Gavin Newsom’s Bay Area Trailblazers: Leaders In the Governor’s Staff

The Governor has a history of appointing boundary-breaking trailblazers for state positions — here are some of the most notable people he has selected in recent years with Bay Area backgrounds.

Nadine Burke Harris

A Vancouver-born pediatrician, Burke Harris was appointed as California’s first surgeon general in January, 2019 by Governor Gavin Newsom. She joined the California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) staff in 2005 and was tasked with developing programs to end health disparities in San Francisco — with support from CPMC, two years later Burke Harris became the medical director and founding physician of the Bayview Child Health Center. From 2010 to 2012, Burke Harris co-founded the Adverse Childhood Experiences project in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood in San Francisco, with colleagues Daniel Lurie from Tipping Point Foundation, Kamala Harris, Victor G. Carrion, Lenore Anderson, Lisa Pritzker and Katie Albright. This spawned 2012’s Center for Youth Wellness which integrates primary health care, mental health and wellness, research, policy, education, and community and family support services to children and families. Burke Harris is also an advisory council member for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Clinton Foundation’s Too Small to Fail campaign.

Jared Blumenfeld

As Secretary for Environmental Protection, Blumenfeld oversees the state’s efforts to fight climate change, protect air and water quality, regulate pesticides and toxic substances, achieve the state’s recycling and waste reduction goals, and advance environmental justice. As a member of the Governor’s cabinet, he advises the Governor on environmental policy. From 2009 to 2016, he served under former President Barack Obama as Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Pacific Southwest, a region that includes California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, the Pacific Islands and 148 tribal nations. Previously, Blumenfeld was Director of San Francisco’s Department of Environment from 2001 to 2009, first under former Mayor Willie Brown and then under Gavin Newsom. He and Mayor Newsom worked effectively to make San Francisco “the most sustainable city in the nation” by developing a municipal Environment Code that includes mandatory recycling and composting, bans on Styrofoam and plastic bags, and a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Jared Blumenfeld was appointed to his position by Governor Gavin Newsom in January, 2019.

Josh Fryday

Josh Fryday was appointed California’s Chief Service Officer by Governor Newsom to lead service, volunteer and civic engagement efforts throughout the state in July, 2019. Fryday is a military veteran and the former Mayor of Novato, which is also his hometown. He also served as President of Golden State Opportunity (GSO), leading the expansion and implementation of the California Earned Income Tax Credit and other programs to provide financial security to millions of low-income working people in California. Prior to GSO, he served as Chief Operating Officer for NextGen Climate, a leading national organization focused on climate change and clean energy. Fryday received his law degree from UC Berkeley School of Law and clerked in the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California as well as the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office for then District Attorney Kamala Harris. He currently serves as Board Chair for Demos, a national think-tank focused on issues of democracy and economic equality.

Justice Martin Jenkins

Governor Gavin Newsom’s first appointment to the California Supreme Court is retired Justice Martin Jenkins. If confirmed, Jenkins would also be only the third Black man to serve as a justice in the state court’s history — the first in 29 years — and the court’s first openly gay justice. In the past two years Judge Jenkins has been Newsom’s judicial appointments secretary. A San Francisco native, Jenkins grew up cleaning office buildings and churches with his father, who was a clerk for the city and county of San Francisco and a janitor. After working as a prosecutor for Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, he was appointed by former President Ronald Reagan as a trial attorney in the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice. President Bill Clinton later named him to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him to the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, where he served from 2008 to 2019. He still must be confirmed by the state’s Commission on Judicial Appointments.

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