SAN FRANCISCO, California, September 4, 2007 – The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) announced today that Ruben Barrales, Donna Lucas, and Leon Panetta have been unanimously elected to its Board of Directors.
“The election of these distinguished Californians will greatly strengthen PPIC’s reputation as one of the nation’s leading, nonpartisan organizations focused on informing and improving state-level public policy,” says Thomas Sutton, Chairman of PPIC’s Board of Directors and retired Chairman and CEO of the Pacific Life Insurance Company.
“To have three individuals of such great talent, varied experience, and civic dedication joining our ranks is extraordinarily energizing and fortunate,” says Mark Baldassare, PPIC’s President and CEO. “With the distinguished, diverse group of leaders that make up PPIC’s board, the institute is now poised to become even more engaged and influential in the state’s policymaking process.”
Ruben Barrales is President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. He has had a distinguished career as both an elected official and an advocate for business. He served as Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush for five years, acting as the president’s liaison to state and local elected officials. He was also the California Republican Party nominee for State Controller in 1998 — and the first Latino ever elected to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, eventually becoming its president. Barrales was President and CEO of Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network, a civic organization that advocates for public policies favorable to the Silicon Valley economy. He holds a joint B.A. in political science and administrative studies from the University of California, Riverside.
Donna Lucas is Founder of Lucas Public Affairs Group and Of Counsel to the global public relations firm Porter Novelli. She has provided strategic counsel to large corporate clients, labor unions, nonprofits, and political candidates. She has worked on numerous statewide initiative campaigns, covering issues such as gaming, housing, education, local government, campaign finance, and energy. Lucas served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Planning and Initiatives to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and as Chief of Staff to First Lady Maria Shriver. She has been a member of PPIC’s Statewide Survey Advisory Committee since 1998 and was CEO of the Nelson Communications Group. She graduated from the School of Journalism at the University of Southern California.
Leon Panetta is Director of the Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy. From 1977 to 1993, he was U.S. Congressman from California’s 16th (now 17th) district. He played a key role in the 1990 budget summit and authored numerous congressional measures, including the Hunger Prevention Act, the Fair Employment Practices Resolution, and measures to protect the California coast. He left Congress to become Director of the Office of Management and Budget for the administration of President Bill Clinton. In 1994, he was appointed the president’s Chief of Staff and has been widely credited with bringing order and focus to White House operations and policymaking. In 2006, he was chosen to serve on the Iraq Study Group and also served as a member of the Independent Task Force on Immigration and America’s Future. Panetta holds a B.A. from Santa Clara University and a J.D. from Santa Clara University Law School.
In addition to Mark Baldassare and Thomas Sutton, current members of PPIC’s Board of Directors include: Linda Griego, President and CEO, Griego Enterprises Inc.; Edward K. Hamilton, Chairman, Hamilton, Rabinovitz & Alschuler, Inc.; Gary K. Hart, former State Senator and Secretary of Education, State of California; Walter B. Hewlett, Director, Center for Computer Assisted Research in the Humanities; Ki Suh Park, Design and Managing Partner, Gruen Associates; Constance L. Rice, Co-Director, The Advancement Project; Raymond L. Watson, Vice Chairman of the Board Emeritus, The Irvine Company; and Carol Whiteside, President, Great Valley Center.
The Public Policy Institute of California is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to 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.