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Press Release · September 11, 2013

Phil Isenberg Joins PPIC Board, Donna Lucas Elected Chair

Patrick Murphy Named Research Director

SAN FRANCISCO, September 11, 2013—The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) welcomed three distinguished Californians into key leadership roles today. Phil Isenberg, chair of the Delta Stewardship Council and a former Assembly member, joined the board of directors. Donna Lucas, CEO and president of Lucas Public Affairs, was elected board chair. Patrick Murphy, professor of politics at the University of San Francisco, joined PPIC as director of research and senior fellow.

Phil Isenberg has served since 2010 as chair of the Delta Stewardship Council, which was created by the state legislature to achieve the coequal goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem. He was chair of the California Marine Life Protection Act Blue Ribbon Task Force and chairman of the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force, whose recommendations provided much of the structure for the major changes in water policy enacted in 2009. Previously, Isenberg served as a member of the Assembly, representing parts of Sacramento, Contra Costa, and San Joaquin Counties. He was also mayor of Sacramento and a Sacramento City Council member. Isenberg holds a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He has also been in private practice and served as president of Isenberg-O’Haren Government Relations. Isenberg was elected to a three-year term on the PPIC board and is eligible for a maximum of three terms.

Donna Lucas is a widely recognized expert in media and political affairs. In 2006, she founded Lucas Public Affairs, a California-based strategic consulting, public affairs, and communications firm. She has counseled large corporations, labor unions, nonprofits, and political candidates. Lucas has worked on numerous statewide initiative campaigns, covering issues as diverse as gaming, housing, education, local government, campaign finance, and energy. Previously, she was deputy chief of staff for strategic planning and initiatives to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and chief of staff to First Lady Maria Shriver. Lucas was also the global and public affairs practice leader for the international public relations firm Porter Novelli and president and CEO of the Nelson Communications Group. She served as deputy press secretary for Governor George Deukmejian, deputy treasurer for Tom Hayes, and California press secretary for President George H.W. Bush. She has been a member of PPIC’s Statewide Survey Advisory Committee since 1998 and a member of PPIC’s board of directors since 2007. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s school of journalism.

Patrick Murphy has been a professor of politics at the University of San Francisco since 1996, focusing much of his research on policy implementation and public management. He served as the director of USF’s McCarthy Center for Public Service from 2004 to 2009. Murphy’s recent work has focused on education policy, with an emphasis on the role of state education agencies in improving student performance. He has also published works on higher education finance and governance, and has held appointments with the Office of Management and Budget in the Executive Office of the President and the RAND Corporation. Murphy has been an adjunct fellow at PPIC and author of PPIC publications. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison a master of public affairs from the University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame. Murphy will oversee PPIC’s research efforts, providing intellectual leadership and strategic direction to advance PPIC’s mission. As PPIC’s senior research manager, he will also hold the Thomas C. Sutton Chair in Policy Research.

“We are fortunate to have three dynamic and experienced leaders take on important roles at PPIC,” said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO. “Their deep knowledge of public policy and commitment to shaping a better future for California will be invaluable assets in our work.”

In addition to Baldassare, Isenberg, and Lucas, current PPIC board members are Ruben Barrales, president and CEO of GROW Elect; María Blanco, vice president of civic engagement at the California Community Foundation; attorney Brigitte Bren; Walter B. Hewlett, chair of the board of directors at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; author and farmer David Mas Masumoto; Steven Merksamer, senior partner at Neilsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Gross & Leoni, LLP; Kim Polese, chairman of ClearStreet, Inc.; and Thomas Sutton, retired chairman and CEO of the Pacific Life Insurance Company.

More information about the PPIC board is available at


PPIC is dedicated to informing and improving public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research on major economic, social, and political issues. The institute was established in 1994 with an endowment from William R. Hewlett. As a private operating foundation, PPIC does not take or support positions on any ballot measure or on any local, state, or federal legislation, nor does it endorse, support, or oppose any political parties or candidates for public office.