Times from 1995 to 2000. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $155,004. Folmar is a Democrat.
Candace Vahlsing, 38, of Washington, D.C., has been appointed science and technology policy advisor to the chair at the California Air Resources Board. Vahlsing has served as senior advisor for energy, climate change, and environment for U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and the minority staff director for the U.S. Senate Finance Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure since 2017. She was senior policy advisor of energy and climate change for the U.S. Domestic Policy Council, Executive Office of the President from 2014 to 2017, special assistant to the associate director for energy and climate change at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Executive Office of the President from 2013 to 2014, and energy and environment policy advisor at Obama for America in 2012. She held various positions at the California Air Resources Board from 2009 to 2012, including air pollution specialist, legislative analyst and special assistant to the chair. She earned a Master of Public Policy degree and a Master of Science degree from the University of California, Berkeley. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $105,552. Vahlsing is a Democrat.
Debbie Lee, 65, of San Francisco, has been appointed to the Domestic Violence Program Advisory Council. Lee has been senior vice president for health at Futures Without Violence since 1980. She is a member of the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Lee is a Democrat.
Gregory Ahern, 62, of Livermore, has been reappointed to the California State Lottery Commission, where he has served since 2012. Ahern has served as sheriff and coroner at the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office since 2007, where he has served in several positions since 1980, including assistant sheriff, commander, captain, lieutenant, sergeant and deputy sheriff. Ahern is a member of the California State Sheriffs’ Association. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Ahern is a Republican.
Luis Lara, 43, of Atwater, has been appointed to the 35th District Agriculture Association, Merced County Fair Board of Directors. Lara has served as a sergeant for the California Highway Patrol since 2011, where he has served in several positions since 1998, including as an officer in the Merced Area and Redwood City CHP Area Office. He has served as an instructor at Merced Community College since 2013. He is secretary treasurer for the Merced School Employees Federal Credit Union Board of Directors and a member of the McSwain Union Elementary School District Board and the Young Men’s Institute at St. Anthony’s Church. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Lara is a Democrat.