Vice Chair – California Democratic Party

2015-2023 California State Controller

Interview highlights

00:46 - "Background as a child of an immigrant" 04:27 - "Family and personal life" 07:00 - "Journey into the public sector" 13:07 - "Accomplishments in state government" 17:03 - "Running for office as a woman and Chinese American" 25:19 - "Role as Vice Chair of CA Democratic Party" 27:59 - "Words of Inspiration"

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Betty Yee was elected as California’s Controller in November 2014, following two terms of service on the California Board of Equalization, the nation’s only elected tax commission. Reelected for a second term as Controller in 2018 earning the highest number of votes of any candidate on the ballot that year nationwide — over 8 million votes — Betty is only the tenth woman in California history to be elected to statewide office.

As chief fiscal officer of then the world’s fifth-largest economy, Betty chaired the Franchise Tax Board and served as a member of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) Boards. The nation’s largest public pension funds, these two boards reached a combined portfolio of more than $800 billion.

Betty served on dozens of boards, commissions, and financing authorities affecting policies ranging from land management, affordable housing, and alternative transportation to crime victim compensation and health and educational facilities.

As chair of the State Lands Commission, she provided stewardship of public-trust lands, waterways, and marine resources through economic development, protection, preservation, and restoration consistent with the state’s environmental needs. In this capacity, Betty led the adoption of the Commission’s first-ever strategic plan, focusing on addressing sea-level rise and oil decommissioning, with a commitment to environmental justice and tribal consultation. She also spearheaded the shuttering of the last state oil platform in the Santa Barbara channel.

A native of San Francisco, Betty has more than 35 years of experience in public service, specializing in state and local finance and tax policy. As Controller, Betty led an experienced, full-time team of public service professionals who are responsible for financial reporting, audits, and issuing more than 49 million payments annually to vendors, local governments, school districts, taxpayers, and state employees. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, Betty worked to streamline the State Controller’s Office manual processes and reimagine the agency as a workplace of the future.

Betty previously served as Chief Deputy Director for Budget with the California Department of Finance where she led the development of the Governor’s Budget, negotiations with the Legislature and key budget stakeholders, and fiscal analyses of legislation. Prior to this, she served in senior staff positions for several fiscal and policy committees in both houses of the California State Legislature.

Betty currently serves on the Ceres Board of Directors, a global nonprofit organization working to mobilize many of the world’s largest investors to advance sustainability and take stronger action on climate change.