Jim Lites has over 30 years of experience in government, consulting, and association management.
As a long-time legislative advocate, Jim has experience in various policy arenas including transportation, public transit, tax policy, privacy, housing policy, wireless telecommunications, aviation, passenger rail, public pension policy, mortgage insurance, local government and cargo and goods movement. Jim also engages in the state budget and works regularly with various clients to achieve budget-related goals. Jim currently serves on the Technical Advisory Committee for the San Bernardino International Airport and has previous service on the California Maritime Security Council, the California Freight Advisory Committee and the Advisory Board of Reviver Auto, a California technology start-up company.
In 2009, Jim was selected to serve as the Executive Director of the newly formed California Airports Council (CAC), representing the 31 California commercial airports. The CAC educates policymakers on California commercial aviation and issues that impact airport finance and operations. Over the last 10 years, Jim has helped build the CAC into the respected voice for California’s commercial airports and received the Wanamaker Award for his impact on the aviation industry in 2013.
Jim began his public service in the Senate Fellowship Program in 1989, assigned to the Senate Budget Committee. He later served in the State Assembly in various positions including: Chief Consultant to the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation, Chief of Staff to Assembly Member Marguerite Archie-Hudson and Senior Consultant for tax policy, economic development and international trade to Assembly Speaker Cruz Bustamante. Finally, Jim served as Chief of Staff to Speaker Emeritus Bustamante. Before joining California Strategies, Jim was a Partner in the public policy advocacy firm of Schott & Lites from 1999 to 2015.
Jim volunteered to represent his Arden Park Neighborhood Association pro-bono and played a key role in updating California state law with the enactment of AB 394 in 2005. This bill deleted unenforceable racial and religious residency restrictions that still appeared within CC&Rs for older housing developments.
In his community, Jim volunteered as President of the Board of Directors for the Arden Park Dolphins Swim Team from 2004-2007 and Head Coach of the Arden Park Shooting Stars girls youth soccer team from 2001 through 2010. In 2013, Jim was appointed to a vacancy on the Board of Directors of the Arden Park Recreation and Park District serving from 2013 through 2020 and as Board Chairman in 2015-16.
Jim served on the Undergraduate Student Association Council as the elected Academic Affairs Commissioner at University of California Los Angeles in 1987 and earned his a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UCLA in 1988. After completing the California State Senate Fellowship, Jim studied international political economy at the Universidad de Belgrano in Argentina in 1990 and is fluent in Spanish. Jim completed his Master’s degree in International Affairs at California State University, Sacramento in 1995.
Jim’s hobbies include international travel, photography, acid jazz & tropical aquariums. Jim was born in Pasadena, California and currently resides in Sacramento with his wife and has three adult daughters.