California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara announced new members of his executive team, including the first Latina chief deputy in the history of the California Department of Insurance.
The new executive team members join an existing leadership team.
“I am proud of naming our first Latina chief deputy in the Department’s history because I believe all levels of government should reflect California’s diverse communities,” Lara said in a statement. “Our team will embrace innovation, with the first in the nation executive-level position engaging the insurance industry in the fight against climate change. Protecting California’s consumers demands we confront the growing threats from wildfires, fraud, and the rising cost of health care in partnership with the Governor and Legislature.”
Chief Deputy Catalina Hayes-Bautista joins the CDI after serving as deputy legislative affairs secretary in the office of Gov. Jerry Brown. She previously served as deputy secretary for legislative affairs at the California Environmental Protection Agency, was a principal consultant in the office of Speaker Toni Atkins, was legislative director for Lara when he was a state Senators, and was legislative aide in the office of California State Assemblywoman Fiona Ma.
Senior Deputy Commissioner and Legislative Director Michael Martinez rejoins the CDI, where he was deputy insurance commissioner and legislative director under Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. He was previously a deputy legislative affairs secretary and deputy appointments secretary for Brown.
Michael Peterson will serve as deputy commissioner for climate and sustainability, believed to be the nation’s first executive-level position focused on engaging the insurance industry in the fight against climate change. He previously served as legislative consultant to Senator Lara, focusing on climate change, natural resources and energy policy, and as a consultant for the California State Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water.
Director of Community Outreach Julia Juarez will lead the CDI’s engagement with California communities. She previously served as District Director for Senator Lara when he represented the 33rd Senate District.
Special Assistant David Green joins the Department after serving in the Capitol office of Senator Lara.
Michael Soller will serve as deputy commissioner for communications and press relations in Northern California. He previously served as communications director to Senator Lara and as communications director for the California Democratic Party under former Chairman and Senate President pro Tempore-Emeritus John Burton.
Lara is the eighth Insurance Commissioner of California since voters created the position in 1988, and the first openly LGBTQ person to be elected to statewide office in California.
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