After twelve years in the California legislature, Joe Simitian has joined CITRIS as the Director of Policy and Technology. He is motivated to build connections between the world of technology at CITRIS and the policy world in which he has spent much time. “I was familiar with CITRIS and its mission due to my years in Sacramento,” he notes. “Working here now gives me the opportunity to continue to engage my mind with research focused on the public good.”
Simitian has extensive experience in navigating partnerships with the government and policy, and will serve as a CITRIS-wide resource, helping researchers and leaders determine how to best connect with elected officials and their staff in Sacramento such that the technology can best benefit society.
During his tenure as a state official—four years as an Assemblyman and eight years as a Senator—Simitian authored numerous pieces of legislation that have affected CITRIS’s mission. He is the author of California’s 33% renewable energy portfolio standard (33% of the state’s energy must come from renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydroelectric by 2020) as well as California’s data breach notification law that requires companies and agencies to notify individuals when their personal information is compromised. His 2009 water legislation created the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Stewardship Conservancy and established water supply and ecosystem protection as co-equal goals in Delta water policy planning. Simitian also authored several high profile transportation safety laws, including California’s hands-free cell phone bill. He is currently a Member of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors from the 5th District.