Capitol Weekly’s Top 100: Liane Randolph

14. Liane Randolph

Liane Randolph is chair of California’s Air Resources Board, the profoundly important and powerful regulatory agency with a national and international profile. The ARB was instrumental in unmasking Volkswagen’s rigging of diesel pollution data – over a half million vehicles had violated the Clean Air Act and VW was fined $2.8 billion in 2017. ARB’s rules on fighting air pollution are closely watched by other states, and to paraphrase an old Wall Street investment ad, “When the ARB talks, people listen.” Randolph, the first African American to head the ARB’s governing board, was appointed by Newsom in 2020 to replace the retiring Mary Nichols, a legend among environmental regulators. Randolph had been at the Public Utilities Commission since 2015, and before that she was general counsel at the state Resources Agency. She was chair of the Fair Political Practices Commission, the state’s campaign watchdog, from 2003 to 2007. Randolph has her work cut out for her: The governor has charged CARB with phasing out new internal-combustion passenger vehicles by 2035, and Randolph gets to figure out how to make that work.

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