Longtime local Bonnie Reiss, 62, died of cancer at her home in Malibu on Monday, April 3, according to the Schwarzenegger Institute at USC. Reiss is known for being a key advisor to former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Back in 2006, she spoke to Anthony York for Capitol Weekly about deciding to work with Schwarzenegger.
“I thought because of his fame, because he’s not obligated to the party or party politics, there’s an opportunity to maybe be something kind of different. I also know that throughout history, anyone who’s tried to buck the norm and be something different, the resistance is huge. And I thought, I want to be a part of that,” she said.
She helped build his team, from the communications director to the chief of staff, prior to leaving and moving back to Malibu.
That same year, she received a Dolphin Award for a number of accolades, including playing a pivotal role in negotiations for AB 32—the California Global Warming Solutions Act.
She was appointed as a UC Regent in 2008 and was known for her work to combat sexual harassment and assault, according to a statement from the UC Office of the President.
In a statement on the Schwarzenegger Institute website, the former governor said: “Bonnie Reiss was a true treasure to California, the United States, the world, and everyone she has ever met. For the past year, she has bravely fought cancer, just as she fought for equality and justice, students and the environment, and every other important issue you can imagine throughout her life of public service.”
Former Malibu Mayor Pamela Conley Ulich posted online about Reiss, calling her a “dear friend.”
“In a world of much talk, Bonnie walked the walk and did so much every day of her life to make our world better,” Conley Ulich wrote.
USC’s Price School of Public Policy created The Bonnie Reiss Scholarship to honor her memory.