Independent Voter Project
IVP was founded in 2006 by a group lead by its former Co-Chairman, Steve Peace. Peace was also a former member of the legislature and as the State’s Finance Director, Mr. Peace saw the increased polarization of public policy debate and decisions and imagined a process by which those voters and citizens who had become increasingly disenfranchised and disillusioned by the public decision-making process could again become active participants. The result was the California Independent Voter Project.
An East Coast native, Dan Howle is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he majored in history and political science.
Mr. Howle’s professional career began in 1974 when he accepted a position with Assemblyman Lou Papan in the California State Assembly. In 1976, Dan joined the staff of the Speaker’s Office of Majority Consultants in the State Assembly. As a Senior Consultant, Dan provided training and development for newly elected legislators and staff. From 1979 to 1981 Mr. Howle held the position of Chief Consultant to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.
Dan left state government service and moved to the private sector in 1981 when he became Manager of State Government Relations for the AMFAC Corporation. His responsibilities included government relations in five western states.
Dan returned to public affairs in 1991 as Executive Director of the Urban County Caucus. He left that position in 1994 to become Vice President for the Tobacco Institute where he remained until late 1999. His transition back to public service was completed when he became Chief of Staff to California State Senator Steve Peace.
Dan recently retired after 16 years as Director of State Government Relations for a major pharmaceutical manufacturer, Eli Lilly and Company. He has accepted the position of Executive Director and Chairman of the Board of the Independent Voter Project. In addition, Mr. Howle serves on the Boards of the California Governor’s Cup Foundation, the Foundation for Independent Voter Education, and the National Association of Non-partisan Reformers.
Laiza Garcia currently serves as the PAC Director with the California Association of REALTORS® handling the political resources for one of the top trade associations in the state. Before joining C.A.R. Laiza worked for the New York State Assembly and the Council of State Governments, Western Office. While in New York, Laiza Garcia worked with the Independence Party of New York in their advocacy effort to open up New York’s primary elections. Laiza has been selected for CalNewsroom's list of the "Capitol's 100 Best & Brightest" (2014). She is a graduate of Cal State Sacramento where she earned a degree in Government. Laiza Garcia lives in Sacramento and spends her personal time looking at the California state archives compiling a history of California’s political action committees.
Bob Foster's career spans more than 40 years, beginning with his tenure as Chief Consultant to the California State Senate Energy Committee, advancing to division head and Deputy Director of the California Energy Commission, culminating with his serving as President of Southern California Edison. He has been at the forefront of energy efficiency and renewables; pioneering the first energy standards for buildings in the nation in 1972 and leading Edison's renewable policy for a voluntary 20 percent of its energy portfolio well before it was mandated. He has been one of the leading policy developers in the energy space. He also entered the political arena, serving two terms as the Mayor of Long Beach until his retirement in July 2014. As Mayor, Bob championed and implemented across the board pension reform (the only large California city to do so) saving his city over $250 million over the next decade. He launched the massive infrastructure improvements at the Port of Long Beach, more than $5 billion over the next decade, and initiated the green port policy, which has now reduced pollution at the port by over 80 percent. His hallmark as Mayor was the fiscal discipline he imposed, allowing Long Beach to exit the financial crisis with a AA credit rating, no new taxes, and a budget surplus for the first time in a decade. He currently serves as a director on the Boards of S Power, Epcor, and TTSI, and serves on the Advisory Board of Philips Electronics, and Gridco. He recently stepped down as Chairman of the California Independent System Operator. He has served on the California State University Board of Trustees for eight years. Bob is married to Nancy Foster his wife of 47 years and has two sons and three Grandchildren. In 1983 he coached the Pacific Little Team from Sacramento to the Little League World Series in Williamsport Penn. He splits his time between Long Beach and La Quinta California.
Floyd is currently the President and CEO of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) in Washington, D.C. He retired as National Executive Director/CEO of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) in June of 2012. He is a past mayor of the City of Pleasanton, California, and a past California State Assemblyman. He has done extensive work in venture capital work and with international business, primarily with Japanese companies. He taught Economics at Chabot College in Hayward, California, for ten years.
Native Californian grew up on a family farm in Otay, California. Graduate of San Diego State University and University of San Diego Law School. Active in California public affairs since 1977 in Sacramento working for the California Legislature and Governor Gray Davis. Worked in the private sector as manager of Public Affairs for Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric. Currently, the Manager of State and Federal Government Affairs for the City and County of San Francisco working for Mayor Ed Lee. Assisted in the drafting of California's Top 2 primary election law in 2010.
Jeff Marston brings nearly forty years of community relations and public policy expertise and a proven track record of working with people of very diverse opinions throughout a given decision making process. For seventeen years, Marston was president and co-owner of Marston+Marston, Inc., a full service public, governmental and community relations firm and before that, was senior vice president of another San Diego-based public relations firm where he spent nearly four years serving as the lobbyist for the City of San Diego in Sacramento. Before his employment there, Marston was a member of the California State Assembly representing San Diego’s 78th District. While in the State Assembly, Marston served on the Committees on Education, Housing and Community Development and Revenue and Taxation.