John Laird was appointed Secretary of California Natural Resources Agency by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2011. Secretary Laird has spent 35 years in public service, including 23 years as an elected official. He served on the district staff of U.S. Representative Jerome Waldie, and as a budget analyst for the Santa Cruz County Administrator. In 1981, Secretary Laird was elected to the Santa Cruz City Council where he, served nine years until term limits ended his council service in 1990. During that time, he served two terms as mayor, 1983 to 1984 and 1987 to 1988. He was executive director of the Santa Cruz AIDS Project from 1991 to 1994 and an elected member of the Cabrillo College Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2002.
Secretary Laird was elected in 2002 to represent California’s 27th Assembly District which includes portions of Santa Cruz, Monterey and Santa Clara Counties. He was re-elected in 2004 and 2006. Secretary Laird was named chair of the Budget Committee by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez in 2006 and reappointed to the position by Assembly Speaker Karen Bass in 2008. He was a member of the State Integrated Waste Management Board from 2008 to 2009. Most recently, he taught state environmental policy at University of California Santa Cruz, where he graduated from in 1972 with honors in politics.