Meet The Team

Golden State is committed to employee development and success. We encourage learning, creativity, and risk taking by our staff and consultants. 

Nick Caston, Golden State Government Relations
Nick Caston, President and Chief Strategic Officer

In this role, Nick provides clients a full spectrum of regulatory and legislative services, including: state and federal legislative efforts; land-use planning; state and local government relations; compliance; and regulatory affairs.

Nick has worked in public policy for over fifteen years, including serving in the office of former Assemblywoman and State Senator Noreen Evans. During his tenure in the public sector, Nick developed an expertise in California environmental and land-use policy. He has worked on sustainability campaigns focusing on land-use, transportation, and working families from the State Capitol and throughout California. In addition, Nick has had extensive experience in California’s political sphere, garnering awards for his political consulting efforts. Each week, Nick Co-Hosts the “CannaBiz” radio segment on The Drive with Steve Jackson, streaming at Mondays at 4:20pm. Nick is a Co-Chair of the California Democratic Party’s Resolution Committee.

Previously, Nick served as the Vice-Chair of the City of Santa Rosa, CA Planning Commission, Vice-Chair of the California Democratic Party Environmental Caucus and was a member of the California Community College Trustees Board of Directors.

Dr. Jennifer Price, D.C., State Compliance Specialist

Dr. Jennifer Price, D.C. is the Director of State Compliance, and one of the founding officers of Golden State GR. She has a professional background as a practicing chiropractor and published researcher. Dr. Price began working in government relations in 2016 and has become a regulatory and compliance expert in age-restricted markets.

Dr. Price holds a B.A. in Psychology from U.C. Santa Barbara and a B.S. in Human Biology from Cleveland Chiropractic College Los Angeles, in addition to her Doctor of Chiropractic degree. With over 10 years of private practice as a chiropractor in Scotland and California under her belt, she has also worked in research, managing a clinical trial and publishing multiple papers in peer-reviewed research journals. Jennifer has also appeared as a guest speaker on the "CannaBiz" radio segment on The Drive with Steve Jackson on KSRO. She now applies her research, writing, and communication skills to influencing the regulatory landscape of California’s age-restricted markets and bringing businesses into compliance with state requirements for operation.

Amber Johnson, Central Coast Engagement Manager

Amber Johnson is a seasoned government relations professional with a background in campaign management, grassroots advocacy and the public sector. Having started her career as a campaign manager for a judicial race in Santa Barbara county, she quickly moved up the political ranks running various legislative and land-use initiative campaigns in California then working for State Assemblyman Greg Aghazarian as his District Director, on to Washington, DC working for Congressman Darrell Issa, and off the Hill for the Toy Industry Association.

The Central Coast is never far from her heart, especially since Amber’s family has been there for seven generations. In 2013 she returned home and got back to her roots, campaigning. When she’s not working for clients you can find her barbecuing with her family, enjoying wine tasting with friends, out at the gun range shooting trap or hunting with her dad on the weekends.

Gary Broad, Land-Use Specialist

Gary has worked in the public and private sector providing land use, planning and environmental planning services and in public administration for more than three decades. He has worked as a City Planner throughout Northern California, including the City of Santa Rosa, the City of Petaluma, the County of Sonoma, the City of Emeryville and Lake County and as a Planning Director, Interim Planning Manager and Interim Community Development Director.

Gary was the Town Manager for the Town of Ross in Marin County and the City Manager for the City of St. Helena. Gary served on the City of Petaluma Planning Commission, including serving as Chair and Vice-Chair. He sat on the City of Petaluma Design Review Committee and the Board of Building Appeals. 

Gary provides clients with land use expertise, including project feasibility analysis; zoning, general plan and code regulatory compliance review; environmental assessment; application preparation; and project entitlement, permitting and construction services. He has extensive background in widespread development applications ranging from commercial/industrial development to cannabis retail dispensaries. manufacturing and cultivation, to residential development.

Gary has a B.A. from Wesleyan University with a double major in Economics and Government, a Master’s  in City and Regional Planning (MCP) from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) from Cal State East Bay.

Eliza Hodgson, Public Policy Campaign Manager

Eliza Hodgson is a public policy professional with experience in strategy, policy development  and issue advocacy. Before joining GSGR, Eliza spent five years doing both communications and legislative work, providing strategic policy advice to federal decision makers. She served as a Senior Adviser to a Shadow Cabinet Minister in the Australian Parliament, where she led the development of a range of social policy reforms to advance Indigenous and elder rights. Prior to this, she worked in land rights, legal and health policy. A passionate problem solver, Eliza has worked with federal, state and local governments as well as industry and community groups.

After a successful career in Australia, she now calls California home. Eliza holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and History from the University of Newcastle.

Shaun Ross, Project Coordinator

Prior to joining GSGR, Shaun spent over twenty years as an active duty member in the U.S. Coast Guard. His duties during his career ranged from search and rescue and law enforcement to hazardous materials response. His final assignment was as a response supervisor for the Pacific Strike Team, a specialized HAZMAT unit responsible for emergency response. Shaun assisted in multiple responses, most notably was the Refugio oil spill where he acted as Assistant Operations Officer helping to ensure proper response techniques were executed and acted as a government liaison between federal,state, local and tribal representatives.     

In 2017 Shaun retired from the Coast Guard and began his career in the wine industry. Working at Sbragia Family Vineyards he quickly rose from Tasting Room Associate to Tasting Room Operations Manager and was in charge of the daily operations of two tasting rooms. 

As a Project Coordinator Shaun helps to provide our clients with a project that is on time, within budget and of the highest quality of standards.       

Lauren Funaro, Marketing and Event Associate  

Lauren graduated from Sonoma State University with an English degree and minors in Philosophy and Psychology. Since then, her experiences have taken her across Sonoma County. In the non-profit sector she has worked with Becoming Independent, the largest organization supporting and enriching the lives of adults with disabilities in the North Bay. While serving there as an instructor and member of the social media committee, she also worked as a house manager for various events at the Petaluma Arts Center and freelanced as a Genre Critic for Storybook Alley, an independent publishing company.

With GSGR, Lauren works alongside an incredible cast of dedicated workers and innovative thinkers. Her position as the Marketing and Event Associate bridges the gap between business and consumer, creating content that is inventive, educational, and accessible. Here, Lauren uses her dual passions for people and the written word to create something that is wholly unique to fit the client’s vision.

Savannah Johnson, Administrative Assistant

Savannah graduated with an associates degree in Global Studies with a focus on language. Further, she has completed courses on administration at Santa Rosa Junior College. Savannah accrued a strong background in both customer service and operations, where she developed organizational, attention to detail, and communication skills. She born and raised in Northern California

As the Administrative Assistant at Golden State Government Relations, Savannah oversees the daily operations and tasks necessary to maintain a well-organized and functional office space. She is just beginning her professional career and is excited to develop with a company that has such strong values and varied experiences that contribute to an amazing work environment. 

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