Celebrating Women’s History Month at the CPUC

 IN RECOGNITION OF WOMEN COMMISSIONERS 2021

 

 Celebrating Women's History Month

WOMEN COMMISSIONERS SINCE 1911

1977: Claire Dedrick 2005: Dian Grueneich 2014: Liane Randolph
1981: Priscilla Grew 2006: Rachelle Chong 2016: Martha Guzman Aceves
1989: Patricia Eckert 2010: Nancy Ryan 2019: Genevieve Shiroma
2000: Loretta Lynch 2011: Catherine Sandoval 2019: Marybel Batjer
2003: Susan Kennedy 2012: Carla Peterman 2021: Darcie Houck
 
Click on a name above to go directly to their biography.  
Click here to see a PDF version.
 

 
Claire DedrickClaire Dedrick became the first woman to serve on the California Public Utilities Commission when Governor Jerry Brown appointed her on July 1, 1977. Prior to joining the CPUC, she had been an environmental activist and leader in the 1960s of the Save the Bay Campaign in San Francisco, which resulted in stopping industrial development along San Francisco Bay. She later founded and became the first director of the Peninsula Conservation Center on the San Francisco Bay Peninsula. She also served as Secretary for the State Resources Agency in Governor Brown's cabinet, as well as a member of the state Air Resources Board, executive officer of the California State Lands Commission and a national board member of the Sierra Club.  Interestingly, she said she became an environmental activist while opposing a road expansion project near her home, where a county engineer yelled at her to get back to her kitchen and let him build his road—she founded a public relations firm specializing in land-use issues. BACK TO TOP
 
Priscilla GrewPriscilla Grew was appointed to the CPUC by Governor Jerry Brown on March 25, 1981. She spent 11 years serving as a state government official in California applying geosciences to public policy, working with earthquake and landslide hazard mitigation and geothermal energy. In addition to serving at the CPUC, she is a former Director of the California Department of Conservation. She is now a Professor Emerita in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Nebraska. She formally retired from the university after 22 years of service, which included time as vice chancellor for research, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences and director of the State Museum. She also served as the university’s Coordinator for the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, under which Native American human remains from past university archaeological collections are returned to tribes through a complex federal process. BACK TO TOP
 
Patricia M. Eckert was appointed to the CPUC by Governor George Deukmejian on March 13, 1989 and became CPUC President two years later, its first woman President. A lawyer, Eckert also served as Chair of the National Association of Regulatory & Utility Commissioners. Before practicing law, Ms. Eckert had been a business and marketing executive for Proctor & Gamble and for the Dow Chemical Company. After serving on the Commission, she continued to practice law and was a consultant in the energy and telecommunications industries. BACK TO TOP
 
Loretta LynchLoretta Lynch was appointed to the CPUC by Governor Gray Davis on January 5, 2000 and served as CPUC President from 2000 to 2002. She later taught at the Goldman School for Public Policy at UC Berkeley. Prior to her appointment to the CPUC, Lynch was the Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. She also served as a partner in the litigation firm of Keker & Van Nest before entering public service and worked in key roles in a number of statewide and national political campaigns. Lynch also worked as class action counsel for the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. BACK TO TOP
 
Susan P. KennedySusan P. Kennedy was appointed to the CPUC by Governor Gray Davis on January 10, 2003. Prior to joining the CPUC, Ms. Kennedy served as Cabinet Secretary and Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Davis and later served as Chief of Staff to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. She has also served as Communications Director for U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and is a former Executive Director of the California Democratic Party and helped manage several California political campaigns. BACK TO TOP
 
Dian M. GrueneichDian M. Grueneich was appointed to the CPUC by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on January 1, 2005. A national expert on energy and environmental issues, she also served on the Board of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy and was a past President of the Board of the California League of Conservation Voters. Prior to her appointment to the CPUC, she had founded the law and consulting firm Grueneich Resource Advocates. She was Staff Counsel at the California Energy Commission from 1977 to 1982. BACK TO TOP
 
Rachelle ChongRachelle Chong was appointed to the CPUC by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on January 11, 2006. Prior to coming to the CPUC, Chong was a lawyer at the firm of Kadison, Pfaelzer, Woodard Quinn & Rossi and represented broadcasters and early cellular applicants before the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C. When she returned to California, she joined the international law firm of Graham & James and represented clients before the CPUC for seven years. In 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated Ms. Chong to a Republican seat on the FCC, where she became the first Asian-American FCC Commissioner, serving until November 1997. BACK TO TOP
 
Nancy RyanNancy Ryan was appointed to the CPUC by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on January 27, 2010. Before her appointment, Ryan, an economist with expertise in energy markets, climate change policy, and the public health and ecological impacts of energy production, had spent four years at the CPUC as chief of staff and chief energy adviser to former CPUC President Michael Peevey and as the CPUC’s Deputy Executive Director for Policy. BACK TO TOP
 
Catherine J.K. SandovalCatherine J.K. Sandoval was appointed to the CPUC by Governor Jerry Brown on January 25, 2011, making her the first Latina to ever serve as a CPUC Commissioner.  She is a tenured professor at Santa Clara University School of Law, where she joined the faculty in 2004 and taught Telecommunications, Broadcast, and Internet Law, Antitrust Law, and Contracts. As an Adjunct Professor at U.C. Berkeley School of Law, she taught Communications and Internet Law. She also served as Undersecretary and Staff Director of the California Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency, and she directed the Federal Communications Commission's Office of Communications Business Opportunities and was a senior manager at the FCC from 1994-1999. In her private sector legal work, she was Vice-President and General Counsel for Z-Spanish Media Corporation, a broadcast, Internet, and outdoor media company that merged with Entravision Communications, and was an Associate at the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson. BACK TO TOP  
 
Carla PetermanCarla Peterman was appointed to the CPUC by Governor Jerry Brown on Dec. 21, 2012. Before her CPUC appointment, Peterman served on the California Energy Commission, where she was the lead commissioner for renewables, transportation, and natural gas. She also is a former board member of The Utility Reform Network. In 2019, she was appointed by California Governor Gavin Newsom to chair the Commission on Catastrophic Wildfire Cost and Recovery, which played a critical role in developing recommendations that led to passage of legislation related reducing wildfire risks from utility equipment. She is currently Senior Vice President of Strategy and Regulatory Affairs at Southern California Edison. BACK TO TOP
 
Liane RandolphLiane Randolph was appointed to the CPUC by Governor Jerry Brown on December 23, 2014. She formerly served as Deputy Secretary and General Counsel at the California Natural Resources Agency and was appointed to that position by Governor Brown in May 2011. She is an expert in government and administrative law. She was formerly an attorney at the law firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. Randolph served as Chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission from 2003 to 2007. Prior to her service at the FPPC, Randolph practiced municipal law and previously served as City Attorney for the cities of San Leandro and Suisun City. On December 9, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom announced his appointment of Randolph as Chair of the California Air Resources Board. BACK TO TOP
 
Martha Guzman AcevesMartha Guzman Aceves was appointed to the CPUC by Governor Jerry Brown on December 28, 2016. Prior to joining the CPUC she served as deputy legislative affairs secretary in the Office of the Governor, focusing on natural resources, environmental protection, energy and food and agriculture. She was Sustainable Communities program director for the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation from 2005 to 2011. From 2006 to 2008, she worked with Swanton Berry Farm on human resources issues, including a new employee-stock ownership program. She was legislative coordinator for United Farm Workers from 1999 to 2005, working on labor, immigration, and environmental issues. In 2010, she co-founded Communities for a New California, a charitable organization promoting increased civic engagement of underrepresented communities. BACK TO TOP
 
Genevieve ShiromaGenevieve Shiroma was appointed to the CPUC by Governor Gavin Newsom on January 22, 2019. Prior to joining the CPUC, Commissioner Shiroma served as a member of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board from 1999 to 2019, serving as chair 1999 to 2006, 2011 to 2014, and 2017 to 2019. Previously, she was Chief of the Air Quality Branch at the California Air Resources Board from 1990 to 1999, an air quality supervisor from 1984 to 1990, and an air quality engineer from 1978 to 1984. For five terms, from 1999 to 2018, Commissioner Shiroma was the elected director of Ward 4 of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. BACK TO TOP
 
Marybel BatjerMarybel Batjer was appointed President of the CPUC on July 12, 2019 by Governor Gavin Newsom and reappointed as President on December 30, 2020. Batjer served as the first Secretary of the California Government Operations Agency from 2013 to 2019. Prior to that, she was Vice President for Public Policy and Corporate Social Responsibility at Caesars Entertainment Inc. Batjer also served as Cabinet Secretary to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger from 2003 to 2005, Chief of Staff to Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn from 2000 to 2003 and Undersecretary at the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency from 1997 to 1998. In her role as Secretary of the Government Operations Agency, Batjer has won several awards, including Governing Magazine's national 2017 Public Official of the Year, the American Society for Public Administration (Sacramento Chapter) 2018 Liz Hill Public Official of the Year and California Woman Lead: Woman of the Year. During her service at the federal level, Batjer was honored with the Medal for Distinguished Public Service with Bronze Palm (highest civilian honor) from the Department of Defense, and the Medal for Distinguished Public Service from the Department of the Navy. BACK TO TOP
 
Commissioner Darcie L HouckDarcie L. Houck was appointed to the CPUC by Governor Gavin Newsom on February 9, 2021. She formerly served as Chief Counsel for the California Energy Commission since 2019 and was an Administrative Law Judge at the CPUC from 2016 to 2019, a Partner at Fredericks Peebles & Morgan from 2005 to 2016, and Staff Counsel and Policy Advisor at the California Energy Commission from 2000 to 2005. Houck is an expert in nuclear decommissioning, environmental equity, and safety policy. She has an extensive background representing Native American tribes throughout the country on matters involving energy, natural resources, land claims, and water rights, among others. She is a member of the California Indian Law Association, California Lawyers Association, Schwartz-Levi Inn of Court, Women Lead and the Association of Women in Water, Energy, and Environment. BACK TO TOP
 
 


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