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James Mayer

James Mayer is president & CEO of California Forward. Working with the Leadership Council, he develops and guides strategic reform projects, manages the executive team, and develops and works with project teams focused on specific governance challenges. In 2007, he was part of the team that led California Forward’s transition from a concept to an established organization. Previously, he was the founding executive director of the New California Network, a nonpartisan project seeking to improve the state’s fiscal decisionmaking, which helped to develop California Forward in 2007. Before that, he was executive director of the Little Hoover Commission, an independent and bipartisan state panel that reviews state programs and policies for efficiency and effectiveness. He managed the commission’s staff, oversaw the research and production of all commission studies, and represented the commission in a variety of public forums. Before he was appointed executive director in 1999, he was deputy executive director and project manager. Before entering public service, he was a newspaper journalist, working as a senior writer with the Sacramento Bee and as a staff writer with the Bakersfield Californian and the Press Tribune in Placer County. During his career as a journalist, he was recognized for his coverage of education and public resource issues. He serves on the board of the Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, as a director of the Yolo County Resource Conservation District, and as a member of the advisory board of the Inmate Correctional Education Project. He is also scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 139 in Davis. He was a mid-career fellow at the Schools of Communications and Natural Resources at the University of Michigan, and holds an associate of arts degree from Diablo Valley College. He also holds a master’s degree from the graduate program in public policy administration at California State University, Sacramento, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

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