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Governor Newsom Announces Appointments 8.11.23

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the following appointments:

Elizabeth “Liz” Basnett, of Sacramento, has been appointed Director of the California Emergency Medical Services Authority, where she has been Acting Director since 2021. Basnett was Chief Resilience Officer at the California Health and Human Services Agency from 2020 to 2021 and a Senior Managing Associate at Hagerty Consulting from 2018 to 2020. She was Chief of Planning and Preparedness at the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency from 2017 to 2018. She was a Disaster Preparedness Program Representative for the New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services from 2016 to 2017 and Deputy Director for the Callaway County Emergency Management Agency from 2012 to 2016. Basnett earned an Executive Master of Professional Studies degree in Emergency and Disaster Management from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from the University of Missouri. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $221,436. Basnett is registered without party preference.

Mastaneh “Marcie” Kahbody, of Folsom, has been appointed Deputy Secretary of Technology, Agency and Chief Information Officer at the California State Transportation Agency. She has been Deputy Secretary of Technology at the California State Transportation Agency since 2015. Kahbody was Contract Integration and Oversight Chief for the California Department of Health Care Services, Medical Dental Division from 2013 to 2015. She was Technology Operations Chief in the Public Safety Communication Office of the California Technology Agency from 2009 to 2013. Kahbody was Technology Operations Chief in the Telecommunications Division of the Department of General Services from 1998 to 2008. She was Local Area Network Administrator in the Telecommunications Division of the Department of General Services from 1991 to 1998. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from California State University, Sacramento. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $193,992. Kahbody is a Democrat.

Benjamin “Ben” Belnap, of Sacramento, has been appointed Inspector General of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Belnap has been a Deputy State Auditor at the California State Auditor’s Office since 2015, where he has held several roles since 2001, including Principal Auditor, Senior Auditor I, Senior Auditor II, Senior Auditor III, and Staff Auditor. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Brigham Young University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $192,384. Belnap is registered without party preference.

Ken Lau, of San Francisco, has been appointed Chief Counsel of the California Department of Industrial Relations, where he has been Assistant Chief Counsel since 2016 and was Industrial Relations Counsel from 2013 to 2016. Lau was an Associate at Dhillon and Smith from 2012 to 2013 and at the Law Offices of Ellyn Moscowitz from 2009 to 2011. Lau earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Rhetoric and Legal Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $192,156. Lau is registered without party preference.

Norma Salazar-Ibarra, of Sacramento, has been appointed Deputy Director, Legislation, Regulations and Community Engagement at the California Department of Developmental Services. Salazar-Ibarra has been Senior Advisor in the Office of Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva since 2023 and has served in several roles there since 2013, including Legislative Director, Senior Policy Advisor, Legislative Assistant and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Secondary Education Graduate Fellow. She served as a Student Support Specialist at the Growth Sector Orange County Bridge 2 Engineering Program from 2012 to 2013. Salazar-Ibarra was a General Education Instructor for Project Avanzando at Art, Research and Curriculum Associates from 2011 to 2012. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chicano and Latino Studies, Human Development and Sociology, a Master of Science degree in Counseling, and a Personnel Pupil Services Credential from California State University, Long Beach. She earned a Master of Education degree in Prevention Science and Practice from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $157,704. Salazar-Ibarra is a Democrat.

Jeremiah Hallisey, of Alamo, has been appointed to the State Coastal Conservancy. Hallisey has been President at Hallisey and Johnson since 1971. He is a member of the San Francisco Bar Association, the Energy Bar Association and the California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperation Trust Board of Trustees. Hallisey earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, a Master of Arts degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Boston College. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Hallisey is a Democrat.

Oscar Gonzales, of Davis, has been reappointed to the California Horse Racing Board, where he has served since 2019. Gonzales has been Vice President for Strategy at Golden State Renewable Energy since 2023. He served in the Biden Administration as Assistant Secretary of Administration at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and was also a Senior Advisor on Immigration from 2021 to 2023. He was Vice President of Government Relations for Western States at Goldman Sachs from 2020 to 2021. He was Vice President of Government and Community Relations at Aura Financial Corporation from 2017 to 2020. He was a Consultant for the Cal State Los Angeles Dreamers Resource Center in 2017. Gonzales served as an Obama appointee in multiple roles at the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 2009 to 2017, including State Executive Director at the Farm Service Agency, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the Secretary, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration, and Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. He was Associate Director of the United Farm Workers Foundation from 2007 to 2009 and was a cofounder and member of Rural Forward. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Gonzales is a Democrat.

Chris Laszcz-Davis, of Orinda, has been reappointed to the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, where she has served since 2018. Laszcz-Davis has been President of the Environmental Quality Organization since 2002. She was Vice President of Corporate Environmental Affairs, Health, Safety, Operational Integrity and Product Stewardship at Kaiser Aluminum and Chemicals Corporation from 1980 to 2002. Laszcz-Davis was an Industrial Hygiene Engineer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from 1977 to 1980. She was a Regional West Coast Manager of Medical and Occupational Hygiene Programs for the U.S. Department of Energy from 1974 to 1977. Laszcz-Davis is co-chair of the Occupational Hygiene Training Association and a member of the American Society of Safety Professionals Governmental Affairs Committee, where she was chair of the Task Force on Total Worker Health from 2019 to 2020. Laszcz-Davis is a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association Grand Challenges Leadership Team. She was president of the California Industrial Hygiene Council from 2010 to 2012 and of the American Academy of Industrial Hygiene from 1990 to 1991. She earned a Master of Science degree in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Biology from Notre Dame College. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Laszcz-Davis is a Democrat.

Joseph M. Alioto Jr., of San Francisco, has been appointed to the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board. Alioto Jr. has been an Attorney at Alioto Legal since 2020. He was a Partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP from 2019 to 2020. Alioto Jr. served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of California from 2015 to 2019 and at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona from 2012 to 2015. He was an Attorney at the Alioto Law Firm from 2002 to 2012. Alioto Jr. earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgetown University. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Alioto Jr. is a Democrat.

Nola Kennedy, of Los Angeles, has been reappointed to the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, where she has served since 2018. Kennedy has been a Professor and Department Chair at California State University, Northridge since 2013. She was a Lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles from 2012 to 2013, where she held several positions from 2000 to 2012, including Assistant Researcher and Adjunct Assistant Professor. Kennedy was Manager of Industrial Hygiene Servies at Drucker Health and Safety Management Inc. from 1987 to 1991. She is a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association. Kennedy earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree and a Master of Science degree in Environmental Health Science – Industrial Hygiene from the University of California, Los Angeles. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Genetics from the University of California, Berkeley. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Kennedy is a Democrat.

David Thomas, of Manteca, has been reappointed to the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, where he has served since 2010. Thomas has been President of the Northern California District Council of Laborers since 2017, where he has held several positions since 1994, including Assistant to the Business Manager and Business Representative. He was a Business Agent at Laborers Local Union 73 from 2001 to 2009, where he was a Business Representative from 1987 to 1994. Thomas is a member of the San Joaquin Building and Construction Trades Council. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Thomas is a Democrat.

Mark Arabo, of San Diego, has been appointed to the 22nd District Agricultural Association, San Diego County Fair Board of Directors. Arabo has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Refined Management since 2015. He was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Neighborhood Market Association from 2008 to 2015 and a member of the Marketing and Sales Team for Anheuser-Busch from 2004 to 2006. Arabo served on the California Workforce Development Board from 2019 to 2023. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Arabo is a Democrat.

Richard Hobin, of Antioch, has been appointed to the 23rd District Agricultural Association, Contra Costa County Fair Board of Directors. He has been Owner and an Attorney at Hobin & Hobin LLP since 1977. He served at the rank of O-3 in the U.S. Navy in 1974. Hobin is a member of the Lone Tree Golf Course Board of Directors, the Contra Costa County Bar Association, the California State Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association and the Rotary Club of the Delta. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California College of the Law, San Francisco. This position does not require Senate confirmation and there is no compensation. Hobin is a Democrat.

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