Council Members

The Governor appoints the Council’s 31 members. Some are appointed because they are self or family advocates, some by virtue of their position in state government, and some as representatives of other organizations involved in the developmental disability services system. Under federal law, self-advocate and family advocate representatives must comprise at least 60 percent of the Council membership.

Information about applying to serve as a Governor’s appointee is available through here or the Governor’s Office.

Twenty Council Members are self and family advocates who reflect the diversity of the state. They are either at-large members representing the entire state or members representing a specific region of the state. They are:

Maria Marquez
Self-Advocate, At-Large Representative

Sandra Aldana
Self-Advocate, At-Large Representative

Pete Sanchez
Family Advocate, At-Large Representative

Andrea Vergne
Family Advocate, At-Large Representative person with a developmental disability who is a current or former resident of an institution or immediate relative, guardian, or conservator 4521(b)(1)(A)(iii)

Robert Taylor
Self-Advocate, North Coast Region Representative (Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, and Mendocino Counties)

Charles Nutt (Vice Chair)
Self-Advocate, North State Region Representative (Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, and Trinity Counties)

Sandra Smith (Council Chair)
Family Advocate, Sacramento Region Representative (Alpine, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba Counties)

Jeana Eriksen
Self-Advocate, North Bay Region Representative (Napa, Solano, and Sonoma Counties)

Francis Lau
Family Advocate, Bay Area Region Representative (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties)

Kilolo Brodie
Family Advocate, North Valley Hills Region Representative (Amador, Calaveras, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne Counties)

Alfredo Rubalcava
Self-Advocate, Los Angeles Region Representative (Los Angeles County)

Jacqueline Nguyen
Family Advocate, Orange County Region Representative (Orange County)

Julie Austin
Family Advocate, San Diego Imperial Region Representative (Imperial and San Diego Counties)

Diane Ambrose
Family Advocate

Matthew D. Lagrand

David A. Pegos
Family Advocate

Kimberly J. Risser

Wesley Witherspoon

Nicole Adler
Self-Advocate, At-Large Representative 

In addition, eleven Council Members are appointed because of their position in state government or because of their role with a specified organization. They are:

Michael Wilkening (Kris Kent)
Secretary, Social Security Title XIX Agency 4521(b)(2) (A)

Nancy Bargmann, (Eric Gelber)
Director, Department of Developmental Services 4521(b)(2) (B)

Joe Xavier (Cindy Chiu)
Director, Department of Rehabilitation 4521(b)(2) (C)

Tony Thurmond
Superintendent of Public Instruction 4521(b)(2) (D)

Julie Neward
Non-governmental representative 

Robin Hansen, M.D.
University Center for Excellence (University of California, Davis) 4521(b)(2) (F)

Larry Yin, M.D.
University Center for Excellence (University of Southern California) 4521(b)(2) (F)

Olivia Raynor, Ph.D.
University Center for Excellence (University of California, Los Angeles) 4521(b)(2) (F)

Jennifer Kent (Sarah Eberhardt-Rios)
Director, Department of Health Care Services 4521(b)(2) (G)

Catherine Blakemore, J.D.
Executive Director, Disability Rights California 4521(b)(2) (H)

Lora Connolly (Chisorom Okwuosa)
Director, Department of Aging 4521(b)(2) (I)