The Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College will honor former California Chamber of Commerce President Kirk West with the Rose Institute Award for Excellence in Public Service on Friday, March 28, during a gala luncheon in Sacramento. The award recognizes exceptional individuals or organizations demonstrating an enduring commitment to exemplary public service. Honor, integrity, leadership, and a philanthropic spirit are among the characteristics defining this individual or organization.
West, whose distinguished career includes advocating for California businesses and schools, will be honored during ceremonies at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel. A reception at 11:30 a.m. will be followed at noon with a welcome from Rose Institute Board chair Darryl Wold ’63 and Rose Institute director Andrew Busch, CMC’s Crown Professor of Government and George R. Roberts Fellow. CMC President Hiram E. Chodosh will give the opening remarks.
Probably most known to voters for his longtime advocacy of California businesses and schools (opposing anti-business taxes and supporting school bonds, respectively), West’s governmental experience and leadership cover three decades. He served 12 years as President and Chief Executive Officer of the California Chamber of Commerce, and eight years in the role of Executive Vice President and CEO of the California Taxpayers' Association.
“It gives us great pleasure to present the Rose Award to Mr. West,” Busch said. “He spent his career working for California’s taxpayers, entrepreneurs, and schoolchildren. Both in and out of government, Mr. West has been a leader and an example of the best in public service.”
West served in the Cabinet in the Administration of Governor George Deukmejian as Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing. His distinguished career highlights, as previously mentioned, include advocating for California businesses, protecting California’s competitiveness and job climate, and supporting improvements to education, as well as transportation, and water programs.
He also served as Chief Deputy State Controller and as Deputy Director for the state Department of Finance, and for three years as a trustee of the San Juan School District in Sacramento. He has been a guest instructor on state and local government at the University of California, Davis. Other past roles include his service as director at Accela Inc., Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, and Wyle Electronics Corporation in Irvine.
A graduate of Stanford University in 1958, West went on to earn a master's degree in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. West recently served as chairman of Goddard Claussen. Since his retirement in 2003, he has worked as a public affairs consultant in Granite Bay, Calif. He also is a director of the Blue Shield of California Corporation.