Stephen J. Kaufman is a native of New York City who has lived most of his life in Los Angeles. He graduated from UCLA with a degree in Political Science and next attended the University of California, Hastings College of Law, where he graduated with a J.D. in 1987. Stephen joined the Los Angeles office of Peterson & Ross after graduating and practiced there for five years, specializing in litigation involving unfair business practices and environmental insurance coverage. In 1992, he joined Long & Levit, becoming a partner in the Los Angeles office. While at Long & Levit, he continued to practice in the area of business litigation. At the same time, he developed a political practice and began representing clients in campaign-finance and election law matters. In addition, Stephen chaired Long & Levit's pro bono committee, receiving the California State Bar's Wiley W. Manuel Award for pro bono legal services to the community. He has extensive trial and appellate experience in both the state and federal courts.
Since forming Smith Kaufman in 1996, Stephen has specialized in campaign-finance and election law, managing the firm's Political Practice Group. He is a member of the State Bar of California (Public Law Section), the American Bar Association, the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the California Political Attorneys Association, and the California Political Treasurers' Association. Stephen is active in the community, serving on the Government Relations Committee of the Central City Association, the UCLA Government Relations Alumni Advocacy Committee, and the Board of the Southern California Leadership Network. Stephen is active in Democratic Party politics, serving as a field organizer and fundraiser in national and local campaigns since his days as a student organizer at UCLA.
Stephen was admitted to the bar in 1987, California and the U.S. District Court, Central District of California; 1989 U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit; 1999, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. He is a frequent author and speaker on campaign reform and election issues. Recent articles include "Florida Focus," Los Angeles Daily Journal, November 15, 2000, and "Trouble Ahead for Campaign Reform," Los Angeles Business Journal, October 20, 1997.
Juris Doctor, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, 1991
Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, UCLA, 1986
Senior Advisor to the Governor and Director of Policy,
California Governor Gray Davis, 1999 to present
Interim Director, Governor's Office of Planning & Research,
Governor's Designee to the California Housing Finance Agency,
Commission on State Mandates, Department of Toxic Substances
Control Clean Loan Committee, Clean Water and Water
Reclamation Finance Committee, County Correctional Facility
Capital Expenditure and Youth Facility Finance Committee,
Higher Education Facilities Finance Committee, Safe Drinking
Water Finance Committee, State School Building Finance
Committee, and Water Conservation Finance Committee, present
Member, California Independent System Operator, 2001 to present
Interim Director, California Department of Social
Chair, Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board, 1999
Member, California Earthquake Authority, 1999
General Counsel and Deputy Controller, California
State Controller Kathleen Connell, 1995-1998
State Controller's Designee on Board of Equalization, Board of
Control, State Lands Commissions, and Tax Credit Allocation
Attorney, Radcliff, Frandsen & Dongell, Los Angeles, California,
Before being named President of the Manufacturing Group, Guardino worked for Hewlett-Packard Company. Prior to his tenure at Hewlett-Packard, Guardino spent five years at the Manufacturing Group, where he served as Vice President. Previously, Guardino spent six years on the staff of Assemblyman Rusty Areias, the last three years as his Chief Assistant. When he was named to that position, he became the youngest Chief Assistant in the State of California.
Guardino was recently named as one of the "Ten Most Powerful" people in Silicon Valley by the San Jose Mercury News "power study," which is only conducted every ten years. Known throughout the region as a consensus builder, Guardinos work includes: managing the successful traffic relief initiatives, Measures A and B, in 1996 and co-directing the November 2000 Measure A traffic relief initiative to bring BART to Santa Clara County; creating the Housing Action Coalition to advocate for housing that is relatively affordable for Silicon Valley workers; developing the Santa Clara County Housing Trust; and forming the Vehicle Buy-Back Coalition to permanently remove older, smoky vehicles from our roads in order to improve air quality. Guardino also serves on numerous boards and commissions. He is the Chair of City Year San Jose Silicon Valley, the Measure A & B Citizens Watchdog Committee and the Housing Authority of Santa Clara County. In addition, he serves on the Boards for Technology Network, the San Jose Metropolitan YMCA, Bridge Housing, and the Housing Trust of Santa Clara County. In January 2001, Guardino was appointed by Governor Gray Davis to serve on the five-member board of the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO), a non-profit corporation formed through state legislation to oversee California's electrical grid.
He was born and raised in San Jose, and received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from San Jose State University. Guardino has been actively involved in the community, and has been honored for his community service in being named one of the "Five Outstanding Young Californians" by the California Junior Chamber of Commerce.