California Governor Gavin Newsom announced several key appointments to help tackle some of the most urgent challenges facing the state, as outlined in his State of the State Address – meeting California’s diverse water needs, boosting economic development across the state and bolstering the education system.
Meeting California’s Water Needs
Joaquin Esquivel, a Democrat from Sacramento, has been designated Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, where he has served since 2017. He was confirmed by the California State Senate to the State Water Resources Control Board in 2018; compensation is $158,572. Laurel Firestone, another Democrat from Sacramento, has been appointed to the State Water Resources Control Board. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $153,689. William Lyons, a Democrat from Modesto, has been appointed Agriculture Liaison in the Office of the Governor. He previously served as Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture from 1999 to 2004. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $175,008.
Democrat Lenny Mendonca from Half Moon Bay has been appointed Chief Economic and Business Advisor and Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). This position does not require Senate confirmation and he has declined a salary. Mendonca has also been appointed to the High-Speed Rail Authority. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem.
Linda Darling-Hammond, a Democrat from Stanford, has been appointed to the State Board of Education. She has been Charles E. Ducommun Professor Emeritus at the Stanford University, Graduate School of Education since 2017, where she was a professor from 1998 to 2017. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem.
Emergency Drinking Water & Fire Recovery Package
AB 72 and 73 are early action budget bills that provide urgent assistance for communities that have contaminated and unsafe water and also support communities that have been rocked by California wildfires. The Governor will make a surprise visit to a Central Valley school in a community that lacks safe drinking water and sign the legislation. In his Tuesday speech, he called California’s safe drinking water crisis “a moral disgrace” and called for further action to ensure all Californians can access safe drinking water.