Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed a Latino health activist and long-time labor leader who’s worked at top levels of state government to the board at Covered California, the state health benefit exchange.
Genoveva Islas and Marty Morgenstern replace Kim Belshe and Susan Kennedy, whose terms expired Dec. 31.
Islas, 46, is from Tulare. She’s been program director at the Public Health Institute’s regional obesity prevention program since 2006 and was an area field representative for the California Diabetes Program at the California Department of Public Health from 2004 to 2005.
A former part-time faculty member at Bakersfield College, Islas worked as a health education-cultural linguistics supervisor at Bakersfield-based Kern Health Systems in the 1990s. She has a master’s degree in public health from Loma Linda University.
Morgenstern, 80, is from Oakland. He’s served as a senior adviser in the governor’s office since 2013 and was secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency from 2011 to 2013 — but his relationship with Brown dates back to the governor’s first term. Morgenstern worked in the Brown’s Office of Employee Relations from 1975 to 1981.
A former labor relations consultant for the University of California, Morgenstern is a former director of the California Department of Personal Administration and former member of the California Public Employment Relations Board. He’s also been chairman of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education.
Morgenstern was active in organized labor from 1964 to 1974, when he was a shop steward and local union president in New York City and then as California director for the American Federation of State,County and Municipal Employees.
Islas and Morgenstern are Democrats. Both appointments require Senate confirmation. Compensation is $100 per diem.
There’s still one vacancy on the board following the December resignation of Bob Ross. His term did not expire until 2016, but that appointment is up to the Senate Rules Committee.