John Laird Appointed as Secretary for Natural Resources


Posted on 06 January 2011

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By Warner Chabot
California League of Conservation Voters

As one of his first actions, Governor Jerry Brown has appointed the Honorable John Laird as California Secretary for Natural Resources.  This is a superb decision.  A longtime environmental champion, John Laird served with distinction for six years as an Assemblyman representing the central coast counties of Santa Cruz and Monterey.  During this period, John received a 100% rating from both the California League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club for his votes on environmental issues.

The California League of Conservation Voters 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.

Laird has an impressive record of environmental leadership during his twenty-three years in elected office. While serving in the California Assembly, John distinguished himself as a leader both in the environmental community and with his colleagues on budget and environmental issues.  Laird demonstrated both political sophistication and compassion in his efforts to protect and invest in California’s precious natural resources. As noted in CLCV’s 2008 Scorecard, Laird was “the highest-ranking voice for the environment in the inner circle of leadership, the trusted and respected chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, and a dedicated friend and mentor to environmental advocates.”

As Budget Chair, Laird worked hard to reverse the persistent trend of the state’s under-funding of natural resources and environmental protection. One of his most significant achievements included allocating $250 million to the state budget to begin funding the $1 billion backlog in state parks deferred maintenance, providing for $19 million to protect and manage California’s ocean resources and augmenting the Department of Fish and Game’s funding by over $70 million.

California’s enormous budget deficit will create severe challenges for the managers of our natural resources.  John will be required to make tough choices that balance the need to protect the environment with fewer dollars. We look forward to working with John to face these challenges.

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Warner Chabot is the CEO of the California League of Conservation Voters.