“We have a big state with diverse water needs. Cities that need clean water to drink, farms that need irrigation to keep feeding the world, fragile ecosystems that must be protected,” said Governor Newsom in his State of the State address. “We need a portfolio approach to building water infrastructure and meeting long-term demand. To help bring this balance, I’m appointing a new chair of the California water board, Joaquin Esquivel.”
Joaquin Esquivel, 36, of Sacramento, has been designated Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, where he has served since 2017. Esquivel was assistant secretary for federal water policy at the California Natural Resources Agency from 2015 to 2017. He served in the Office of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer from 2007 to 2015 as a research assistant, legislative aide, and legislative assistant for water and agriculture issues, and as director of information and technology. Prior to that, he was a center youth manager at Gay Associated Youth from 2002 to 2004. Esquivel was confirmed by the California State Senate to the State Water Resources Control Board in 2018 and the compensation is $158,572. Esquivel is a Democrat.
Laurel Firestone, 40, of Sacramento, has been appointed to the State Water Resources Control Board. Firestone has been co-founder and co-director of the Community Water Center since 2006. She previously served as the director of the Rural Poverty Water Project at the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment from 2004 to 2006. She served on the Tulare County Water Commission from 2007 to 2012, and co‐chaired the Governor’s Drinking Water Stakeholder Group from 2012 to 2014. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $153,689. Firestone is a Democrat.
William Lyons, 68, of Modesto, has been appointed Agriculture Liaison in the Office of the Governor. Lyons has been chief executive officer of Lyons Investments Management, LLC since 1976. He previously served as Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture from 1999 to 2004. Lyons was selected as the western regional finalist for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation 2010 Conservationist of the Year Award and received the United States Department of Agriculture National Environmentalist Award. He has an extensive background in agriculture and water policy. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $175,008. Lyons is a Democrat.
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