Gov. Gavin Newsom Announces Four New Political Appointments

From the state capital of Sacramento on Thursday, the governor announced the appointments of Kimberly Rutledge, Elia Gallardo, Mayra Vega, and Taryn Smith-Kerr.

California's current governor

Kimberly Rutledge, 47, of Sacramento, has been appointed Deputy Director of Legislation and Communications at the California Department of Rehabilitation. Rutledge has been Adult Protective Services Program Liaison at the California Department of Social Services since 2019, where she was Chief of the Adult Programs Policy and Quality Assurance Branch from 2016 to 2019. She held several positions at United Domestic Workers of America, AFSCME Local 3930 from 2012 to 2016 including Budget and Policy Analyst and Assistant Legislative Director. Rutledge was an Independent Policy Consultant at the County Welfare Directors Association of California from 2011 to 2012. She was Sweeney Graduate Intern on Disability Policy at the National Academy of Social Insurance in 2011. Rutledge was a Graduate Policy Intern at Disability Community Resource Center from 2010 to 2011. She was a Graduate Clinical Social Work Intern at OPICA Adult Day Program and Counseling Center from 2009 to 2010. Rutledge was a News Copy Editor and Designer at the Sacramento Bee from 2005 to 2009. Rutledge is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and the American Association of University Women. She earned a Master of Social Welfare degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $136,872. Rutledge is a Democrat.

Elia Gallardo, 54, of West Sacramento, has been appointed Deputy Director of Legislative and Governmental Affairs at the California Department of Health Care Access and Information. Gallardo has been Director of Government Affairs at the County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California since 2019. She was Director of Policy Research at Insure the Uninsured Project from 2017 to 2019. Gallardo was Executive Director of Government Relations and Program Oversight at the Alameda Alliance for Health from 2011 to 2017. She was Director of Government Affairs at California Primary Care Association from 1998 to 2011. She is a member of the California Bar Association. Gallardo earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $147,084. Gallardo is a Democrat.

Mayra Vega, 37, of Woodland, has been appointed Deputy Director of Communications and Planning at the California Department of Health Care Access and Information. Vega has been Regional Business Development Executive at Labcorp since 2021. She has been Mayor of the City of Woodland since 2022 and has served on the Woodland City Council since 2020. Vega was Director of Strategy and Business Development at Sutter Health from 2019 to 2021. She was Director of Business Development at Dignity Health from 2017 to 2019. Vega was Administrative Director at Adventist Health from 2011 to 2017. She was Specialist of Marketing and Sales at Diageo Plc. from 2003 to 2011. She is a member of the Woodland Community College Foundation Committee and Luna Vista Rotary Club. Vega earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Sonoma State University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $142,716. Vega is a Democrat.

Taryn Smith-Kerr, 54, of Sacramento, has been appointed Strategic Initiatives and Program Advisor at the California Department of Developmental Services. Smith-Kerr has served as Special Consultant to the Department of Developmental Services since 2021. She was Principal and Chief Consultant at the California State Senate Human Services Committee from 2015 to 2021. Smith-Kerr held several positions at the California State Senate, Office of Research from 2008 to 2015 including Policy Consultant and Deputy Director. She was Executive Officer at the State Board of Optometry from 2003 to 2008. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $151,800. Smith-Kerr is a Democrat.

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