California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) Announces New Political Director: James Johnson

Press Release
June 14, 2016

Contact: Jenesse Miller, CLCV – 510.844.0235

Oakland & Los Angeles, Calif. (June 14, 2016) – Today, the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) – the non-partisan political action arm of the environmental movement in California – announced its new Political Director, James Johnson Jr.

“On behalf of the staff and Board of Directors, I’m thrilled to welcome James Johnson to CLCV. We’re already working together to elect environmental champions in the critical and fast-approaching 2016 General Election, with our eye on the long-term goal of maintaining California’s position as the national leader in protecting the environment and public health,” said Rick Zbur, President and Chair of the CLCV Board of Directors.

“James steps into this critical role of Political Director at a time when the California Legislature is at a crossroads, deciding whether or not they prioritize policies that move California forward on the path of clean energy and climate leadership that lifts up all of California’s communities,” said Sarah Rose, CEO of CLCV. “James is the skilled leader we need to manage CLCV’s dynamic political program and work with California’s elected representatives, community leaders and grassroots activists to together protect our air, water, and land and create healthier neighborhoods.”

“I have worked with James for 20 years on labor contracts, political campaigns, Los Angeles City issues and progressive environmental policy, and he is uniquely qualified to lead CLCV’s political and public policy agenda,” said California Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer. “I am confident that James will not only continue the legacy that CLCV has established as a leader on environmental policy and political activism, but will help expand its outreach and support across all communities and political parties.”

A Los Angeles native, James Johnson most recently served as Chief Political Coordinator of the 92,000 member SEIU Local 721 and as a member of the union’s staff leadership team. He has had an impressive 30-year career with SEIU starting in 1985, when he became a Project Organizer and worked with a team that recruited thousands of workers and new leaders into the union.

In 1987, at the urging of Gilbert Cedillo and Kent Wong (both on SEIU Local 660 staff at the time), he joined the local staff as a union representative, with responsibilities from organizing breaks to helping negotiate Los Angeles County Clerical and Supervising Clerical Contracts covering more than 19,000 workers for Los Angeles County’s largest bargaining unit.

In 1996, James joined the staff of SEIU Local 535, where he served as a Senior Field Representative, Southern Political Director, and Program Director. It was there that James was instrumental in passing landmark legislation approving the first State Workload study for Child Welfare Social Workers in 15 years and increased funding for the state’s major human services programs.

After the realignment of SEIU public sector locals in California, James became the principal liaison for SEIU Local 721 at the LA City Council and played a key role in fighting for increased public services in the aftermath of the 2008-09 recession.

James currently serves on the Board of the SCLC of Southern California. From 2002-04 he served on the Liberty Hill Foundation Fund for a New LA Funding Board. James was recognized by Congresswoman Judy Chu as the 27th Congressional District 2013 Community Activist of the Year.

We believe that radical change is necessary and only by transforming our political system will we create the opportunity to take bold action on climate change. We elect and cultivate environmental champions, turn election victories into policy wins, hold our lawmakers accountable, and build political power for change. We inspire hope and action and fight for equity and justice for all Californians. We are in the business of changing what’s possible. Join us at and on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. See more press releases.

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