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Name: Caballero, Anna
Current Position: Former Secretary

After a professional career spent serving the people of the Salinas Valley, Anna M. Caballero became secretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency in March 2011. She resigned in November 2015. Her mandate as secretary parallels her experience fighting for working families, children and crime victims; working to create well-paying jobs; and advocating for fair and affordable housing.

Born into a family of copper miners from Arizona, Caballero holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of California, San Diego and a law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. She moved to the Salinas Valley in 1979 and worked as a lawyer representing farm workers at California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) for three years. In 1982, Caballero and two CRLA colleagues formed a law firm, Caballero, Matcham & McCarthy. She also served as the executive director of Partners for Peace, a nonprofit organization that focused on literacy and early education as a means to prevent youth violence and support community values.

Caballero, a Democrat, moved into the public sector when she was appointed to the Salinas Planning Commission before being elected to the city council in 1991. She was elected Salinas mayor in 1998 and served eight years, during which she was a founding member, and investor, of Pacific Valley Bank.

Caballero was elected to the Assembly in 2006 and served two terms representing the 28th District—covering San Benito County, much of Monterey County and parts of Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. She lost a bid for the state Senate in 2010 to Republican Anthony Cannella, and engineer and then mayor of Ceres.

Brown’s appointment of a Latina was applauded by many in the Latino community, according to an article in The American Latina.

“Anna Caballero has a tremendous opportunity to become the Latina leader in the United States,” Jim Hernandez, CEO of the California Hispanic Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, told the article’s author. “She simply has to exercise the courage to advocate civil rights fairness for Latinos. Brown has shown us his good faith, now she must show us that she can lead.”  

Only the appointment of Mario Obledo as head of the Health and Human Services Agency by Brown in 1975 rivals Caballero’s appointment in stature and importance to California’s Latino community of 14 million, said the article.

In an interview with Capitol Weekly in November 2011, Caballero said one of her goals in office was developing a more customer service-oriented culture recognizing that people want to know how government works and how to get information and make complaints if necessary. 

“A lot of people have no clue what government does so it’s real easy to say ‘cut government’ because they don’t know what protections there are out there,” Caballero said. “So if we’re not telling them what the Bureau of Automotive Repair does and why it’s important, then they take that for granted that their vehicle is going to be treated appropriately when they take it in. What we want to do is get the good news out in terms of here are the things the state does to protect you.”

The agency also wants to make it easier for consumers to find information online and for small businesses that want to contract with the state to find out what they need to do. Said Caballero: “The hard part is we don’t have money for outreach like we should. So we’ve got to be creative about how we do it.”

Caballero is the mother of three adult children and grandmother of four. Her husband, Juan Uranga, is the executive director of the Center for Community Advocacy in Salinas.


The secretary position pays $175,000. The agency secretary also chairs committees on building standards and victim compensation.



Secretary Anna M. Caballero  (SCSA website)

Governor Brown Announces Appointments (Office of Governor Jerry Brown)

Latina, Former Legislator, Appointed to State Cabinet Position (by Carlos Alcala, The American Latina)

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