Capitol BuildingWelcome to the Office of Public Affairs and Advocacy. The office serves as the official voice of Sacramento State with community and government agencies at the local, state, and federal levels.  Our mission is to promote the University and cultivate public support for it and its students. 

The Office of Public Affairs and Advocacy shares examples of academic excellence and student success, as well as university priorities with government officials in order to advance the mission of the University.  The Advocacy team actively engages in efforts to secure resources and support for the University – from California's capital to the nation's capital. Many of our activities are shared on our Twitter, so make sure you follow us to stay abreast of the University’s happenings.

In addition, Public Affairs and Advocacy plays a key part in fostering Sacramento State’s institutional role as a leading convener of educators, policy makers, and civic and thought leaders who address topical issues that impact our society, economy, and democracy.

Phil Garcia, Vice President of Public Affairs and Advocacy, is responsible for facilitating the launch of Sacramento State’s new presence in downtown Sacramento at a three-story building at 304 S Street. The mission of Sacramento State Downtown is to be a “hub for innovation, teaching, learning, and research.”  Beginning in fall 2018, the facility will be home to a variety of graduate classes, research centers, and community events.  In addition, Vice President Garcia oversees the nationally recognized Center for California Studies, which operates the nationally renowned Capital Fellows Programs, and bridges academia and government in the service of strengthening California’s democracy.

Advocacy in Action

The Office of Public Affairs and Advocacy manages and fosters relationships with governmental agencies and elected officials while facilitating many of Sacramento State’s community engagement efforts.  The Office works to build civic partnerships that further the development of Sacramento State, the regional economy, and workforce.

Our responsibilities include:

  • Working with members of the Sacramento-area legislative and congressional delegations to secure state and federal funding that will benefit the University and its students
  • Forging civic and community partnerships to advance the development of both Sacramento State and the capital region
  • Collaborating with the CSU's Office of Advocacy and State Relations, as well as the CSU Office of Federal Relations, on budget, legislative, and policy issues

Recent Achievements

In the past year, the Office of Public Affairs and Advocacy has:

  • Led the University effort to establish Sacramento State Downtown
  • Served a campus liaison to Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s Economic Future Working Group and Technology Council
  • Secured testimony by campus leadership and faculty at the Assembly Budget Committee, Select Committee on Student Success, and the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee
  • Conducted over twenty meetings at the state capital regarding state budget and legislative issues
  • Hosted the State Legislature’s bi-partisan Millennial Caucus for a town hall on campus
  • Facilitated a roundtable with Congresswoman Doris Matsui and student-veterans
  • Aided congressional and state legislative offices in hosting campus events on topics that range from the future of DACA to college affordability
  • Conveyed the importance and success of the University’s Graduation Initiative to a wide variety of stakeholders
  • Worked with Sacramento County to ensure the University can host a Vote Center in the 2018 election


Public Affairs and Advocacy Staff

Phil Garcia Vice President for Public Affairs and Advocacy (916) 278-8758
Judi Brenner Executive Assistant (916) 278-8758
Nathan Dietrich Director of State and Federal Relations (916) 278-3725
Teresa Lerma-Garcia Administrative Coordinator (916) 278-4303
Public Affairs Main Office (916) 278-8758
Phil Garcia

Phil Garcia, Vice President for Public Affairs and Advocacy

Phil Garcia came to Sacramento State in 2004, when he established the Office of Governmental and Civic Affairs and served as its executive director. With the creation of the Office of Public Affairs and Advocacy in 2010, he became its vice president.

Prior to his arrival at Sacramento State, Garcia was communications director for then-Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante and deputy executive director of the State Board of Education. Earlier in his career, he was a journalist, working at the Arizona Daily Star, the San Diego Union and in the Washington, D.C., bureau of United Press International. His last newspaper job was with the Sacramento Bee, where he was a reporter and editor.

Garcia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Kansas. He is a former Congressional Fellow for the American Political Science Association.

Nathan DietrichNathan Dietrich, Director of State and Federal Relations

Nathan Dietrich has served as the Director of State and Federal Relations at California State University, Sacramento since October 2015. In that position, he seeks out opportunities for Sacramento State students and faculty to be engaged with state and federal agencies and identify possible funding sources.  He also is responsible for the University’s budget and legislative advocacy efforts in Sacramento and Washington, DC.

Prior to his time at Sacramento State, Mr. Dietrich served as Congresswoman Doris Matsui’s district director for over eight years.  In that role he worked with constituents, community organizations, and elected officials in order to ensure their concerns were addressed by the federal government, and that they were informed of the Congresswoman’s legislative initiatives, which included flood protection and transportation priorities.  He also was responsible for overseeing Congresswoman Matsui’s Sacramento staff and for coordinating the Congresswoman’s district activities. 

Mr. Dietrich is a graduate of UC Davis and earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. 

Judi BrennerJudi Brenner, Executive Assistant

Judi Brenner is a Sacramento native and a proud graduate of Sacramento State.  After many years of working as a personal assistant, she returned to school as a first-generation student and received her degree from the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences with a concentration in Family Studies.  She was hired by the department soon after and worked first as Instructional Support Assistant, then as an Administrative Support Coordinator.  In 2015, after nine years in the department, she joined Public Affairs and Advocacy as the Executive Assistant to Vice President Phil Garcia.