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Ethiopia RPCV Garamendi in 2006
Ethiopia RPCV Garamendi in 2006
Garamendi in 2006
California Insurance Commissioner
In 2002, more than a decade after selecting him California's first elected Insurance Commissioner, California voters again chose John Garamendi to lead the Department of Insurance and continue his mission to build the best consumer protection agency in the nation.
Deputy Secretary, US Department of the Interior
Following President Clinton’s appointment, Garamendi was confirmed by the US Senate and sworn into office on August 15, 1995, as Deputy Secretary of the Interior. As second in command, he and Secretary Babbitt formulated and coordinated the policy and strategy for the Interior’s eight bureaus. Garamendi quickly became the Department’s trouble shooter.
* Headwaters: Garamendi was the government’s lead negotiator in the effort to save Headwater’s, a 7,500 acre ancient redwood forest in California, and bring to an end the decade long battle between the Pacific Lumber Company and the environmental community.
* Endangered Species: Garamendi brought the Riverside Habit Conservation Plan to successful closure after it floundered for ten years. The Riverside plan, which protects 66,000 acres of rare habitat in the rapidly urbanizing region, has became a national model.
* Water Wars: Garamendi tackled the complex and heated California water wars. The “Garamendi process,” a conflict resolution procedure, forced the cities, farmers, fishing industry, and environmental community to negotiate a resolution to the conflict over implementation of the Central Valley Improvement Act. Garamendi also led the U.S. government’s negotiations in the on-going Bay/Delta program. This program seeks to restore the environment of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers and their delta, while providing for improved water supply and quality for farmers and California’s rapidly growing cities.
* Guam: Garamendi was appointed by President Clinton to be the Special U.S. Negotiator to resolve the long-standing issue of the status of the Island of Guam, a U.S. Territory. In this role he conducted two years of talks with the Guam government in an effort to settle the disputes on the nature of the island’s relationship to the United States.
* Tourism and Travel: He also lead the Interior Department’s tourism initiative to integrate the many natural, historic, and cultural resources within the department into the tourism and recreation sector of the economy, fulfilling the goals of the White House Conference on Travel and Tourism.
* Interior’s workforce: Garamendi created and implemented the Department-wide program to improve opportunities for minorities and women within the Department. His diversity task force developed the strategic plan, and he oversaw its implementation in the eight bureaus and 70,000 person workforce.
California Insurance Commissioner, State Senator, and Member of the Assembly
As California’s first elected Insurance Commissioner, Garamendi earned a reputation among state and national consumer organizations as the most effective protector of consumer interests in the nation. He successfully forced insurance companies to honor their commitments to consumers. He reduced homeowner, auto, and worker compensation rates, and significantly curtailed insurance fraud.
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. His laws protected Lake Tahoe and Mono Lake. He wrote laws that reformed health care delivery, established a work oriented welfare program, revised the State’s tax code, and developed a State agenda for economic competitiveness and scientific advancement. His ballot proposition provided $18 billion for mass transportation and highways.
Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Mission for Peace in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Congo Wars
As returned Peace Corps Volunteers who served in Ethiopia, John and Patti were distraught when war broke out between Ethiopia and its former province, Eritrea. In 1998 John organized a team of five returned volunteers who undertook a two-year mission to assist in securing peace. The team traveled to both countries to meet with the Ambassadors, Foreign Ministers, and the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea. The team also met with President Clinton and top U.S. officials. In the fall of 2001, the team conducted numerous meetings in America with expatriate groups from both countries, helping them to reconcile their differences and urging them to send the message of peace to their homeland. The team was invited to the Peace Signing Ceremony in Algiers at which time both leaders praised the team for its work and the key role that it had in the peace process. Building on that success, John has formed a new team that is actively engaged in negotiating a peace settlement in the Congo Civil War.
Partner, The Yucaipa Companies
In April of 1998 John Garamendi became a partner in the Yucaipa Companies, a Los Angeles based private investment firm. In December 2001, John left the Yucaipa Companies to focus fulltime on his campaign for California Insurance Commissioner.
Family and Education
John and his wife, Patti, have been married for 35 years. They have six children and six grandchildren. They make their home in California. Patti and John began their 25 years of public service as Peace Corps volunteers in Ethiopia.
Patti was appointed by President Clinton to be Associate Director of the Peace Corps and Deputy Administrator in the Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service. Presently, Patti is Assistant Secretary of International Trade and Investment to the California Technology, Trade and Commerce Agency.
John Garamendi was born in 1945, raised on his family’s California cattle ranch. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a Bachelors Degree in Business from the University of California. He was an outstanding scholar-athlete in college, where he was a second team All-American offensive guard in football, a two-time member of the All-Pacific Coast Conference team, and the 1964 West Coast heavyweight wrestling champion.
Boards and Commissions
* National Park Foundation (1998-2001): Presidential appointment to the board of this Congressionally authorized support organization for the National Parks.
* Operation Respect (1998-2002): Board Member of this national organization that Peter Yarrow (Peter Paul and Mary) established to use music and art together with an elementary school curriculum of social/emotional education to address violence, bullying, taunting and disrespect among children.
* International Fund for Animal Welfare, (IFAW) 1998-present: Board Member of the foundation of a worldwide organization dedicated to the conservation and care of animals.
* National Association of Service and Conservation Corps (1998-2001): Board member of this national organization that represents 100 state and local service and conservation corps.
* University of California, Don Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, Advisory Board (1998-present): Member of the board that advises the graduate school, located on five U.C. campuses.
* University of California Merced Foundation Chairman (1999-present): As a board member and vice chair, Mr. Garamendi is active in assisting the new campus in its development of physical and financial resources.
* Natural Heritage Institute (1998-2002): Board member of the non-profit environmental consulting organization that advocates protection of the environment and equitable solutions to complex environmental problems.
* California State Summer School for the Arts: Board Member of the public/private organization that provides a four-week summer program for artistically gifted high school students in California.