Setting the Course:  California Leadership in the Age of Trump
Panel Discussion with Senator Bill Monning, Assemblyman Mark Stone, and Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird

With the Trump administration looking to roll back progress on healthcare, environmental sustainability, civil rights, and social equity, California is charting a course in the opposite direction. With a large Democratic majority, the Golden State is poised to assume an even greater leadership role on the environment, economy, and social justice. On the evening of Thursday, April 13th, the community gathered at the Irvine Auditorium to hear a lively discussion with some of California's most visionary leaders as they set the course for the California in the Age of Trump.

Event was held on: Thursday, April 13, 2017
Irvine Auditorium, Middlebury Institute of International Studies
6:00pm to 7:30pm

Video of Discussion

California Leadership in the Age of Trump

Audience Questions

Questions were received throughout the evening via email, text, and hand-written form.   Audience Questions

10 Tips for Effective Advocacy

Senator Bill Monning created this list of "10 Tips for Effective Advocacy."     10 Tips for Effective Advocacy

 News Articles About Event

Senate Bills Mentioned During the Event

  • SB 54, the California Values Act, was introduced on Dec 5, 2016 and formally announced on Dec 7, 2016 by Senate President Pro Tempore de Leon. This important bill aims to get state and local law enforcement out of the deportation business.
  • SB 49, the California Environmental Defense Act, was introduced on February 23, 2017, and makes current federal clean air, climate, clean water, worker safety, and endangered species standards enforceable under state law, even if the federal government rolls back and weakens those standards.
  • SB 562, Californians for a Healthy California Act, was introduced on February 17, 2017, and will create one health plan with more choices for all Californians and guarantee the right to healthcare.

Articles Mentioned During the Event (Sent by Moderator to Panelists)

  • The Nation, Big Oil’s Grip on California, February 13, 2017 article by Michael J. Mishak, Center for Public Integrity
  • National Geographic documentary, Water & Power: A California Heist, aired Tuesday, March 14, 2017, filmaker Marina Zenovich digs into the complicated questions of California’s water rights and the powerful interests that have controlled them.


About the Panelists

Senator Bill Monning, California District 17
billmonning-haywardspeakersp17-540x445 Bill Monning was elected to the California Assembly in November of 2008 and then re-elected in November of 2010 to represent the 27th Assembly District, which includes portions of Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Santa Clara Counties. In 2012, Bill was elected to the State Senate representing the 17th Senate District, which stretches from South San Jose through Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties all the way to San Luis Obispo County.

Prior to his service in the State Assembly, Senator Monning was a professor at the Monterey College of Law and a professor of International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He is the former president and co-founder of Global Majority, Inc., an organization committed to education, training and advocacy in the field of non-violent conflict resolution.

Senator Monning served as a Senior Fulbright Specialist, receiving Fulbright scholarships to teach and research in Peru and Chile. Additionally, he was a member of the Monterey County Court-directed mediation panel and served for four years as Executive Director of the Nobel Peace Prize winning organization, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.

Related Links:

Senator Bill Monning's Official Website

About the Panelists

Assembly Member Mark Stone, California District 29

markstone-haywardspeakersp17-530x445Mark Stone represents the people of California's 29th Assembly District, which includes portions of Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, and Monterey Counties. Mark has emerged as a leader on environmental protection and child welfare issues.

Mark serves as Chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, which reviews legislation on a broad range of issues, including family law, product and tort liability and immunity, immigration, commercial contracts, court and jury procedures, civil practice and procedure. In his first term, Mark served as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Human Services, where he led policy decisions on child welfare, foster care, developmental disability services, temporary cash assistance, and CalFresh food benefits.

Mark has written laws to transform group homes for foster youth into places where youth can access short-term, intensive treatment, make it easier for foster youth to graduate from high school and access special benefits, assist low-income pregnant women better prepare for the arrival of their babies, and help people released from prison reintegrate into the community. He also held several key oversight hearings to discuss ways to address childhood poverty and improve information sharing in the foster care system.

As an environmental champion, Mark has fought to curb illegal coastal development, reduce plastic pollution, and clean up drinking water supplies. In his capacity as Chair of the Select Committee on Coastal Protection, he has held hearings investigating threats to the Pacific Ocean, oil spill prevention efforts, plastic garbage effects on the coastal environment, and offshore fracking.

Related Links:

Assembly Member Mark Stone's Official Website

About the Panelists

John Laird, California Secretary for Natural Resources

johnlaird-haywardspeakersp17-530x445John Laird was appointed California Secretary for Natural Resources by Governor Jerry Brown on Jan. 5, 2011. He has spent nearly 40 years in public service, including 23 years as an elected official.

The son of teachers and raised in Vallejo, Laird graduated with honors in politics from the University of California Santa Cruz in 1972. He then served on the district staff of U.S. Representative Jerome Waldie, and as a budget analyst for the Santa Cruz County Administrator.

Laird has served in many public and non-profit roles:  as Santa Cruz City Council Member, board member for local transit, transportation, education, water planning, and regional government agencies, the Santa Cruz AIDS Project,  and the Cabrillo College Board of Trustees. In 2002, Laird was elected to represent the 27th Assembly District in the California Assembly, which includes portions of Santa Cruz, Monterey and Santa Clara Counties.

Continuing his public service as California’s Secretary of Natural Resources, Laird has made climate change adaptation, water conservation and supply reliability, enhanced relationships with tribal governments, State Parks access, farmland conservation, and oceans sustainability among other issues top priorities. As Secretary, he provides administrative oversight to thirty departments, commissions, councils, museum, boards and conservancies – and is a sitting member of sixteen conservancies, councils, boards and commissions within the purview of the Agency.

Related Links:

John Laird, California Secretary for Natural Resources Official Website

About the Moderator

Jason Scorse
Director of the Center for the Blue Economy



Jason Scorse is the Director of the Center for the Blue Economy (CBE) and Chair of the International Environmental Policy (IEP) program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. He completed his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics at UC-Berkley in 2005 with a focus on environmental economics and policy, international development, and behavioral economics. Upon graduation, he joined the faculty of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, was promoted to Chair in 2009, and launched the CBE in 2011. He teaches courses in environmental and natural resource economics, ocean and coastal economics, and sustainable development. Professor Scorse consults for major environmental organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Sierra Club.


We thank our Sponsors: 

We thank the Nancy Eccles and Homer M. Hayward Family Foundation and the Loker-Hicks Foundation for co-sponsoring this event.