The California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission was created by the California Legislature to assist state and local agencies with the issuance, monitoring, and management of public debt and the investment of public funds through its research and technical assistance programs. CDIAC also acts as the State's clearinghouse for public debt issuance information.
Fiona Ma, CPA
Fiona Ma is California’s 34th State Treasurer. She was first elected on November 6, 2018, with more votes (7,825,587) than any other candidate for treasurer in the state's history and reelected on November 8, 2022. She is the first woman of color and the first woman Certified Public Accountant (CPA) elected to the position. The State Treasurer’s Office was created in the California Constitution in 1849. It provides financing for schools, roads, housing, recycling and waste management, hospitals, public facilities, and other crucial infrastructure projects that better the lives of residents. California is poised to become the world’s fourth-largest economy and Treasurer Ma is the state’s primary banker. Presently, her office processes more than $3 trillion in banking transactions. She provides transparency and oversight for the government’s investment portfolio and accounts, as well as for the state’s surplus funds. Treasurer Ma oversees an investment portfolio that currently averages over $200 billion—a significant portion of which is beneficially owned by more than 2,200 local governments in California. She serves as agent of sale for all State bonds and is trustee of billions of dollars of state indebtedness.
Background: Gavin Newson is the former Lieutenant Governor of California and the former Mayor of San Francisco, California.
Newsom is widely recognized for his willingness to lead – repeatedly developing, advocating, and implementing innovative and groundbreaking solutions to some of our most challenging issues. On a wide range of topics including same-sex marriage, gun safety, marijuana, the death penalty, universal health care, access to preschool, technology, criminal justice reform, and the minimum wage, Newsom stuck his neck out and did the right thing, which often led to sweeping changes when his policies were ultimately accepted, embraced, and replicated across the state and nation.
Newsom’s top priorities for his administration are tackling our state’s affordability crisis, creating inclusive economic growth and opportunity for every child, and standing up for California values — from civil rights, to immigration, environmental protection, access to quality schools at all levels, and justice.
Governor Newsom is married to Jennifer Siebel Newsom. They have four children: Montana, Hunter, Brooklynn, and Dutch.
Malia M. Cohen
State Controller Malia M. Cohen was elected in November 2022, following her service on the California State Board of Equalization (BOE), the nation’s only elected tax commission responsible for administering California’s $100 billion property tax system. She was elected to the BOE in November 2018 and was Chair in 2019 and 2022. As Controller, she continues to serve the Board as its fifth voting member.
As chief fiscal officer of the world’s fifth-largest economy, Controller Cohen’s primary responsibility is to account for and protect the state‘s financial resources. Controller Cohen also independently audits government agencies that spend state funds, safeguards many types of property until claimed by the rightful owners, and administers the payroll system for state government employees and California State University employees. She serves on 70 boards and commissions with authority ranging from affordable housing to crime victim compensation to land management.
Assemblymember, 80th District
Assemblymember David Alvarez was elected to the California State Assembly in June of 2022 to represent the 80th Assembly District in San Diego County.
Assemblymember Alvarez is a small business owner and has served for fifteen years in government, including eight years as a San Diego City Councilmember. A proud advocate of the underserved in San Diego, his previous successes included building parks, libraries and fire stations in neighborhoods that did not have them.
Assemblymember Alvarez is Chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee and serves on the following legislative committees: Aging and Long-Term Care, Business and Professions, Military and Veterans Affairs, Rules, Joint Legislative Audit Subcommittee on the Selection of the State Auditor, and the Select Committee on California-Mexico Bi-National Affairs. Assemblymember Alvarez is also a member of the CSG West Border Legislative Conference and the Colorado River Forum.
During his brief time in office, Assemblymember Alvarez has supported historic investments in both K-12 and higher education, increasing childcare funding, economic relief for working families and investments in housing and critical infrastructure improvements. He was able to secure $25 million in state funding for a new state of the art Cinematic Arts Library in east Chula Vista which will include expansion of San Diego State University’s Film School, bring four year and graduate degrees to South County, and planning for a future university in Chula Vista.
David was born and raised in Barrio Logan. David and his wife Xochitl, a lifelong educator also from the area, are raising their daughter and son in the community they grew up in. He most recently volunteered on the boards of Kim Center for Gender Equity, Camarada, the San Diego Coffee Training Institute, Circulate San Diego and his children’s school PTA.
Assemblymember, 68th District
Avelino Valencia was elected to the California State Assembly in November of 2022 to represent the 68th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Anaheim, Santa Ana, and Orange.
Avelino grew up in Orange County, the son of immigrant parents who built a successful small business. He attended local public schools from elementary through high school. Avelino earned an associate degree from Fullerton College, a bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University, and a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. After playing division one college football and briefly pursuing a career in the National Football League (NFL), Avelino coached at Fullerton College. He also taught as a special education instructional assistant in the Anaheim Elementary School District. Avelino served as a Councilmember for the City of Anaheim from 2020-2022. Prior to that, he was the Chair of the City of Anaheim’s Budget, Investment, & Technology Commission from 2016-2020.
As a Councilmember, Avelino worked to speed up the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, expand access to mental health resources, develop new city parks, establish a small business assistance program, and increase accessibility to housing, all while being a responsible fiscal steward of tax dollars. He also worked closely with local police officers, firefighters, and paramedics to make neighborhoods safer and improve emergency response times. As the chair of the City of Anaheim’s Budget, Investment, and Technology Commission, Avelino focused on economic growth, improving the city’s long term financial stability, and safeguarding public resources on behalf of taxpayers.
In the State Legislature, Assemblymember Valencia will listen, work hard, and build the coalitions necessary to reduce homelessness, protect public health, enhance schools, restore lost jobs, decrease crime, combat climate change, expand infrastructure, and improve the quality of life for the residents of the 68th Assembly District. Avelino is married to this high school sweetheart, Dr. Monica Valencia, who is a local elementary school principal.
Treasurer-Tax Collector, County of San Mateo
Background: Sandie Arnott is the first woman elected to the position of Treasurer Tax Collector of San Mateo County. She was first elected in November, 2010 and re-elected in June, 2014 & 2018. She is responsible for oversight of 40 staff members. She was initially employed by the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s office in 1989 and served as Deputy Treasurer-Tax Collector since 2002.
Since her election, Ms. Arnott's priorities have been focused on improving payment processes, making them more efficient and Green. She opened remote tax collection locations in South San Francisco and Half Moon Bay and provides mailbox drop-off service during peak tax collection periods (for which she received a County STARS award in 2019). Live chat website assistance (for which she received a County STARS award for customer service in 2013) and online property auctions were introduced in 2011. E billing of property tax bills went live in fiscal year 2015-16 and a new IVR (interactive voice response) telephone answering service went live in August, 2018. She is a staunch supporter of the Senior Citizens and Disabled Property Tax Postponement Program which was reinstated in 2014 and went live in 2016. Ms. Arnott authored AB2738 which was adopted by Assemblywoman Kristen Olsen and signed into law by the Governor on 9/22/16. This new law, effective 1/1/17, dis-allows school districts and community college districts from claiming bond proceeds as surplus funds and withdrawing them from the County treasury for investing by a school or community college district. This law protects taxpayer dollars by ensuring they remain in the treasury and are withdrawn solely for the projects stated within the bond measure presented to voters. Ms. Arnott is currently in the process of implementing a new property tax system (TaxSys) by the Grant Street Group and is the first county in California to implement their system. The go-live date is set for July, 2019.
Capital Finance Director, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
Nikolai J. Sklaroff joined the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) as its Capital Finance Director in May 2022. As Capital Finance Director, he is responsible for developing, implementing and administering the SFPUC Capital Financing activities across the agency. He leads a team of professionals supporting the agency's capital project funding activities including financing transactions, banking agreements, commercial paper program activities, credit rating activities and debt administration, among others. The role serves in a key leadership function at the SFPUC. The Capital Finance Director manages the day-to-day operations of the SFPUC’s $6+ billion outstanding debt portfolio and the daily operations of the SFPUC’s $1.5 billion Commercial Paper Program across three enterprises, Water, Wastewater and Power.
Nikolai has spent more than three decades in the public finance industry and most recently served as the Deputy Director of Finance responsible for the Debt & Treasury Management division in the City of San José. In that role he oversaw teams managing the City’s $4.6 billion debt portfolio across all enterprises, managing the City’s $2.4 billion investment portfolio and managing the City’s banking operations. Nikolai has also spent 22 years as a senior public finance investment banker in San Francisco with Citigroup Global Markets, J. P. Morgan Securities - where he was national Head of Cultural Institutions investment banking - and Wells Fargo Securities. Prior to becoming an investment banker in 1997, Nikolai was a senior Moody’s Investors Service rating agency analyst and member of Moody's rating committee. Nikolai began his career as a financial advisor with Public Financial Management, Inc. in his hometown of Philadelphia, where he received his degrees from the Wharton School and the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of Pennsylvania, prior to moving to England (to live in a castle) to pursue his graduate degree. He pursued further graduate studies at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs prior to moving to San Francisco.
A frequent speaker at industry conferences and author on public finance topics, Nikolai has also served on multiple boards of directors and advisory committees. Nikolai is currently serving on the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Debt Committee. As a former California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission (CDIAC) Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) member, Nikolai continues to enjoy assisting CDIAC with policy publications and seminars.