Jim Cunneen


“It's hard to pinpoint the key to Jim Cunneen's success as head of the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce. Was it his combination of experience in industry and the Legislature? His ability to see beyond narrow business interests to the good of the community? His knack for raising money and charming businesses into joining the group, which had been in lengthy decline when he took over in 2001? Yes. Yes. Yes. And more.” - San Jose Mercury Editorial, June 5, 2005, Silicon Valley

Jim Cunneen pairs his executive leadership at two Fortune 500 companies and the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce with his service in the California legislature to provide political, regulatory and public affairs counsel to California Strategies’ clients. His voice and influence have led to some of the most significant public policy advancements in the Silicon Valley.

Jim Cunneen joined California Strategies in 2007 to oversee the firm’s office in Silicon Valley, the region where he grew up and later represented in the legislature. Since joining California Strategies, Cunneen’s connectedness to Silicon Valley issues and leadership has been utilized by clients seeking:

  • Government affairs consulting
  • Business incentive and tax policy advice
  • Environmental and regulatory compliance issues
  • Renewable energy and improved energy efficiency standards
  • Strategic communication plans
  • Business development and government procurement
  • Health care facility policy
  • Non-profit and education policy
  • Corporate relocations
  • Major real estate and land use policy approvals.

His deep roots in the region extend from his service at Cisco, where he oversaw U.S. state public policy, communication and political outreach, and Applied Materials, Inc., where he managed executive and employee communications, philanthropy and government affairs functions.

He has served on dozens of local non-profit and community boards, including the American Leadership Forum, Goodwill Silicon Valley, Commonwealth Club Silicon Valley Advisory Committee, Sustainable Valley Foundation, San Jose Police Foundation, Good Samaritan Hospital, and the Advisory Board of KB Home.

As President and CEO of the 2,000-member San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce from 2001 to 2005, Cunneen helped guide many of the region’s public policy and economic development efforts. His administration helped architect campaigns to modernize San Jose Mineta International Airport, expanding the San Jose McEnery Convention Center and pass numerous education, public safety, and transportation ballot measures. While at the Chamber, Cunneen also created a number of innovative programs, including San Jose’s popular CityTrip, an annual journey of top business and political leaders to major urban centers with the aim of benchmarking approaches and solutions to major urban challenges. The Chamber’s political, membership and financial positions increased substantially under Cunneen’s leadership.

Cunneen served as a California State Assemblyman from 1994 to 2000, establishing himself as an authority on technology and quality-of-life issues. He won the approval of legislation to expand the state research and development tax credit, curb shareholder lawsuits, crackdown on commercial theft of high-tech products, and protect trade secrets. In 1995, Cunneen co-created and later chaired the newly established Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Information Technology and Transportation. He also served as vice-chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Resources where he was considered a key player in balancing environmental protection and a strong economy. The Mercury News described Assemblymember Cunneen as “…an intelligent, energetic and effective legislator.”

Cunneen began his political and government career in the 1980s serving in senior positions with former Congressman Tom Campbell, former State Senator Becky Morgan, and former Congressman Ed Zschau. He is also the co-founder and former chair of the Silicon Valley Coalition for Jobs Now, a group that focused on improving the area’s economic competitiveness. He also served as a charter mayoral appointee to the Coyote Valley Specific Plan Task Force, a major regional land-use issue.

He has received numerous leadership awards from the American Electronics Association and a wide range of education and environmental groups and was named Citizen of the Year by both the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America.

Cunneen and his wife, Jennifer, have two children and live in San Jose’s Almaden Valley. He is an Eagle Scout and a graduate of UCLA.

Strategic Consulting for Emerging Business Ventures
Public Affairs Strategic Management
Land Use Entitlement and Development Strategies
Strategic Communications and Media Relations


Federal State & Local Government
Public Private Partnerships
Real Estate & Land Use
Strategic Communications
Technology & Innovation
Career Highlights
California State Assemblyman from 1994-2000
President and CEO of the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce
Executive at two of Silicon Valley's most respected Fortune 500 Companies
Served on Legislative Committees including, Education, Insurance, Budget and Public Safety

Contact Jim Cunneen

Former Assemblymember Jim Cunneen from California Strategies, LLC provides strategic insight on how to modify the recall process in California
Both Democrats and Republicans on Thursday said they are open to tweaking California’s 108-year-old recall laws, but they’re far from consensus on what those changes should look like. Lawmakers gathered...
California Strategies Jim Cunneen writes an Opinion-Editorial in today's San Jose Mercury News
California Strategies Jim Cunneen writes an Opinion-Editorial in today’s San Jose Mercury News explaining why voting by mail is safe and secure in California. Read more.