SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California has appointed a new director of its Employment Development Department.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday announced that Nancy Farias — the current Chief Deputy Director of external affairs, legislation and policy — would take over duties as the head of EDD as of February 1. Farias, 49, of Sacramento, will take over the role from Rita Saenz, who has served as director since 2020.

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“I am proud of the many reforms and new programs EDD put in place during the last year, and Nancy Farias has the energy and direct experience to keep this positive momentum going,” Saenz said Friday. “I was proud to have this opportunity to work with a team of committed and caring people. I was privileged to work directly with Nancy Farias during this important time of transformation at EDD and am thrilled that the Governor is taking action to continue that positive momentum with Nancy’s appointment as Director.”

Farias has served in her current Chief Deputy Director role with EDD since 2020. From 2017-2020, she was director of government relations at SEIU Local 1000. Before that, she served in various other high-ranking roles including positions at the California Department of Human Resources, Government Operations Agency and the Office of Senator Henry Stern.

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Farias, a Democrat, has a Master’s degree in political science and a Juris Doctor degree from Suffolk University Law School. Newsom said the compensation for her new role as director is $204,613.

“Nancy Farias has played an invaluable role in the Department’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the state’s unemployment system and implement improvements to better support hardworking Californians when they need it most. I look forward to her partnership in this all-important work to help California’s families, businesses and communities continue to recover and thrive,” Newsom said.

Newsom also announced that Saenz would resume her role as commissioner on the California Commission on Aging.

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“Director Saenz took the helm at EDD at a critical juncture of the pandemic, bringing her decades of experience in the public and private sectors to tackle the unprecedented challenges facing our state and nation,” Newsom said. “With her steadfast leadership and dedication to public service, Director Saenz spearheaded important reforms at the Department to better serve working Californians, prevent fraud and hold bad actors to account. On behalf of all Californians, I thank her for taking on this vital role and for continuing to serve the people of our state as part of the Administration.”