Photo of Susan  Kennedy

Susan Kennedy

Special Advisor


Susan Kennedy is an expert in government operations, budget and finance, public policy development, politics, management, and numerous issues with which she has dealt in the highest levels of California state government.

The Los Angeles Times called Ms. Kennedy “the most enduring force in state government of the last decade.” Ms. Kennedy spent over two decades in senior state and federal positions, including as chief of staff to Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, deputy chief of staff and cabinet secretary to Democratic Governor Gray Davis, and communications director for California’s senior US Senator, Dianne Feinstein. She also served for three years on California’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), where she led efforts to streamline government regulation and promote investment in California’s infrastructure and economy.

Ms. Kennedy’s responsibilities placed her at the center of some of the most significant policy issues facing policymakers and businesses today, including leading Governor Schwarzenegger’s efforts to pass groundbreaking environmental initiatives on climate change and renewable energy, budget reform, healthcare reform, pension reform, and political reform.

Ms. Kennedy led efforts to cut through regulatory red tape to build renewable energy plants in California, whose successes led one newspaper to call California the new “Saudi Arabia of Solar.” She coordinated the Davis administration’s efforts to fast track construction of new power plants during the state’s energy crisis, reducing the time for permitting from an average of over two years to as little as twenty-one days in some instances. She also led the Davis administration’s negotiating team that concluded the historic Record of Decision for the California-Federal Bay Delta water agreement, and helped Governor Schwarzenegger achieve legislative approval for the most comprehensive water reform package in half a century.

Ms. Kennedy led Governor Davis’ successful efforts to pass comprehensive HMO reform in 1999, and Governor Schwarzenegger’s comprehensive Health Care Reform initiative in 2007. Ms. Kennedy also led CPUC reform efforts that modernized the state’s pricing and consumer protection rules in light of current technology and industry competitiveness.

In 2011, Governor Schwarzenegger appointed Ms. Kennedy to the five-member Health Benefit Exchange Board, where she helps implement federal healthcare reform for millions of individuals and small businesses.


St. Mary's College
BA, Management

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