California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced appointments to the state government Thursday and Friday, including four UC Berkeley alumni and faculty.
The four who received appointments to the state government were Chris Downey to the California Commission on Disability Access, Eric Heins to the California Gambling Control Commission, Saralyn M. Ang-Olson to the California Department of Health Care Services and Arthur Krantz to the California Public Employment Relations Board.
Commissioner Downey said he was recently reappointed to his role and elected president of the commission. It was “quite exciting” to be elected because of the great work the commission does for the state and the opportunity to show that disability is part of the human condition, Downey added.
“I’m totally blind — lost all sight in 2008,” Downey said. “I continue to work as an architect without sight consulting on projects for people who are blind and low vision.”
Downey added that he received his master’s in architecture from UC Berkeley and was a guest lecturer in the campus architecture department from 2012 to 2016.
The Commission on Disability Access focuses on increasing compliance with accessibility regulations, specifically with small businesses in the state, according to Downey. He added that this includes creating educational material that challenges the myths about accessibility.
“There are lots of different things we do all in the service of bridging between the needs of the disability community and the needs and challenges of the small business community,” Downey said.
Arthur Krantz, previously a practitioner advisor and lecturer for UC Berkeley School of Law, was reappointed to the Public Employment Relations Board, which he has served on since 2018, according to the press release.
The press release also stated that Krantz has been a pro bono attorney for the Centro Legal de La Raza Asylum Project since 2014.
Eric Heins, who received his Master of Arts in literacy education and language from UC Berkeley, was appointed to the Gambling Control Commission, the press release stated.
“They’re (the goals) pretty much already set by the laws and statutes about regulating gambling in California,” Heins said. “It’s mainly about regulating card rooms.”
Saralyn M. Ang-Olson was appointed as the chief compliance officer at the Department of Health Care Services, or DHCS, according to the press release. Prior to the appointment, she attended UC Berkeley School of Law where she received her Juris Doctor.
Her role will include helping the department to strengthen programs such as Medi-Cal as well as aid the department to fulfill its legal and regulatory work, according to Ang-Olson. Additionally, she said she hopes to forge relationships with federal, state and local partners.
“This is an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve a very critical program in the State of California,” Ang-Olson said in an email. “This appointment means that I will be able to contribute directly to the mission of DHCS in providing millions of low-income and disabled Californians affordable, integrated, high-quality health care.”