GQHC was formed on the premise that most government relations firms in California had little resemblance to the younger and increasingly diverse makeup of today’s policymakers.
GQHC is a unique, minority and woman owned bipartisan government relations firm headquartered in Sacramento with over 60 years of collective experience in California’s legislative and regulatory arenas. We are honored to represent a wide array of more than fifty clients, ranging from Fortune 500 companies, large and small trade associations, non-profit based organizations and local government interests. GQHC’s diverse and politically active clientele provide our firm broad-based access to almost every policymaker in California – regardless of their party affiliation or policy interests.
Will Gonzalez has over 15 years of legislative and political experience. In 2002 he established his firm, Gonzalez Public Affairs, which specializes in legislative advocacy on transportation, environmental, and energy issues and prides itself on its policy expertise and close bipartisan relationships. The firm has achieved significant legislative victories for its clients including securing millions in state transportation funding, helping pass sweeping renewable energy laws, and spearheading efforts to reform state procurement.
Prior to starting Gonzalez Public Affairs, Will Gonzalez served as legislative director to Assemblyman Darrell Steinberg who was recently elected as the Senate Pro Tem. As Legislative Director, Will helped secure over $180 million in state funding for CNG transit buses and for innovative air quality programs aimed at helping the Sacramento region meet its conformity requirements. Will also served as Consultant to the Assembly Labor Committee and the Native American Repatriation Select Committee.
Upon leaving the legislature, Mr. Gonzalez joined Ford Motor Company where he lobbied on behalf of the company and the Alliance of Automobile Manufactures in California and twelve other western states. Mr. Gonzalez is credited with securing state grants and tax incentives for electric and alternative fuel vehicles worth over $140 million. He provided political communications services to Ford in response to the Explorer-Firestone crises, the costliest vehicle recall in company history.
David Quintana’s professional history spans over 15 years in and around the Capitol. With extensive expertise in a wide range of issue areas, Mr. Quintana provides clients with strategy development, policy analysis, relationship-building, campaign consulting, and direct lobbying services. Mr. Quintana's reach extends into numerous sectors, including high-tech/social media, finance, energy, education, and gaming.
With a comprehensive understanding of both politics and policy, Mr. Quintana is able to adopt effective strategies to meet each client’s needs. The focus is not only on immediate results, but also on establishing lasting relationships to achieve the client’s long-term goals. Mr. Quintana is able to use his political knowledge and connections to deliver for each of his diverse clients, who cover a wide range of issues. Whenever there is a big fight brewing in the political arena, David Quintana is brought in to generate results.
In 2015, for the sixth year in a row, Capitol Weekly named Mr. Quintana one of the Capitol’s Top 100 "Major Players" in their annual list. In September of 2015, Mr. Quintana was a featured speaker on the Politics versus Policy Panel for the 2015 Health Care Conference. Mr. Quintana was also a featured speaker in October of 2012, for the Leadership California Institute’s Candidate Forum 2012, where he advised incoming legislative candidates on politics and lobbying as part of the Sacramento Decision Makers panel. In addition, Mr. Quintana was featured on Comcast NewsMakers in November of 2012 to discuss internet gambling in California. Local news organizations have frequently turned to Mr. Quintana for interviews, relying on his expertise in the political field. Local and national news sources have called upon Mr. Quintana for interviews for his opinions and his perspective on politics in California.
A veteran of lobbying and managing the state’s legislative and regulatory landscape, Delaney Hunter’s background includes more than 20 years of experience in political and governmental work in the state. Ms. Hunter is a leading expert in the energy arena with extensive experience working not only in the Legislature but also with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), California Energy Commission (CEC) and California Resources Board (CARB) and in the transit and transportation arena as well.
She began her political career in 1993 in the office of Senator Bill Leonard, staffing the Senator on energy and transportation related issues. She served as the sole Senate Republican staff to the historic conference committee on AB 1890 (Brulte) which restructured California’s energy industry and worked in concert with district staff on the completion of State Route 30 (now 210) and the completion of the Caltran’s District 8 headquarters in San Bernardino.
After five years with Leonard – spanning his time in the Senate and as Assembly Republican Leader – Ms. Hunter served as Legislative Director for the lobbying firm of Smith & Kempton/Smith, Kempton & Watts/Smith, Watts & Company (now known as Smith, Watts & Martinez, LLC). During her six year tenure with the firm she focused on energy, air quality, local government, transit and transportation related issues, working with over 20 different private sector and public agency clients and she assisted the firm’s clients with countless pieces of legislation ranging from transportation and transit funding to the fallout from California’s energy crisis.
In March 2005, she was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger as the Director, Office of Governmental Affairs for the California Public Utilities Commission. In this capacity she was responsible for managing the Commission’s legislative agenda and political negotiations on key policies relative to energy, telecommunications, water, rail safety and other transportation related issues. Here she gained strong knowledge of investor owned utility issues both on energy as well as water. She oversaw the confirmation process for four of the Commissioners and played a key role in budget negotiations for the agency during her tenure.
Prior to co-founding GQHC, Ms. Hunter also served as a Principal with the Dewey Square Group for three years, launching their California lobbying practice and helping to expand the energy practice.
Ms. Hunter currently serves as a member of the advisory board to the Institute for Advanced Technology and Public Policy at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and also on the board of California Women in Energy, a non-profit organization focused on providing career development, networking and educational opportunities for women professionals in energy.
Steve Cruz joined GQHC and has since helped establish the firm’s growth into one of California’s top lobbying firms. He brings more than 20 years of legislative and political experience having worked on behalf of a multitude of interests, both public and private, before the California State Legislature and various state agencies. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies, national retailers, homebuilders, local governments, renewable energy firms, professional trade associations and non-profits.
Mr. Cruz possesses a broad range of policy experience and is well respected in the Capitol for his advocacy work in the areas of local government, infrastructure, housing, construction, land use, water and environmental resources. He currently represents one of the largest public water agencies in California and possesses deep understanding of California water law and politics. For nearly a decade, Mr. Cruz has advocated for the homebuilding industry and previously served as an in-house lobbyist for the California Building Industry Association. In this capacity, he successfully represents California homebuilders on array of land use and housing policy. Mr. Cruz also owned and operated a real estate development company where he successfully managed a number of housing development projects through the entitlements and construction process. Through these endeavors, Mr. Cruz has developed a keen understanding for how business interacts with government and public policy.
Before his lobbying career, Mr. Cruz worked in the administration of Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr., where he served as the Chief State Legislative Advocate for the City and County of San Francisco. He advanced an ambitious legislative and regulatory agenda and utilized his vast knowledge of policymaking and state budget process to secure state funding for vital programs and services.
Mr. Cruz began his career in the California State Legislature with the Honorable Hilda L. Solis, a former State Senator and U.S. Labor Secretary. In this role, he advised the Senator on critical public policy matters in the areas of labor and employment, education and public safety.
Viviana Becerra is a Legislative Advocate at Gonzalez, Quintana, Hunter & Cruz, LLC and assists the firm’s clientele with a special focus on tribal gaming and finance issues.
Before joining the firm, Viviana was selected as a Senate Fellow in the office of Senator Loni Hancock. As a Senate Fellow, she staffed multiple bills including SB 1300 which established the nation’s strongest refinery inspection program. Viviana also worked on issues including labor, elections and constitutional amendments, housing, insurance, governance and finance, and local government.
Viviana graduated with honors from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, with an emphasis in American Politics, and a minor in English. As an undergraduate student, she interned for the Sierra Club in Washington, D.C. There she worked on their Beyond Oil Campaign, which aims to transition America from using oil-based fuels to smart transportation systems, clean cars, and clean, renewable energy. While in Santa Barbara, Viviana also interned with Congresswoman Lois Capps, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, and Assemblyman Das Williams during their 2012 re-election campaigns.
Prior to joining GQHC, Melanie served as legislative aide to offices of Assemblyman David Hadley and Senator Steve Knight. She staffed an array of bills, committees, and policy areas, including the Governor’s Military Council, aerospace and military defense, veterans’ affairs, public safety, aging and long-term care, arts and entertainment, and natural resources. While at the Capitol, Melanie was also instrumental in orchestrating California Aerospace Week for three years and was responsible for implementing a STEM education program in K12 schools throughout the Antelope Valley via the Microsoft Corporation.
Prior to working in the Capitol, Melanie worked in the media industry for six years and served as editor to Dandelion Magazine, which caters to families living with special needs. Dandelion won a prestigious PMA award for Overall Writing during Melanie’s tenure with the magazine. There her responsibilities ran the gamut, including social media, website design and maintenance, in addition to assisting with the publisher’s various outlets and orchestrating the signature annual community event.
Melanie graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in journalism and marketing. She worked on the school newspaper and news website as a staff writer and multimedia producer and was a member of the co-ed cheerleading team. She also spent several seasons volunteering as a coach for a youth cheerleading squad and then served as head coach of teams at the high school and competition level. Melanie spent four years cheering professionally, including two years with the Oakland Raiderettes, an internationally recognized public relations team, where she had the opportunity to participate in charity events, workshops, and media appearances on the local, national, and international level.
Matt Klopfenstein is the Legislative and Legal Advisor at Gonzalez, Quintana, Hunter & Cruz, LLC. As a registered lobbyist, he assists the GQHC team on issues regarding energy, water, transportation, high-tech, and local government. He actively tracks legislation and regulatory proceedings and advocates on behalf of GQHC's clients.
Before joining GQHC, Mr. Klopfenstein worked as a law clerk representing local government agencies. He also managed the successful campaign of a candidate running for a position on the El Dorado Union High School District Board. He formerly interned for a Superior Court Judge in Solano County and is active in Sacramento’s legal community. He obtained a J.D. degree and the Capitol Certificate in Public Law & Policy from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, where he graduated Order of the Coif with great distinction. He received a B.A. degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara where he majored in English and was President of his fraternity, Alpha Tau Omega.
Audrey Durfor is a Legislative Advocate at Gonzalez, Quintana, Hunter & Cruz, LLC. In this role, she focuses on local government, transportation, and water related issues. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Sacramento State University with a degree in Political Science and minor in Sociology. The focus of her studies included political theory, public policy, constitutional law, and legislative processes. While at the University, she was President of the Student Mentoring Program and served as an Orientation Leader and member of the Delta Epsilon Iota Honor Society.
During her studies, Audrey also completed the Sacramento Semester Program, where she interned for Assemblyman Jeff Gorell. Through this internship, Audrey drafted fact sheets for the Assembly Member’s bills, researched legislative information, and fulfilled other administrative responsibilities. Audrey is currently in the Government Master’s Program at Sacramento State with a continued focus on California politics, and she will graduate in 2016.
Stacey Brenner brings more than 15 years of political, land use, and campaign experience. Stacey is the Director of the Southern California office. With her experience, Stacey learned that the development process, the environment and the political angle are delicately intertwined.
She began her career working for private engineering and architecture firms on CEQA documents for government clients. During this time, she was hired to serve as the San Fernando Valley CEQA project manager of new construction for LAUSD schools; performed water and soil sampling; traveled the country to "showcase" CEQA to states with similar policies; and earned her 40 hour Hazwopper certificate in order to have clearance on Super Fund sites. She has authored more than 15 environmental and CEQA related documents, ranging from Desalination EIRs, Caltrans PSAs, and Phase I reports. Stacey has also served as Project Manager for developers, where she assembled project specifics and worked closely with the development team. Under her direction, Stacey successfully built 10 shopping centers and managed 18 at various construction, entitlement and design stages.
At the time Stacey desired a return to politics, she had a fortuitous encounter, where she was able to jump back into politics, assuming the position of Campaign Manager for Assemblyman Mike Gatto. Stacey assumed the position of District Director for the Assemblyman, until recently, when she returned back to her land use roots.
Stacey offers her land use and development expertise, political and campaign know-how, and government understanding to our clients.
With over four years of experience working in the state legislative and regulatory processes and two years’ experience in the legal field, Luis Carmona joined Gonzalez, Quintana, Hunter & Cruz, LLC at the beginning of 2014.
Luis initially started working in state government through a work-study program in Sacramento and was assigned to work at one of the lobbying firms in Sacramento. Luis was then asked to continue working with the firm at the termination of the program and worked on many issues including water, agriculture, pest control, energy, local government, and wine.
At Gonzalez, Quintana, Hunter & Cruz, Luis helps maintain the client based website and sends out both bi-monthly and weekly reports. Luis also performs various legislative and administrative duties to help the firm better serve their clients.
Currently, Luis focuses his time pursuing a Political Science degree at California State University, Sacramento. Luis spends his free time actively volunteering in Sacramento based youth groups and mentoring teens with interests in the regulatory world.
GQHC utilizes a distinctive, team-driven philosophy in which every team member understands the needs of each client and can utilize their own unique relationships to achieve our clients’ goals. This approach allows the GQHC team to draw on their diverse policy and bipartisan backgrounds to achieve success for those we represent in and around California. Our clients can attest GQHC is strategic and innovative in our approach – and we tell our clients what they need to hear, not just what they want to hear.
LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACYUtilizing experience, relationships, and knowledge of the process, we advocate on behalf our clientele directly with members of the Legislature and the Administration. We actively monitor and research legislation in the context of existing laws and regulations in order to identify and track issues that impact our clients. In addition, we provide clients with comprehensive legislative drafting services including writing of new legislation or amending pending bills. In order to effectively educate legislators and key decision-makers, we draft well-crafted campaign communications, including position papers summarizing the client’s position as well as any testimony to be presented before legislative bodies. Lastly, we advise clients on any occurrences or trends that are likely to result in legislative activity in order to develop long-term strategies.
POLITICAL CONSULTINGGQHC is highly skilled at advising clients on how best to engage in the political realm. Our partners have a wide network of consultants – campaign consultants, fundraisers, direct mail houses, media specialists – and the knowledge to assemble the right team and the right strategy for any type of political activity our clients need.
STRATEGIC COUNSELDeveloping a strategy – whether legislative, administrative or regulatory – is job one in policymaking and in politics. Sometimes a strategy might be as simple as who to talk to first, when to engage or who might be the best to convey a message but it also involves developing the tenor of outreach, determining the appropriateness of coalitions and analyzing every angle of a situation to determine a clear path forward. Bottom line – strategy matters. And there is no firm better to develop that strategy than GQHC.
REGULATORY ADVOCACYAT GQHC we are keenly aware that policy making doesn’t end with the signing of a bill and that how policy is implemented by state agencies is just as critical to the success of our clients. Tapping into our deep knowledge of specific policy areas – energy, water, land use, financial services to name a few – we work within a wide range of state regulatory processes to advocate on behalf of our clients. We directly monitor and track proceedings of interest and engage as necessary and appropriate within those proceedings to ensure our client’s the maximum level of success.
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Sacramento, CA 95814