Jesse Melgar is Senior Advisor for Strategy & Public Affairs at the University of California Possibility Lab, after serving as Senior Advisor & Director of Engagement for California 100 at the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy. Prior to this role, Jesse worked in state government for nearly a decade, most recently serving as Communications Director and Press Secretary for California Governor Gavin Newsom during the unprecedented crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. He previously led communications for United States Senator Alex Padilla during his first term as California Secretary of State, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara during his tenure as a state senator, the California Latino Legislative Caucus, and Equality California.
Jesse is the founder and chair of the Cultivating Inland Empire Latino Opportunity Fund at the Inland Empire Community Foundation, known as the CIELO Fund. The CIELO Fund grants money to support Latino led — and serving — organizations throughout the region.
Jesse is past vice president of HONOR PAC, the nation’s leading Latinx LGBTQ+ political action committee. He is currently an advisory board member for the UC Riverside School of Public Policy and Equality California. In 2021, Governor Newsom appointed Jesse to serve as his appointee to the California Volunteers Commission where he advocated for Inland Empire colleges and universities to receive millions in state funding for the new California Volunteers College Corps program.
He earned his bachelor’s degree with dual majors in Political Science and Chicano Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Riverside School of Public Policy as a member of the inaugural cohort and recipient of a full-tuition merit scholarship. He is a lifelong resident of the Inland Empire and lives in Riverside with his husband, Angel.