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BB JOHN LAIRD 730.JPGFormer Assemblyman John Laird spent the morning in his Sacramento condominium clicking the "refresh" button, waiting for official word that Gov. Jerry Brown had appointed him secretary of the California Resources Agency.

"I did this thing where I just refreshed the computer and waited for the announcement to come, and when it did, I just walked over to work," said Laird, a Santa Cruz Democrat. "I knew it was coming."

Laird's appointment was so widely expected that an environmental group over the weekend praised the selection.

Laird, a former mayor of Santa Cruz, said he is honored by the appointment. The first major challenge he will face is a state budget that will include massive reductions to programs he oversees.

"It's going to be made challenging by the budget next week," Laird said. "Every state agency's going to take a hit, probably a significant hit, and appropriately so."

He said, "I think this is really about fixing things for the long term. I think it's about some rough times over the short term and trying to have a strategy over the long term."

PHOTO CREDIT: John Laird, D-Santa Cruz, then the Assembly budget chairman, sits on the floor of the Assembly, Nov 6, 2008. Brian Baer / Sacramento Bee file photo



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