Lieutenant Governor of California
Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi was the speaker at the October 2008 meeting,
which focused on water science and policy. The title of his talk was "California's Water Crisis: Innovative Solutions for an Innovative State". He served in the State Assembly from 1974-1976 and in the State
Senate from 1976-1990, including a term as Senate Majority Leader. He became California's first
elected Insurance Commissioner, serving from 1991-1995, then was appointed by President Bill Clinton
as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior from 1995-1998. He returned to the
California Department of Insurance in 2003, after his reelection as Insurance Commissioner.
During his 14 years as a State Senator and two years in the Assembly, Garamendi chaired the Joint
Committee on Science and Technology, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, the Senate Revenue and
Taxation Committee, and served as the Senate Majority Leader. He authored laws that protected Lake
Tahoe and Mono Lake, reformed health care delivery, established emergency medical services, created
a work oriented welfare program, revised the State's tax code, and developed a state agenda for
economic competitiveness and scientific advancement. Additionally, he initiated a successful ballot
proposition that provided $18 billion for mass transportation and highways and funded senior centers
across the State. He was also instrumental in the creation of CCST.
As Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of
the Interior, he negotiated the Headwaters Forest
Agreement, conducted the Cal-Fed water negotiations, and put an end to the dumping of nuclear wastes
in the California Desert. Along with other key department deputies, he worked with Al Gore to
prepare the American agenda for the Kyoto Climate Change Conference. He also advanced the protection
of National Parks and negotiated the largest habitat conservation plans in the Western States.
Reelected California's Insurance Commissioner in 2002, he set about rebuilding the Department into
the best consumer protection agency in the nation.
Garamendi is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Business School,
earning an MBA. A former Academic All-American football player and champion wrestler, he later
volunteered and served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia with his wife, Patti. They have six grown
children and nine grandchildren.