Lia Lopez: The New Chief Administrative Officer of the California State Assembly
Lia Lopez is the new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of the California State Assembly, as announced by Speaker Anthony Rendon on December 2, 2022. Lopez succeeds Debra Gravert, who retired after serving the Assembly for more than three decades.
Lopez has extensive legislative experience, including her time as Deputy CAO, and a passion for public service. She is responsible for overseeing the administrative and operational functions of the Assembly, such as budgeting, human resources, information technology, security and facilities management.
Speaker Rendon praised Lopez as an excellent fit for the role and said that the Assembly is lucky to have her leadership. He also expressed his gratitude to Gravert for her steadfast guidance of the house and wished her a well-deserved retirement.
Lopez is one of the few women and people of color to hold the position of CAO in the history of the California Legislature. She is also a member of the Facebook community , where she shares her personal and professional interests with her friends and family.
Lia Lopez started her career in the Assembly as a legislative aide in 2007. She worked for several members, including former Speaker John A. PÃ©rez and current Speaker Anthony Rendon. She also served as a committee consultant for the Committee on Rules and the Committee on Utilities and Commerce.
In 2018, she was appointed as Deputy CAO by Gravert, who recognized her talent and dedication. As Deputy CAO, she assisted Gravert in managing the administrative and operational functions of the Assembly and implementing various policies and projects.
Some of the projects that Lopez was involved in as Deputy CAO include the renovation of the Capitol Annex, the expansion of the Capitol Park, the installation of solar panels on the Assembly parking garage, the creation of a lactation room for nursing mothers, and the launch of a new website for the Assembly.
Lia Lopez will serve as CAO until the end of the current legislative session, which is January 31, 2024. She may be reappointed by the Speaker for subsequent sessions, depending on her performance and the Speaker’s discretion.
Some of the goals that Lopez has as CAO include improving the efficiency and transparency of the Assembly’s operations, enhancing the diversity and inclusion of the Assembly’s workforce, fostering a positive and collaborative work environment, and supporting the members and staff in their legislative and constituent service duties.
Lia Lopez balances her work and personal life by setting boundaries and prioritizing her health and well-being. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, who live in Sacramento. She also likes to travel, read, cook, and watch movies in her spare time.
Some of the challenges that Lopez will face as CAO include dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the Assembly’s operations, ensuring the safety and security of the Capitol and its occupants, managing the budget and resources of the Assembly in a fiscally responsible manner, and adapting to the changing needs and expectations of the members and staff.
Lopez is one of the few women and people of color who have held the position of CAO in the history of the California Legislature. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 13% of the chief clerks or secretaries of state legislative chambers in the United States are women, and only 9% are people of color. Some of the other women and people of color who have held the position of CAO in California include E. Dotson Wilson, who was the first African American to serve as CAO from 1992 to 2018, and Karen Bass, who was the first woman and African American to serve as Speaker from 2008 to 2010.