On Friday March 28, the Rose Institute of State and Local Government presented the Rose Award for Excellence in Public Service to Kirk West at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel. The Rose Award recognizes exceptional individuals or organizations that demonstrate leadership and commitment to public service.
Kirk West’s career in the California government was long and storied. He has been the Chief Deputy State Controller, Under Deputy Director of the Department of Finance, and Secretary of Business, Transportation, and Housing, where he was responsible for 33,000 employees and a $3 billion budget. Mr. West also spent many years in public advocacy, leading the California Chamber of Commerce in its activities as President and Chief Executive Officer for twelve years. Other distinguishing highlights of his career include Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the California Taxpayers Association for eight years and Chairman of Goddard Claussen Porter Novelli, a leading public affairs and advertising firm. Since his retirement in 2003, Mr. West has been working as a public affairs consultant in Granite Bay, California. Mr. West is known for his longtime advocacy of California businesses through his actions fighting for California’s job market and supporting education, transportation, and water program initiatives.
The award luncheon began with a reception at 11:30 A.M., followed by lunch at noon, with presentation of the award and remarks. Rose Institute Board chair Darryl Wold ’63 and Rose Institute director Andrew Busch, CMC’s Crown Professor of Government and George R. Roberts Fellow, gave the welcome speech. Claremont McKenna College President Hiram Chodosh then made opening remarks, noting the hard work, dedication, and stellar example of leadership that Mr. West presents. President Chodosh also recognized the students in the room, encouraging all professionals to share their business cards with students to encourage the next generation of leaders in public service.
A committee of Sacramento notables and Rose Institute staff presented the award, with the award luncheon featuring former California Governors George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson, and Gray Davis on the Honorary Host Committee. In his acceptance speech, Mr. West reminisced about his time in California government, touching on the highlights of his career and presenting a prognosis of California and national politics in the future.