Bill Lyons was officially appointed Wednesday to the newly created position of Agriculture Liaison in the Office of the Governor. Governor Newsom announced the appointment last week following his State of the State address during which he appointed Joaquin Esquivel as Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board.

Bill Lyons is a farmer and rancher from Modesto and previously served as the Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture from 1999 to 2004 under Gov. Gray Davis.  He has an extensive background in matters of water policy and was a member of the Modesto Irrigation District board of directors (1984-93).

Lyons is a welcomed addition to the Governor’s cabinet and will certainly be a necessary voice for the agricultural industry in this position.  CCM enjoyed a very positive working relationship with Lyons during his tenure at CDFA and we look forward to working with him again. We were one of several agricultural associations to recommend Lyons for a position within the administration.  Lyons himself made it known he was interested in a position on the State Water Resources Control Board. While he certainly would have been an asset to agriculture in that capacity, we feel there is far more value in him working directly with the Governor on ag-specific policy issues.

The fact that Newsom created this position and appointed Lyons to it are positive indicators that agriculture will have more relevance to the Administration than it has in the past eight years.  In fact, Lyons said Wednesday, “Gov. Newsom is really concerned about the entire Central Valley,” said Lyons on Wednesday. “He sees the opportunities in the Central Valley, and he’s really making an effort to reach out to people up and down the entire Valley.”

Lyons told the Modesto Bee, “You’ve already seen the number of trips he’s made up and down the Valley,” said Lyons. “As busy as the governor is, to take the time to come down personally – with all of his senior, senior staff – to tour … it means we have someone who really understands. I’m really excited about that … I think he’s going to provide some unique leadership on some very complex issues.”