Capitol Weekly’s Top 100: Susan Jensen

Illustration by Chris Shary, for Capitol Weekly

96. Susan Jensen

Susan Jensen has come a long way since being the California Nations Indian Gaming Association’s (CNIGA) first full time staff person all the way back in 1998. Since then she has been something of a jack of all trades, serving as the public relations coordinator, director of communications, and deputy director of operations before being elevated to executive director in 2016. She has since been instrumental in developing a strong presence for CNIGA at the Capitol, and as the popularity and profitability of Native Californian gaming operations has grown, so has CNIGA’s membership. The group now boasts 50 members, up from 33 when Jensen took over, making it the largest regional tribal gaming association in the U.S. There’s plenty of credit to go around there – CNIGA Chairman James Siva has a claim as well – but nobody who knows will cast doubt on Jensen’s power and influence in the tribal gaming sphere. She’s been instrumental in fights over online sports wagering, an extension of a moratorium on new cardroom licenses and protecting tribal sovereignty on a number of issues.

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