Nancy Skinner, an accomplished legislator, social justice advocate, and expert on energy and climate change just completed her term in the State Assembly where she represented the East Bay cities along the I-80 corridor from Hercules to Oakland. On the Assembly Speaker’s leadership team, Skinner served as Chair of both the Rules Committee and the Budget Committee.
As Budget Chair, Skinner successfully championed the largest investment in early care and education for California’s children age 0 to 4 in over a decade, expanding access to both childcare and preschool. With her leadership, the budget included measures that cut the number of juveniles incarcerated in state facilities and provided new funding to community based programs to reduce prison recidivism.
Recognized nationally for her advocacy to prevent gun violence, Skinner was given the Courageous Leadership Award by the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence for her gun violence restraining order bill that allows families to act immediately to remove guns from those who threaten to commit violence to themselves or others; and her bill that banned the ammunition kits used to convert guns into assault-style weapons.
Skinner is the proud author of the E-Fairness bill that required Amazon and other Internet retailers to collect sales tax, creating fairness for neighborhood businesses and increasing state revenues by over $500 million annually. A strong champion of solar, wind and renewable energy, Skinner authored bills that expanded net metering for rooftop solar systems and established the Renewable Portfolio Standard to increase California’s share of renewable generated electricity. When the news broke that evidence from sexual assault crimes had not been processed, Skinner worked with Alameda County DA Nancy O’Malley to pass the bill mandating that DNA evidence from “rape kits” be entered into the national crime database. Her work on income inequality includes laws that made food stamps more accessible to families and improved services to California’s children in foster care.
Skinner is currently teaching a course at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy on state strategies to address poverty and serves as a Senior Policy Fellow at the Energy and Transportation Institutes at UC Davis.
In addition to State Assembly, Skinner served on the Berkeley City Council, where she was the first and only UC Berkeley student to be elected; on the Alameda County Stop Waste Board, and on the Board of Directors of the East Bay Regional Park District. At East Bay Regional Park District, Skinner worked to protect open space, add acres of additional parks, and expand recreational opportunities for youth and schools. Skinner is a former small business owner, staff director of UC Berkeley’s graduate student government and past executive director of two large non profit organizations.
An internationally known leader in the fight against global warming, Skinner co-founded ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability. She was Executive Director of ICLEI’s US office and International Director of the Cities for Climate Protection program which she and her colleagues launched in 1992 and involves over 2000 cities worldwide. Her work on climate change includes developing the first carbon counting tool to help cities and counties quantify greenhouse gas emissions and coordinating the 2005 Summit between Fortune 500 CEOs, Governor Schwarzenegger and UK Prime Minister Blair which helped lead to the signing of AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act.
A graduate of UC Berkeley with a Bachelor’s of Science from the College of Natural Resources and a Masters in Education, Skinner was active in student government, was a leader in the anti-Apartheid movement and a founder of the union that represents graduate student instructors.
Being elected the first ‘girl’ president of her high school, set Skinner on a path to encourage more women into elected office. She has been active in the East Bay Women’s Political Caucus and founded the Women in Power PAC that provides funds to Democratic women running for state office.
A California native and East Bay resident for over 40 years, Skinner’s husband Lance, is a public service retiree, her daughter Sirona, a graduate of Berkeley’s public schools, and Sirona’s wife Sinead, reside in Oakland where they work as private chefs.