Politics

Obama's California team becomes official

Mitchell Schwartz, a veteran of Bill Clinton, Barbara Boxer, Gray Davis and Antonio Villaraigosa campaigns, is state director of the Barack Obama campaign. Schwartz is also president of the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters. Communications director of the campaign is Gabriel Sanchez, who held the same title for Speaker Fabian Nunez and was deputy press secretary to Gov. Gray Davis. More team members in the release after the jump.

LOS ANGELES - Obama for America today announced the campaign's California team will be Mitchell Schwartz as California State Director, Mary Jane Stevenson as California Field Director, Rusty Hicks as California Political Director, Laura Velkei as California Volunteer Director and Gabriel Sanchez as Communications Director for California. "Barack Obama and Joe Biden have selected a California team uniquely qualified and motivated to help them win America's most populous state on November 4," Schwartz said. "The battleground experience, statewide ties and proven savvy of our staff give the Democratic ticket a strategic boost as the campaign enters its final six weeks."

Mitchell Schwartz, a veteran strategist, has served on nearly every presidential campaign since 1984. As Bill Clinton's New Hampshire State Director in 1992, Schwartz played a key role in Clinton's "comeback kid" showing in that state's Democratic primary. Schwartz served in the Department of State's Office of Public Affairs under President Clinton in 1993-95. Currently President of the Bomaye Company, a public affairs firm in Los Angeles, Schwartz has served in the campaigns of Senator Barbara Boxer, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Governor Gray Davis and other elected officials. Schwartz is President of the Board of the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters and is a board member of Temple Israel of Hollywood. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

Mary Jane Stevenson has been prominent in the Obama campaign for the past 18 months. During the California primary she was a Regional Field Organizer for two Congressional Districts in the Los Angeles area. She was then appointed as a Precinct Coach for nine Congressional Districts from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara. Before her involvement in the campaign, Stevenson was a national on-air correspondent for Court TV. She also worked as a reporter for the Los Angeles Daily Journal, one of the nation's premier legal newspapers.

Rusty Hicks, a native of Forth Worth, Texas, has extensive political experience at the state and federal level, having worked for Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, late California Assemblymember Mike Gordon and as District Director for California Assemblymember Ted Lieu. He most recently served as the Los Angeles County Federation of Laborís Political and Data Representative.

Laura Velkei is a native to Los Angeles and worked as a Development Executive in the Entertainment Industry and as an Executive in Business Management. She is currently an Auditor with a high profile Entertainment Auditing firm and has taken a hiatus to fully immerse herself in the campaign. She is the California Volunteer Director and manages thousands of volunteers throughout the state.

Gabriel Sanchez has more than a decade of experience in campaigns at the state and local level, serving lead roles in several California gubernatorial races. He also has served as a deputy press secretary for Governor Gray Davis. More recently, he served as Communications Director for California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez.

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