SACRAMENTO – As the Newsom Administration continues to lead the State of California in rising to the cumulative challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuing economic crisis, natural disasters exacerbated by climate change and the scourge of systemic racial injustice, Governor Gavin Newsom today is announcing key appointments to his communications team, bolstering its capacity to connect, inform and engage a state of 40 million people and our diverse communities with issues affecting their everyday lives.
Governor Newsom has appointed Sahar Robertson as Senior Advisor for Communications and Strategy, a position previously held by Daniel Zingale who retired in January. Robertson, 44, of West Sacramento, will lead communications strategy and planning for Governor Newsom’s Administration and oversee the communications team and operation. She is a seasoned communications strategist with decades of experience across government, nonprofit and the private sector. Most recently, she served as Advisor to SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry on communications, politics and strategy. Robertson went to SEIU after running an international climate science communications campaign for the United Nations Foundation. From 2009 to 2011, Robertson served as senior communications staff in the Obama Administration, first as Associate Administrator at the U.S. General Services Administration where, among other issues, she focused on the federal government’s role in economic recovery and sustainability and then as Communications Director for the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) focusing on the Obama Administration’s climate, clean energy and environmental initiatives. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $207,000. Robertson is a Democrat.
“At this moment in history, honest, informative, fact-based, real-time communications to Californians in every part of our diverse state, on the platforms they use, about the issues they care most about, are more important than ever,” said Governor Newsom. “I’m pleased to add remarkable new expertise and energy to our already accomplished communications team, and am confident that Sahar is the right leader to help us create and tell the next chapter of the California story.”
Nathan Click will continue to serve as Communications Director. He will lead the day-to-day communications efforts for the office, and collaborate with Robertson on overall vision and strategy. Click has been with Governor Newsom since the first day of the Administration and has played an invaluable role in leading the Governor’s communications efforts this year through the pandemic, protests against racial injustice and wildfires. He previously served as Communications Director for Newsom’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign.
The Governor is also announcing the following promotions in the Communications Department:
Jesse Melgar will continue serving as Press Secretary for the Governor and will now oversee the Governor’s press office, strategy and operations. Melgar stepped up to serve in this role since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and had previously served as Deputy Director of Media and Public Affairs from the beginning of the Newsom Administration. He came to the Governor’s Office with years of experience leading communications for state government officials and social justice organizations.
Tonya LaMont is being named Digital Director after serving as Deputy Director of Digital Communications since February of 2019. In her new role, LaMont will oversee the Governor’s Office’s digital operations and collaborate online communications across the Administration. Prior to her appointment in the Governor’s Office, LaMont was the Co-Founder of LaMont Digital from 2014 to 2018, where she specialized in nonprofits and the entertainment industry.
Finally, Governor Newsom has also appointed Erin Mellon, 32, of Sacramento, as Director of Agency Communications. In this role, Mellon will work across the Administration to connect Californians with the work government agencies and departments do on their behalf. Mellon has served as Deputy Director of Communications at the California Department of Water Resources since 2017. Prior to that, Mellon served as Communications and Outreach Advisor at the California Natural Resources Agency and Communications Director at ChargePoint Inc. She has held a variety of communications positions in both the public and private sector, working on a broad range of environmental and social justice issues. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $139,728. Mellon is a Democrat.