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Governor-elect Gavin Newsom announced the appointment of several key senior staff

Posted: 6:11 PM, Jan 06, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-07 02:11:25Z
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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Governor-elect Gavin Newsom announced the appointment of several key senior staff and finance and legislative deputies.

Lindsey Cobia will be Deputy Chief of Staff. Most recently, she served as a Co-Director of Governor-elect Newsom’s Transition Office, as Deputy Campaign Manager for his Gubernatorial campaign and Campaign Manager for Newsom's Yes on Proposition 63 ballot measure. Before joining Newsom’s campaigns, Cobia worked for Lyft's Community and Government Affairs team, and on Capitol Hill for U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer's Office of the Democratic Whip and then-U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey.

Kate Gordon will be Director of the Office of Planning and Research (OPR). Gordon is a nationally recognized expert on clean energy and economic development. Before joining the Paulson Institute, she was the Founding Director of the “Risky Business Project,” co-chaired by Michael Bloomberg, Henry Paulson, and Tom Steyer, and focused on the economic risks of unmitigated climate change, while serving as Senior Vice President for Climate and Energy at Next Generation, a non-partisan think tank based in San Francisco. Gordon previously served as Vice President of Energy and Environment at the Washington D.C.-based Center for American Progress.

Analea Patterson will be Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary. Patterson was a Partner in the DC office at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, where she specialized in developing creative, multi-faceted solutions to business problems that incorporate legislative and regulatory strategies. She took a leave of absence from Orrick in 2011 to serve as senior advisor for incoming California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris. She has also served as Special Assistant for Policy and Planning to California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, Legislative Director for Assemblywoman Gloria Romero, and as a Policy and Legislative Director for Lieutenant Governor Gray Davis, as well as campaign manager to Bill Lockyer's successful 1998 and 2002 campaigns for California Attorney General.

Erin Suhr will be Director of Operations. Suhr has served at the highest levels of federal and state government. Most recently, she was Director of Strategic Planning and Scheduling for Next Generation, a non-partisan think tank based in San Francisco. Her years in public service included serving as Vice President Joe Biden’s Deputy Director of Scheduling at the White House, Scheduler for the 2008 Presidential Inauguration Committee, Director of Press Advance for the Hillary Clinton for President campaign and Deputy Director of Press Advance for the 2004 Kerry/Edwards campaign. She has also worked as a Special Assistant to California Governor Gray Davis and to Oregon First Lady Sharon Kitzhaber.

Vivek Viswanathan will be Chief Deputy Director of Finance -- Budgets. Viswanathan is currently an Advisor to the Transition of Governor-elect Newsom. Previously, he served as Special Advisor in the Office of Governor Jerry Brown from 2017 to 2018 and as Policy Advisor to former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential campaign. He was a candidate for California State Treasurer in 2018. Viswanathan received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University in 2009 and his Master of Philosophy from the University of Cambridge in 2010. He received his J.D. from Stanford Law School and his MBA from Stanford Business School.

Jacqueline Wong-Hernandez will remain Chief Deputy Director of Finance -- Policy. In this capacity, Ms. Wong-Hernandez represents the Department of Finance on more than 100 boards and commissions. Ms. Wong-Hernandez was most recently the Director of Legislation for the California Department of Finance. She was also a principal consultant to Senate Appropriations Committee, working on K-12 and higher education issues.

Stuart Thompson will be Chief Deputy Appointments Secretary. Stuart Thompson is currently an advisor to the Transition of Governor-Elect Newsom. Previously, he served as an associate director in the California Medical Association's Center for Governmental Relations. He was also an associate attorney at Miller and Owen, where he specialized in local state and government law with a focus on redevelopment agencies. He received his undergraduate degree from Brown University in political science and a law degree from the University of California Hastings.

Joey Freeman will be Chief Deputy Legislative Affairs Secretary for Policy. Freeman currently serves on the Transition of Governor-elect Newsom and was most recently Policy Director for the Newsom for Governor campaign. Previously, Freeman worked for Lieutenant Governor Newsom in several capacities including Southern California Director and Chief Consultant for Education Policy, where he oversaw Newsom's cradle-to-career agenda and advanced initiatives at the UC Board of Regents and CSU Board of Trustees. He was also a longtime aide to former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Wendy Greuel.

Che Salinas will be Chief Deputy Legislative Affairs Secretary for Operations. He previously served as counsel in the Government and Regulatory practice in the Sacramento office of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, where he advised on legal, legislative, budgetary and political matters, including biotech, energy, health care, transportation, public utilities, and taxation. Prior to joining Manatt, Che worked for the California State Senate in the Office of Ed Hernandez, O.D., providing counsel on legislation and Latino Caucus priorities. He previously served as staff counsel to Senate President Don Perata, Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez and a consultant for Senate Judiciary Committee.

Melinda Grant will remain a Deputy Legislative Secretary. Grant served as deputy legislative secretary for Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., from 2016-2018. Before that, she was deputy director of legislative and regulatory review at the California Department of Consumer Affairs, an advocate at Platinum Advisors and served as a legislative aide in the Office of California State Senator Kevin Murray. She was a legislative analyst at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

Melissa Immel will be a Deputy Legislative Secretary. She most recently worked as a legislative advocate for Shaw/Yoder/Antwih, where she began in 2015 as a legislative aide. She worked on the White House Advance Team for First Lady Michelle Obama and the advance team for the Office of Barack and Michelle Obama since 2017. Immel interned in the East Wing of the White House for the Obama Administration in 2014. Previously, she interned for California State Senator Lois Wolk and at Political Solutions, LLC.

Jennifer Johnson will remain a Deputy Legislative Secretary. She most recently served as deputy legislative secretary in the Office of Governor Brown. Prior to that she was manager of the strategic initiatives group at Apple. She was an education programs consultant at the California State Board of Education and an external affairs project manager at the Oakland Unified School District. Johnson was a substitute teacher for the Marysville Joint Unified School District, a consultant for the California Department of Education and an executive fellow in the Office of the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Johnson is a founding member of the Sacramento Latina Leaders Network.

Tam Ma will be a Deputy Legislative Secretary. She previously was assistant secretary of the Office of Program and Fiscal Affairs at the California Health and Human Services Agency, a position she has held since June 2018. Ma was director of legal and policy at Health Access California, a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, a principal consultant in the Office of California State Senator Mark Leno and staff attorney at Legal Services of Northern California.

Ronda Paschal will remain a Deputy Legislative Secretary. She served as deputy legislative secretary in the Office of Governor Brown since 2017. Before that, she served as deputy secretary for legislation at the California State Transportation Agency and as deputy secretary for legislation at the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. She served as a deputy secretary of state in the California Secretary of State’s Office, associate vice president at the California Medical Association and a consultant and legislative aide in the Office of State Senator Joe Dunn from 1999 to 2006. She was also an associate consultant for California State Senator Tom Hayden and the California State Senate Committee on Natural Resources.

Ronda Paschal will remain a Deputy Legislative Secretary. She served as deputy legislative secretary in the Office of Governor Brown since 2017. Before that, she served as deputy secretary for legislation at the California State Transportation Agency and as deputy secretary for legislation at the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. She served as a deputy secretary of state in the California Secretary of State’s Office, associate vice president at the California Medical Association and a consultant and legislative aide in the Office of State Senator Joe Dunn from 1999 to 2006. She was also an associate consultant for California State Senator Tom Hayden and the California State Senate Committee on Natural Resources.

Rachel Machi Wagoner will be a Deputy Legislative Secretary. She has 22 years of legislative and public policy experience. She most recently served as Chief Consultant to the California State Senate Committee on Environmental Quality. Wagoner previously served as the Legislative Director to the Department of Toxic Substances Control and Deputy Legislative Secretary to Governor Gray Davis.

Rachel Machi Wagoner will be a Deputy Legislative Secretary. She has 22 years of legislative and public policy experience. She most recently served as Chief Consultant to the California State Senate Committee on Environmental Quality. Wagoner previously served as the Legislative Director to the Department of Toxic Substances Control and Deputy Legislative Secretary to Governor Gray Davis.