September 3, 2019

Dear Californians,

I have dedicated my entire professional life to the cause of public service, guided by a steadfast belief in government for the people, equality for all, and injustice for none. I am proud of the record we have built together to provide a brighter, safer, healthier and fairer future for millions of Californians.

I believe effective public service demands constant adherence to the highest ethical standards. But during my campaign and first six months in office, my campaign operation scheduled meetings and solicited campaign contributions that did not fall in line with commitments I made to refuse contributions from the insurance industry. I take full responsibility for that and am deeply sorry.

Upon learning of these issues, I ordered an immediate return of insurance industry-connected contributions and an internal review of our vetting procedures. I also terminated my longtime contractual relationship with the fundraising personnel involved.

Even though no laws or rules were broken – and these interactions did not affect nor influence my official actions in any way – I must hold myself to a higher standard. I can and will do better. These failures are not consistent with my personal values nor my long career in public service.

I am therefore adopting the following reforms, effective immediately:

• I am implementing rigorous vetting protocols and am retaining experts to develop new processes for the screening and reporting of all outside political activity – to ensure greater transparency and no direct connection to the insurance industry or Department-regulated entities – consistent with best practices.

• I am placing a strict moratorium on all fundraising activity for my re-election campaign until at least the end of this calendar year, while these new processes are being implemented.

• I am requesting that Department attorneys develop new publicly-available protocols for scheduling and conducting meetings with external stakeholders, especially Department-regulated entities.

• I am ordering regular public release of my official calendar of meetings with external stakeholders.

As I look ahead, it is clear to me that California consumers have significant challenges from the rising toll of wildfires and climate change. In recent weeks, I have met with hundreds of those affected by insurance non-renewals across the state due to wildfire risk, witnessing first-hand people’s desperation when they cannot obtain and keep affordable insurance. I am working with state and local policymakers to protect communities from a downward spiral of falling home values and declining property taxes that support local services. And California is now the first state to work with the United Nations on a roadmap to climate sustainable insurance.

I am more committed than ever to defending California’s consumers – the people who I have fought for during my entire career. I will work with you to fight unlawful insurance schemes, protect Proposition 103 and consumer privacy, help survivors of devastating wildfires with their insurance claims and non-renewals, and defend the Affordable Care Act to make sure all Californians have fair access to affordable health care.

I look forward to the work ahead, and renew my commitment to hold myself to the highest ethical standards as your state Insurance Commissioner.

Sincerely,


Ricardo Lara
Insurance Commissioner

MEDIA RELEASE

For Immediate Release: Monday, December 3, 2018

Contacts:
Michael Soller, (213) 446-1851

LOS ANGELES, CA -- California Insurance Commissioner-Elect Ricardo Lara announces Catalina Hayes-Bautista and Michael Martinez will lead his transition efforts.

“I am confident in Catalina and Michael leading the transition and assisting me in meeting my priority — protecting consumers, patients, hard-working families, seniors, and the most vulnerable communities in our Golden State. The Department of Insurance has a strong record under Commissioner Dave Jones and I look forward to leading the dedicated Department staff as we confront the challenges facing California.”

Catalina Hayes-Bautista is currently Deputy Legislative Affairs Secretary in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. She previously served as Deputy Secretary for Legislative Affairs at the California Environmental Protection Agency, was a principal consultant in the Office of Speaker Toni Atkins, served as Legislative Director in the Office of California State Senator Ricardo Lara, and as Legislative Aide in the Office of California State Assemblymember Fiona Ma.

Michael Martinez was previously Deputy Insurance Commissioner and Legislative Director at the Department of Insurance under Insurance Commissioner Jones and served as Deputy Legislative Affairs Secretary and Deputy Appointments Secretary in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. He is currently working in California’s life sciences sector.

Michael Soller, current Communications Director to Senator Lara, will continue to assist and advise on press communications during the transition. He is a previous Communications Director for the California Democratic Party under former Chairman and Senate President pro Tempore-Emeritus John Burton.

Commissioner-Elect Lara is the first openly LGBTQ person to be elected to statewide office in California. He was first elected to the California State Legislature in 2010 and represents the 33rd Senate District.

Commissioner-Elect Lara will be sworn in as the 8th Insurance Commissioner of California on Monday, January 7, 2019.

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Paid for by Ricardo Lara for Insurance Commissioner

MEDIA RELEASE

For Immediate Release: Monday, November 19, 2018

Contacts:
Michael Soller, (213) 446-1851
John Nam, (818) 726-7489

LOS ANGELES, CA -- Ricardo Lara claimed victory for California Insurance Commissioner. His opponent, Steve Poizner, conceded the race as election results showed Lara with a commanding lead.

“I am grateful for the support of California voters who deserve a strong consumer advocate. Helping communities recover from wildfires while preparing for the threat of climate change will be my first job as Insurance Commissioner. As communities are rocked by devastating wildfires, Californians need a healthy, honest insurance market that allows them to quickly rebuild their lives and protects against future disasters.”

Lara will succeed Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. He is the first LGBT person to be elected to statewide office in California. As State Senator Lara authored laws that expanded healthcare and protected consumers and clean air, including:

  • Expanded MediCal to cover 250,000 children regardless of their immigration status (Senate Bill 4, 2015)
  • Extended homeowner protections against cancellation or nonrenewal of insurance for a year following a wildfire or other disaster (Senate Bill 824, 2018)
  • Protected people in substance use recovery from patient brokering and insurance fraud (Senate Bill 1228, 2018)
  • Expanded the Low Cost Auto Insurance Program to cover more Californians (Senate Bill 1273, 2014)
  • Created the nation’s first climate insurance working group to preserve healthy forests and wetlands that can protect communities from the effect of climate change (Senate Bill 30, 2018) 

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Paid for by Ricardo Lara for Insurance Commissioner