SACRAMENTO – As Governor Newsom’s first year in office came to a close, the Governor asked a number of his senior staff members to fill specific needs in the office – a senior point person on housing and homelessness, a senior point person on business and economic development, and a senior point person on strategy and advocacy:
Jason Elliott, 36, of Sacramento, is now serving as senior counselor to the Governor for housing and homelessness in the Office of the Governor, where he has served as chief deputy cabinet secretary. Previously, Elliott served in multiple positions in the office of the Mayor of San Francisco from 2008 to 2018, including Mayor’s chief of staff and policy director. During his time in San Francisco city government, he served four mayors, including then-Mayor Gavin Newsom and Mayor Ed Lee.
Che Salinas, 40, of Sacramento, is now serving as senior advisor on business and economic development for the Office of the Governor, under the guidance of Lenny Mendonca, the Governor’s Chief Economic and Business Advisor and Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). Salinas was previously chief deputy legislative affairs secretary for operations. Salinas was counsel at Manatt, Phelps and Phillips from 2011 to 2018. He was counsel for the Office of Senator Ed Hernandez from 2010 to 2011 and counsel for the Office of Senator Dean Florez from 2009 to 2010. He was a consultant for the California State Senate Committee on Judiciary from 2006 to 2009 and a legislative aide for former California Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata from 2004 to 2006. He is a board member of Improve Your Tomorrow.
Angie Wei, 48, of Sacramento, is now serving as special advisor to the Governor in the Office of the Governor, where she has served as chief deputy for policy. Wei was chief of staff at the California Labor Federation from 2011 to 2018, where she held several positions from 2000 to 2011, including legislative director and public policy director. She was a program associate at PolicyLink in 2000, policy analyst at the California Immigrant Welfare Collaborative from 1998 to 1999 and policy director at the Northern California Coalition for Immigrant Rights from 1996 to 1998.
As a result of these changes, the Governor has promoted these members of his team to the following roles:
Tracy Arnold, 45, of Sacramento, is now serving as a chief deputy cabinet secretary for the Office of the Governor, where she has served as director of research. Arnold was executive director of Empower Civic Engagement from 2018 to 2019. She was a partner at Mercury Public Affairs from 2009 to 2018, director of jobs and economic growth for the Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger from 2006 to 2009 and deputy executive director for the California Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth from 2004 to 2006.
Ben Chida, 34, of Sacramento, is now serving as a chief deputy cabinet secretary for the Office of the Governor, where he has served as senior policy advisor for cradle to career. Previously, Chida was an attorney at an international law firm, an attorney-advisor in the executive office of Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, and a judicial law clerk to federal judges in California and on the D.C. Circuit. Earlier in his career, Chida was a third grade teacher at P.S. 325 in New York City and a roofer while attending a continuation high school.
Kelli Evans, 50, of Oakland, joins Ann Patterson as chief deputy legal affairs secretary for the Office of the Governor, where she has served as deputy legal affairs secretary for criminal justice. Evans was special assistant to the attorney general at the California Department of Justice from 2017 to 2019. She was a senior director for administration of justice for the State Bar of California from 2014 to 2017, a private consultant from 2013 to 2014 and an associate director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California from 2010 to 2013. Evans was a federal court monitor for the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California from 2003 to 2010, an attorney at Relman and Associates from 2001 to 2004 and a senior trial attorney for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice from 1998 to 2001.
Stuart Thompson, 34, of Sacramento, joins Joey Freeman as chief deputy legislative affairs secretary for the Office of the Governor, where he has served as chief deputy appointments secretary. Thompson was associate director for the center for governmental relations at the California Medical Association from 2014 to 2018 and an associate attorney at Miller and Owen from 2012 to 2014.
Governor Newsom today announced the following appointment:
Morgan Carvajal, 31, of Sacramento, has been appointed chief deputy appointments secretary for the Office of the Governor. Carvajal has been a legislative advocate for the California Medical Association since 2018. She was a legislative advocate for Hernandez Strategy Group LLC from 2013 to 2018, a legislative aide for Senator Fran Pavley from 2010 to 2013 and an operations development assistant for Sonoma State University from 2006 to 2010. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $155,004. Carvajal is a Democrat.
The Governor’s Office would like to acknowledge these senior members and their new roles, as well as provide an organization chart in the interest of transparency and to allow Californians to better engage our office this year.