SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the following appointments:
Samuel F. Himel, 30, of Washington, D.C., has been appointed Special Advisor for Federal Economic Policy and Fiscal Issues in the Office of the Governor. He has been Special Advisor for the California Department of Finance since April 2020. Himel was a Law Clerk at Arnold & Porter from 2019 to 2020, where he was a Summer Associate in 2018. He was a Legal Extern at the Office of the New York State Attorney General in 2018 and a Legal Intern for the Office of Commissioner Terrell McSweeny at the Federal Trade Commission in 2017. He held multiple positions at the Council of Economic Advisers in the Executive Office of the President from 2014 to 2016, including Research Assistant and Research Economist. He was a Research Assistant at the Institute for Defense Analyses from 2013 to 2014. Himel earned a Juris Doctor degree from the New York University School of Law. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $125,004. Himel is a Democrat.
Paula LaBrie, 60, of Elk Grove, has been designated Chair of and reappointed to the California Gambling Control Commission, where she has served since 2017. LaBrie was Chief Deputy Director at the California State Lottery from 2015 to 2017, where she was Acting Director from 2013 to 2015 and Chief Deputy Director from 2012 to 2013. She was Legislative Counsel at the American Automobile Association Club of Northern California, Nevada and Utah from 1997 to 2011. LaBrie was an Attorney at MacMorris and Carbone from 1993 to 1997 and at Carroll, Burdick and McDonough from 1990 to 1993. She was an Account Administrator at IBM from 1983 to 1987. LaBrie earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and a Master of Laws degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $164,122. LaBrie is a Democrat.
Eric Heins, 62, of Santa Rosa, has been appointed to the California Gambling Control Commission. Heins has been Senior Consultant for Heins & Associates LLC since 2019. He was President of the California Teachers Association from 2015 to 2019 and a Teacher for the Pittsburg Unified School District from 1990 to 2019. Heins earned a Master of Arts degree in language and literacy education from the University of California, Berkeley. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $159,068. Heins is a Democrat.
Chris Downey, 58, of Piedmont, has been reappointed to the California Commission on Disability Access, where he has served since 2013. Downey has been Principal Architect at Architecture for the Blind since 2009. He was a Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley Department of Architecture from 2011 and 2016. Downey was Managing Principal at Michelle Kaufmann Designs in 2008, Founding Partner at Ashdown Downey Architecture and Design from 2003 to 2007 and held several positions at Holt Hinshaw from 1993 to 2003, including Architectural Designer, Manager and Principal. Downey is a member of the Light House for the Blind and Visually Impaired Board of Directors and the American Institute of Architects San Francisco Chapter. He earned a Master of Architecture degree from the University of California, Berkeley. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Downey is a Democrat.
Yvette Casares Willis, 49, of Palo Alto, has been appointed to the Board of Behavioral Sciences. Casares Willis was Director of Partnerships at MassChallenge Texas from 2018 to 2020. She was Senior Sales Executive of Corporate Partnerships at Houston Dynamo Major League Soccer Club from 2015 to 2018. Casares Willis was Senior Sales Executive at Buffalo Specialties from 2013 to 2015. She was Director of Premium Seat Sales and Director of Corporate Sponsorship Sales at Live Nation Entertainment from 2008 to 2011. Casares Willis was Director of Premium Club Sales for the Boston Bruins/The Premium Club from 2007 to 2008. She was Advertising Sales Manager for the Houston Astros Baseball Club from 2000 to 2007. Casares Willis is vice president of membership of the Texas Lyceum and president of the San Francisco Bay Area Texas Exes Alumni Association. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Casares Willis is a Democrat.
Luz M. Molina, 43, of National City, has been reappointed to the California Board of Accountancy, where she has served since 2017. Molina has been a Contract and Grant Officer at the University of California, San Diego since 2018. She held multiple positions at Ajinomoto Althea, including Technical and Proposal Writer from 2011 to 2018 and Manufacturing Associate from 2004 to 2010. Molina is a member of the Hope Leadership Institute. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Molina is a Democrat.
Brett Gladstone, 63, of San Francisco, has been reappointed to the California Architects Board, where he has served since 2019. Gladstone has been an Of Counsel Real Estate Attorney at Goldstein, Gellman, Melbostad, Harris & McSparran LLP since 2020. He was a Partner at Hanson Bridgett from 2013 to 2020 and an Attorney and Partner at Gladstone & Associates from 1989 to 2013. Gladstone is a member of the Tenderloin Museum Board of Directors. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Duke University School of Law. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Gladstone is a Democrat.
Nilza Serrano, 57, of Los Angeles, has been reappointed to the California Architects Board, where she has served since 2013. Serrano has been Owner and CEO of Serrano and Associates since 2017. She was Owner and Founder of TMS from 1997 to 2017. Serrano was Director of Business Development at Affinity Flavors Inc. from 2010 to 2011 and Producer at The Media Shop Inc. from 1999 to 2010. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Serrano is a Democrat.