CA Political Director (Ecosystems)

CA, United States 🇺🇸

Senior Vice President, External Affairs & Communications


San Francisco or Sacramento, CA

With world attention focused on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. This leading green group, with programs from Boston to Beijing, has tripled in size over the past decade by focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches. You can be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and a focus on results are a way of life.


The Political Director designs and implements policy initiatives that impact the Ecosystem’s programmatic work in California. The Director provides advice, guidance and implementation support across program and Political Affairs staff, and will focus most of their time on achieving goals related to water policy. The Director will concentrate on strategy and tactics, and manage strategic coalitions and relationships with industry, regulators, policy makers, “grasstops” opinion leaders and other environmental NGOs. Under the direction of the Senior Vice President, the position will guide efforts to achieve essential policy and regulatory outcomes necessary to the success of our water program and related work in the state of CA (habitat exchange & agriculture carbon offsets).  She/he will be deployed frequently to engage in in-state activities key to policy outcomes, and will serve as a day-to-day point of contact for our in-state resources. This position will work in close coordination with EDF communications and policy/technical teams to support these efforts and guide communications outreach around key initiatives.


  • Provide specific substantive, leadership and advisory roles across policy issues related primarily to water strategies in the State of CA. Work with policy experts on staff on CA specific efforts, and help fill in as needed on other relevant TBD policy initiatives that help the Ecosystem’s program achieve its goals. 
  • Advise Senior Vice President, Ecosystems, on any policy related issues, as needed.
  • Support the Associate Vice President, Water in development of policy, communications, field and overall campaign strategy.
  • Support AVP, Working Lands on ESA related federal policy issues, and other relevant issues related to successful development of policy around habitat exchanges.
  • Direct and contribute to development of earned media, collateral documents, presentations, and other outreach materials.
  • Develop and supervise consultant relationships and deliverables.
  • When available, supervise law clerks and policy interns.
  • As fundraising and budgets allow, hire and supervise additional policy staff.
  • Play lead role in directing all policy aspects of campaign to secure implementation of the CA Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
  • Play lead role on water policy issues in establishing and maintaining principle relationships with legislative and executive officials and staff at both Federal and State levels, and with the press.
  • Play lead role in representing EDF on water policy issues within the multi-NGO partnerships.
  • Develop substantive knowledge of EDF’s water program (not just within the State of CA), which includes relationships with local officials and stakeholders sufficient to advocate for and represent projects in Sacramento or Washington.
  • Support Senior Vice President and Associate Vice President in the development of fundraising proposals and reports as relates to policy activities.
  • Responsible for maintaining and reporting to funders on policy deliverables and assignments related to CA policy deliverables.
  • In concert with the EDF’s Political Affairs team,contribut to the coordination of water policy with policy of other intersecting EDF Programs, including Climate, Oceans, and non-water Ecosystems work.
  • When working on state or federal legislation and/or state or federal political activity as determined by the program, works directly with political affairs team on strategy and tactics.


  • Graduate degree or, equivalent professional experience, in Science, Policy, Economics, or Law, in areas related to environmental policy, environmental sciences, natural resource management, engineering or related fields.
  • At least 10 years of related advocacy work experience.
  • Extensive experience with CA state legislative and regulatory structures, and solid understanding of the political dynamics surrounding a broad range of environmental issues and the wider political context in which they operate
  • Experience with Federal legislative and regulatory structure.
  • Demonstrable positive people and project management skills.
  • Demonstrable analytic skills and ability to perform rigorous analysis in support of highly visible work.
  • Demonstrable effective written and oral communication skills.
  • Excellent negotiation skills. Ability to garner consensus between disparate groups with conflicting priorities.
  • Ability to identify and take advantage of market and strategic opportunities for progress.
  • Capable of working effectively and collaboratively with a variety of concerned parties, including government agencies, grassroots organizations and private firms, within strategic coalitions.
  • Strong written and verbal skills, analytic capabilities and ability to manage a diverse workload in a rapidly evolving environment.

Due to the volume of employment applications and queries received, EDF is unable to respond to each application individually. Applicants will be contacted directly if selected as a candidate.

Environmental Defense Fund is an Equal Opportunity Employer