Thursday, January 6, 2011

John Laird for everything

Today I found out that John Laird, former Assemblymember and State Senatorial hopeful from Santa Cruz was appointed as the CA Secretary of Resources by the newly sworn in Governor Jerry Brown. I was highly excited by the fact that John, who I consider an amazing legislator and activist and a very friendly individual to boot, would be given this incredible opportunity to continue to do amazing things.

From the Sacramento Bee
Apparently I am not the only one who is pleased with this appointment which has happened almost out of the gate for Brown. The CLCV lauded the appointment saying; "CLCV enthusiastically endorsed John when he ran for state office. We're equally thrilled that he will continue to protect California's natural, historical and cultural resources in this new role."

John Laird has an amazing history. He was the first openly gay mayors in the United States when in 1981 (a year before I was born mind you) he was mayor of Santa Cruz and broke boundaries again when he (and Mark Leno) became the two first openly gay Assemblymembers in the California legislature.

For many, that accomplishment could be enough to rest their laurels on; make their main issues geared around progressing rights for the homosexual community and, honestly, that would be impressive alone. John Laird, on the other hand, has also been a leader in the environmental field for as long as his political history has existed. While with the Santa Cruz City Council he worked with Save Our Shores to protect against offshore drilling. While with the State Assembly he passed an impressive list of environmental accomplishments including co-authoring the legislation that created the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, a "state agency created by bi-partisan legislation and signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2004... with the understanding that the environmental, economic and social well-being of the Sierra Nevada and its communities are closely linked and that the Region would benefit form an organization providing a strategic direction." While with the Assembly, John received a 100% score from both the California League of Conservation Voters and Sierra Club California for his votes on environmental issues which is very very rare.

He is even an extremely excellent writer and a hilarious commenter. I consider him a friend, not only personally, but to California and to the environmental and progressive movement. When he ran for State Senate against in a strange special election situation, I offered my help with Social Media and, had I not been overwhelmed with working at my new gig at the time, I would have been able to help more. Unfortunately he lost out to Sam Blakeslee, the former Assembly Minority leader in a very strangely formed Senate District. With this Gubernatorial appointment Laird is still building his political resume and hopefully will be able to leverage it for something in the future (John if you read this I would totally help out with a race for Governor some upcoming year).

As pointed out in the San Jose Mercury News, this is just one of many early appointments showing Brown's stance on ecological issues;
Political observers say the appointment underscores Brown's commitment to the environment. Also Tuesday, Brown reappointed Democrat Mary Nichols to chair of the California Air Resources Board. He's expected to appoint a new Secretary of Environmental Protection, another top environmental post, with the anticipated retirement of Linda Adams.

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