Governor Newsom Announces Appointments 3.2.22

SACRAMENTO — Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the following appointments:

Rachel Zwillinger, 39, of San Rafael, has been appointed Assistant General Counsel for Enforcement at the California Environmental Protection Agency. Zwillinger has been a Water Policy Advisor at Defenders of Wildlife since 2014. She was Natural Resources Defense Council Fellow at Altshuler Berzon LLP from 2011 to 2014, Law Clerk to the Honorable John T. Noonan at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 2010 to 2011 and Law Clerk to the Honorable Marilyn L. Huff at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California from 2009 to 2010. Zwillinger earned a Juris Doctor degree from Stanford Law School and a Master of Science degree from the Stanford Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $151,608. Zwillinger is a Democrat.

Yvonna Cázares, 37, of Oakland, has been appointed Deputy Director for the Office of Environmental Equity at the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. Cázares has been Director of Community Engagement in the Oakland Mayor’s Office since 2017. She was Public Information Officer II for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District from 2014 to 2017, Director of Parent Engagement Programs at the California State PTA from 2013 to 2014 and Policy Manager at GSA Network from 2012 to 2013. Cázares was Marketing and Public Relations Director for Spinal Injury Center from 2007 to 2012, Latino Vote Director and Field Organizer for Steve Pougnet for Congress from 2009 to 2010, and Policy Analyst and Lobbyist for the Verde Consulting Group LLC from 2008 to 2009. She was a Sustainable Economics and Environmental Justice and Climate Change Fellow at Redefining Progress from 2007 to 2008 and an Administrative Assistant at Iris Capital Group LLC from 2004 to 2006.Cázares earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $160,008. Cázares is a Democrat.

Kourtney Vaccaro, 55, of Sacramento, has been appointed to the California Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission (California Energy Commission). Vaccaro has served as Advisor to Commissioner Karen Douglas at the California Energy Commission since 2019, where she held multiple positions from 2009 to 2019, including Chief Counsel, Assistant Executive Director of Compliance Assistance and Enforcement, Attorney III and Hearing Advisor. She was a Partner at Vu Vaccaro LLP from 2012 to 2013 and held multiple positions at the Fair Political Practices Commission from 2006 to 2009, including Enforcement Division Chief and Senior Commission Counsel (Specialist). Vaccaro was Of Counsel at Best Best & Krieger LLP in 2007, where she held multiple attorney positions from 2002 to 2005. She held multiple attorney positions at Freeman, D’Aiuto, Pierce, Gurev & Keeling from 2000 to 2005 and was an Associate at Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard from 1996 to 2000. Vaccaro earned a Juris Doctor degree and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Southern California. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $166,306. Vaccaro is a Democrat.

Frank Damrell, 83, of Carmichael, has been reappointed to the Delta Stewardship Council, where he has served since 2013. He was Of Counsel at Cotchett Pitre and McCarthy LLP from 2012 to 2018. Damrell served as a Judge at the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California from 1997 to 2011 and was an Attorney in private practice from 1968 to 1997. He served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office from 1966 to 1968 and a Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice from 1965 to 1966. Damrell earned a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $52,794. Damrell is a Democrat.

Julie Lee, 57, of Auburn, has been appointed to the Delta Stewardship Council. Lee has served as Undersecretary of the California Government Operations Agency since 2018, where she is also Chair of the California Building Standards Commission. Lee held several positions in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. from 2011 to 2018, including Director of Operations from 2013 to 2018, Reorganizational Specialist from 2012 to 2013 and Project Manager of the Governor’s reorganization plan at the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency from 2011 to 2012. She was Public Information Manager at the California Department of Transportation, District 2 from 2009 to 2011 and served in several positions at the California Department of Personnel Administration from 2005 to 2009, including as Statewide Workforce Planning Manager, Administrative Assistant II, Executive Secretary I and Office Technician. Lee was an Office Assistant at the California Highway Patrol from 2004 to 2005 and at the California Department of Corrections from 2003 to 2004. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $52,794. Lee is a Democrat.