GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER ANNOUNCES FIRST-IN-THE-NATION CABINET POSITION FOR SERVICE AND VOLUNTEERING – MARCH 1, 2008
The order was signed by Schwarzenegger on Tuesday during a press conference held at California State University Northridge’s Plaza Del Sol. Newly appointed Secretary of Service and Volunteering, Karen Baker will be a member of the Governor’s Cabinet. Baker, 46, of Sacramento, has served as executive director of California Volunteers, formerly known as California Service Corps and the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism, since 2005.
“Karen Baker does a fantastic job managing California Volunteers,” Schwarzenegger said. “By elevating the state’s volunteer profile we will make it easier for people to figure out where to go and what to do when they want to give their time or their resources.”
Schwarzenegger said that while government can give direction and impetus, real change has to come from people working together in their communities.
“I want to move civic engagement to the highest levels of state government, which is where it belongs,” said Schwarzenegger. “Californians’ desire and will to serve are there in abundance. We must do everything we can to harness this incredible resource.”
First Lady Maria Shriver – whose father Robert Sargent Shriver Jr.’s career and the Kennedy family legacy were founded upon service to country – stressed the importance her husband’s action which is expected to raise the profile of service in the state of California to a national level.
“I’m a big believer in uniting people to create change and achieve a positive legacy in their own lives, in their communities, in their state and beyond and it is through the act of service that this goal can be attained. Today as we elevate service, we elevate our fellow Californians to be 38 million strong,” said Shriver, who serves as California Volunteers’ honorary chair.
In statements to Gov. Schwarzenegger and First Lady Shriver, presidential candidates, Sen. John McCain, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama lauded Schwarzenegger’s call to action.
“Service to one’s country and community is the most noble of things an American can give. For a state the size and influence of California to elevate service and volunteering to such a prominent position in government says a lot about the state’s people and about the priorities of Governor Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver,” McCain said.
Sen. Clinton said the new position will help to ensure that California’s volunteers are fully integrated at the highest levels into the state’s efforts to build a better California.
“I commend California for taking civic engagement and volunteerism to a new level by announcing a cabinet level secretary of service and volunteerism,” Clinton said.
Sen. Obama praised Schwarzenegger’s action as a defining moment in the nation’s history.
“The Governor’s decision to elevate civic engagement to such an important level reminds us that the call to serve is one that transcends partisanship and has the power to unite this generation around a common purpose,” Obama said. “America is a great nation precisely because Americans have been willing to stand up when it was hard, to serve on stages both great and small, and to rise above moments of great challenge and terrible trial,” Obama added.
For more information on events, programs and volunteer opportunities through California Volunteers, including the California Volunteer Matching Network (CVMN), please visit CaliforniaVolunteers.org at http://www.californiavoluntee rs.org/
In the top photo, Gov. Schwarzenegger introduces Karen Baker as the first-in-the-nation Cabinet member for Service and Volunteering. Photo by Duncan McIntosh, Office of Gov Schwarzenegger.
In the second photo, Schwarzenegger stresses the importance of volunteering. Photo by Duncan McIntosh, Office of Gov Schwarzenegger.