John GaramendiThe information in this biography was supplied by the subject.
The Lieutenant Governor of California is tasked with addressing many issues of utmost importance to our Golden State, including higher education, the environment, and economic development. The Lieutenant Governor is the President of the state Senate, a Regent of the University of California, a Trustee of the California State University system, a member of the California State Lands Commission, and the Chairman of the California Commission for Economic Development. In addition, he also serves as Acting Governor whenever the Governor leaves the state or is unable to serve.
On January 8, 2007, John Garamendi became the 46th Lieutenant Governor of California, bringing to the office more than 32 years of public service. He is committed to building the Lieutenant Governor’s office into a powerful advocate for families and hard-working Californians, improving higher education, health care, and the environment, and boosting job creation.
After serving as California’s first elected Insurance Commissioner beginning in 1991, Garamendi was reelected to the position in 2002. He fought to make the Department of Insurance the best consumer protection agency in the nation, leading efforts to provide consumer rebates, significantly reduce auto rates, add protections for homeowners, and stop insurance brokers from overcharging business consumers. He also created an aggressive anti-fraud police force and initiated legislative reforms that ultimately led to a 58% reduction in the cost of workers’ compensation claims.
Appointed in 1995 by President Bill Clinton as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Garamendi 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. He worked with Al Gore and other leaders to prepare the American agenda for the Kyoto Climate Change Conference. In addition, he furthered protections for our National Parks and negotiated the largest habitat conservation plans in the Western States.
In the years prior, Garamendi served for 14 years as a State Senator and two years as an Assemblyman, authoring laws that protected the environment, reformed health care, created a work-oriented welfare program, revised the tax code, and addressed California’s economic competitiveness. He also initiated a successful ballot proposition that provided $18 billion for mass transportation and highways and funded senior centers.
Garamendi is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where he was an all-conference and academic All-American football player, and a champion wrestler. Prior to receiving an MBA from Harvard Business School, he and his wife, Patti, were Peace Corps volunteers in Ethiopia. They have six children and nine grandchildren. They live near Sacramento and operate a cattle ranch in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.