Newsom appoints Richard “Fig” Figueroa acting director of DHCS

Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Richard “Fig” Figueroa to be the acting director of DHCS.  He takes over in the interim from Jennifer Kent, who announced her resignation last week.

The news came late this afternoon in a release from Newsom’s office.


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Richard Figueroa Jr., 60, of Sacramento, has been appointed acting director of the California Department of Health Care Services. He has served as deputy cabinet secretary in the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom since 2019. Figueroa was director of prevention for The California Endowment from 2010 to 2018. He served as deputy cabinet secretary and health care advisor in the Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger from 2006 to 2010, legislative director in the Office of California State Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi from 2003 to 2006 and deputy legislative secretary in the Office of Governor Gray Davis from 1999 to 2003. Figueroa was principal consultant at the California State Senate Insurance Committee from 1996 to 1999. He was deputy director of eligibility and enrollment at the California Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board from 1990 to 1996, senior consultant at the State Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee from 1986 to 1990 and a program analyst at the California Legislative Analyst’s Office from 1983 to 1986. Figueroa earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $215,124. Figueroa is a Democrat.

Fig is well liked and well respected in Sacramento. He has been in and out of government service for some time.

When Gov. Newsom added him as deputy cabinet secretary early in the administration, one prominent legislative insider told me “If anyone can figure out how to build a single-payer model in California, with all of the politics and all of the fiscal realities there, it would be Fig.”