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Governor Newsom Announces Appointments 12.2.21

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the following appointments:

Saul Gomez, 44, of Sacramento, has been appointed Undersecretary at the California Natural Resources Agency. Gomez has been Deputy Executive Director at the California Public Utilities Commission since 2019. He was Program Officer at the Resources Legacy Fund from 2018 to 2019, Deputy Cabinet Secretary in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. from 2016 to 2018, Deputy Secretary for Energy and Special Assistant for Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources at the California Natural Resources Agency from 2014 to 2016 and Executive Director for the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority from 2013 to 2014. Gomez was Special Advisor to California Energy Commissioner Carla Peterman from 2011 to 2012, Director of Advocacy at the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies from 2009 to 2011, Legislative Consultant for the California State Senate in 2008 and Legislative Aide in the California State Assembly from 2002 to 2006. Gomez earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $205,608. Gomez is a Democrat.

Katherine Toy, 52, of San Francisco, has been appointed Deputy Secretary for Access at the California Natural Resources Agency. Toy has been Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy since 2021, where she was Executive Vice President of Partnerships & Programs from 2017 to 2021. She was Associate Director for Alumni Volunteer Engagement at the Stanford Alumni Association from 2007 to 2017, Program Director at San Francisco School Volunteers from 2005 to 2007 and Executive Director of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation from 2000 to 2004. Toy was Assistant Director at the Stanford Alumni Association from 1998 to 2000, Teacher and Director of Student Activities at Las Lomitas Elementary School District from 1995 to 1997 and a Teacher at Sequoia Union High School District from 1994 to 1995 and at The Bryn Mawr School from 1991 to 1994. Toy earned a Master of Arts degree in Education from Stanford University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $175,404. Toy is a Democrat.

Kristin Stauffacher, 51, of Sacramento, has been appointed Deputy Executive Director of the California Public Utilities Commission. Stauffacher has been Appointments Advisor in the Office of the Governor since 2014. She was Deputy Secretary for Legislation at the California Environmental Protection Agency from 2011 to 2014, Legislative Director in the Office of California State Senator Joe Simitian from 2008 to 2011 and Legislative Director in the Office of California State Senator Michael Machado from 2000 to 2008. Stauffacher was a Consultant to the California State Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife from 1997 to 2000 and a Scientific Aid at the California Department of Fish and Game from 1996 to 1997. Stauffacher was a Water Resources Assistant for the County of Lake in 1996. She earned a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science and a Master of Public Administration degree from Indiana University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $180,000. Stauffacher is a Democrat.

Julie Henderson, 59, of San Francisco, has been appointed Director of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. Henderson has served as Acting Director at the California Department of Pesticide Regulation since 2021 and has been Deputy Secretary for Public Policy at the California Environmental Protection Agency since 2017. She held the positions of Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Advisor of External Affairs at the University of California, Office of the President from 2013 to 2017. Henderson was a Senior Advisor for the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. from 2011 to 2013 and Special Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the Attorney General from 2008 to 2010. She held multiple positions at Gap from 1992 to 2007, including Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Associate General Counsel, Senior Attorney and Attorney. She was an Associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe from 1987 to 1988 and from 1990 to 1992. Henderson earned a Juris Doctor degree from Santa Clara University School of Law. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $194,870. Henderson is a Democrat.

Stephanie Ogren, 36, of Sacramento, has been appointed General Counsel in the Office of Energy Infrastructure Safety at the California Natural Resources Agency. Ogren has been Assistant Chief Counsel at the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services since 2019, where she has held multiple positions since 2016, including Acting Assistant Chief Counsel, Senior Counsel and Staff Counsel. She was an Associate at Delfino Madden O’Malley Coyle & Koewler from 2014 to 2016 and an Associate and Law Clerk at Cota Cole LLP from 2010 to 2014. Ogren earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $180,000. Ogren is a Democrat.

Melissa Semcer, 41, of Sacramento, has been appointed Deputy Director in the Office of Energy Infrastructure Safety at the California Natural Resources Agency. Semcer has been Program Manager at the Office of Energy Infrastructure Safety since 2021. She held several positions at the California Public Utilities Commission between 2007 and 2021, including Program Manager, Administrative Law Judge and Public Utilities Regulatory Analyst. Semcer earned a Master of Science degree in Environmental Management from Duke University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $178,080. Semcer is a Democrat.

Bidtah Becker, 50, of Fort Defiance, AZ, has been appointed Deputy Secretary for Environmental Justice, Tribal Affairs and Border Relations at the California Environmental Protection Agency. Becker has been an Associate at the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority since 2019. She was Director at the Navajo Nation Division of Natural Resources from 2015 to 2019 and held several positions for the Navajo Nation Department of Justice from 2002 to 2015, including Assistant Attorney General and Attorney.  Becker was a Teacher at Santa Fe Indian School from 2001 to 2002 and Law Clerk at the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico from 2000 to 2001. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from University of New Mexico School of Law. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $170,004. Becker is a Democrat.

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