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Lance Christensen

Lance Christensen

Sacramento, California

Title: Chief of Staff

Company: California State Senator John Moorlach



School of Public Policy Class of 2004

MPP, Public Policy

How has your Pepperdine experience impacted your personal and professional success?

I left Pepperdine with knowledge and tools to engage and impact the most challenging public policy issues in the United States for the good, doing it from my perch under the capitol's cupola in Sacramento. In all humility, I believe that I have become a respected ambassador of the school and a highly respected and sought-after thought leader and speaker. My time at Pepperdine also reminded me of my responsibility in Paul's declaration to the Romans, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."

Describe a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career:

Knowing that my adopted state of California needed help, I was recruited from my dream job back to the state legislature making the proverbial statutory sausage. Nonetheless, I consider it an honor of a lifetime to work as a Chief of Staff, to State Senator John Moorlach, the man who saved Orange County from the largest bankruptcy in the nation's history (until that point). I have been blessed to be a trusted confidant, a manager, and a leader at the forefront in the many debates on the state's $265 billion budget, transportation issues, pension reform, and religious liberty.

Who or what inspires you? Tell us why.

My faith, family, and friends inspire me. I am a husband and father, a lay bishop and disciple of Jesus Christ, a policy wonk and a legislative chief of staff -- all so I can conserve a free society as my children discover America -- in all its richness, glory, difficulty and challenges -- for themselves. Pepperdine's School of Public Policy helped me understand my avocation and how it applies to 2 Corinthians 3:17; "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."

Are you where you thought you would be in life when you were in college?

I am pretty much where I thought that I would be in college -- married, with 5 kids living in my own home, with a great job, and wonderful neighbors in California. It doesn't get much better than that.

In five words or fewer, what career or life advice would you give a new college graduate?

Go big or go home!

What profession other than your own would you have liked to attempt?

I aspire to teach at the college or the university, using all the insight I've had as a policy wonk to train the next generation or two about effective policy craft while preserving liberty.

What three things could you not live without?

My wife, Oreo cookies, Brian Wilson's music.

How do you unplug?

I mow the lawn to unplug.

Is there a particular quote, mantra, or philosophy that motivates you?

I love what Joseph Smith said. "I teach [people] correct principles, and they govern themselves." He also wrote, "Men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward."

What would your autobiography or memoir be called?

Riding the Whale; Lance's Journey to Nineveh (California) in the Belly of the Beast

What's one idea you think could change the world?

I've very recently rediscovered the prescient aphorism that, in a time of serious need, we need to light a candle rather than simply shout in the dark. At a minimum, light drives out darkness and leads to clarity and understanding.

What's next for you professionally?

While I have promised to dedicate my time, efforts and resources to the Lord in any capacity that he has in store for me, I intend on being loyal to the statesman I work for in the State Senate, coordinating his legislative and policy agenda while he is in elected office. When that ends in the next few years, I plan on taking the institutional knowledge that I have honed as a public policy graduate, think tank project director, and Chief of Staff to educate the people of California on the wisdom of free-market reforms to inspire prosperity for generations to come. How I may do that remains to be seen.