The IGS National Advisory Council is responsible for providing guidance and direction to advance the Institute's development and outreach efforts. Membership is composed of distinguished individuals representing the corporate, philanthropy, non-profit, professional, and academic sectors that are affiliated with the IGS mission.

Peter D. Hart

Hart Research

For more than 35 years, Peter Hart has been one of the leading analysts of public opinion in the United States. Since 1971, he has directed Peter D. Hart Research Associates, which has conducted more than 6000 public opinion surveys that have included interviews among more than five million individuals. Hart Research also has undertaken...

Steven Lucas

Nielsen Merksamer

Steven Lucas is a partner at Nielsen Merksamer specializing in political law, including campaign, election, lobby and ethics laws in various federal, state and local jurisdictions.  He specializes in state and local ballot measures, non-profit law, and maintains a 50 state national compliance practice in the area of campaign and lobby law.  As a lecturer...

Tom MacBride

Goodin, MacBride, Squeri & Day LLP

Mr. MacBride has practice law for 40 years with an emphasis on proceedings before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

Mr. MacBride served as President of the Conference of California Public Utility Counsel (CCPUC) in 1997-98, a position he also held in 1982-83.

Mr. MacBride has participated in a number of successful legislative initiatives to reform CPUC...

Katie Merrill

The Merrill Strategy Group

Katie Merrill is a Democratic strategist and president of The Merrill Strategy Group, a California-based political consulting firm. Over the course of her nearly 20-year career, Merrill has advised Democratic campaigns for Governor, U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, state legislative candidates and statewide initiative campaigns, Democratic organizations and environmental, labor, and other public advocacy groups.


Eugene "Mitch" Mitchell

Vice President, State Government Affairs
San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas)

Eugene “Mitch” Mitchell is vice president of state government affairs for San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas), Sempra Energy’s California regulated utilities.  Based in Sacramento, Mitchell is responsible for state governmental affairs for both California utilities. Prior to his current position, Mitchell was regional vice president of external affairs,...

Laiza Negrete

PAC Director
California Association of REALTORS

Laiza Negrete 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 CRE-PAC, Laiza worked for the New York State Assembly and the Council of State Governments, Western Office. Laiza has been selected for CalNewsroom's list of...

Chris Patterson

Political Director
California Professional Firefighters

Chris Patterson has over 10 years experience working in government, politics, public affairs, and non-profit sectors. He is currently the Political Director of the California Professional Firefighters (CPF), the statewide organization representing 30,000 emergency responders.  In this capacity, Chris directs CPF’s strategies related to federal, state and local candidate elections, manages independent expenditure and ballot...

Heather Podesta

Founder and CEO

Heather Podesta is the founder and CEO of Invariant. Now in its tenth year, Invariant (formerly Heather Podesta + Partners) is consistently named one of the top firms in Washington, posting revenue of nearly $10 million annually.

Known for her political savvy, substantive policy chops, and commonsense approach, Heather translates Washington for business and business for...

Jon Ross

KP Public Affairs

Jon Ross is a partner at KP Public Affairs. He joined the firm in 1996. He is a registered lobbyist and lawyer. He has specific expertise in financial services law and regulation, and has played a leading role in managing the financial services industry's response to a number of critical issues, including legislative efforts to...

Susie Swatt


Susie Swatt was Communications Director for the California Fair Political Practices Commission and has authored three highly acclaimed reports detailing the influence of money in the political process.  Her report, “Independent Expenditures: The Giant Gorilla in Campaign Finance,” was awarded a 2009 ProPublica Prize for Investigative...