California Executive Fellow Ciaran Gallagher Assists with New Organics Recycling Law at CalRecycle
I am one of the 18 Executive Fellows serving in the Executive Branch across Sacramento through the Capital Fellows Program, a 10-month public policy fellowship. The capital fellowship aims to foster the next generation of California public sector leaders. My peers and I learn the ropes of state government by conducting bill analyses, facilitating stakeholder conversations, and writing regulatory language.
I am the fifth fellow in as many years to be placed at CalRecycle under the mentorship of Chief Deputy Director Ken DaRosa. He has given me the flexibility to work on projects that align with my interest in waste and climate policy intersections. My main projects are around the SB 1383 (Lara, Chapter 395, Statutes of 2016) formal rulemaking process, which will further statewide organic waste collection and processing and the recovery of edible food. These regulations will decrease methane emissions, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and divert edible food for the 5.4 million food-insecure Californians. SB 1383 will fundamentally shift the landscape of waste in California, and I am amazed that I am part of this momentous effort.
Given my academic background in environmental chemistry and work experience in local governments, CalRecycle has been an ideal placement for me to develop state government skills and be involved in environmental policy. It has also felt like coming back to my roots since my undergraduate research focused on urban farming and gleaning in the context of food security.
When I applied to this fellowship, I was already committed to a career in the public sector. These past six months have only cemented this decision. Daily I am motivated by my coworkers and peer fellows who are dedicated to improving the lives of all Californians.
At the first CalRecycle monthly public meeting I attended, multiple people enthusiastically complimented the department’s transparent, thorough, and engaging regulatory process. Although the commenters didn’t necessarily agree with CalRecycle’s ultimate decision in the regulatory language, they praised the process that included lengthy conversation with various stakeholders. I am honored to work for a government department that values this engagement and upholds its work values through every step of the regulatory process.
California's 18 Capital Fellows. CalRecycle's fellow, Ciaran Gallagher, is the second from the left in the top row.