Californians Aware Executive Director Emily Francke has resigned her post to pursue a nursing degree at Columbia University. “She put her career interest in medicine on hold eight years ago to launch and administer CalAware, and the time to move on after giving it such a fine start has arrived,” said Terry Francke, her father and the organization’s general counsel. A number of the administrative and support functions she provided will for the time being be supplied as contract services or by volunteer members of the nonprofit, he said.
He added, “I know that CalAware members and directors are saddened as I am by the departure of such a capable person, but are also very happy that she will be doing something she has long wished for.
“Under her direction, CalAware has grown from a mere idea to a potent force in preserving and enhancing the rights of Californians to have an open and transparent government, a freely enquiring press, and a citizenry free to exchange facts and opinions without hesitation or hazard.
Emily has been solely responsible for CalAware’s excellent web site (https://calaware.org), its successful seminar and webinar series, and the impact of its audits of government compliance with public information laws.”
CalAware’s officers and directors—those most familiar with Francke’s work—added their best wishes as well.
“Emily, there are no words that could adequately express all our appreciation for the work you have done, the joy you have brought and the support you have provided to CalAware and (especially) to Terry. Thank you for your commitment and for your contributions to CalAware all these years. We will not be the same without you (and we will hold you responsible for that). Good luck in New York (and upon your return).”
– Dennis Winston, CalAware President and public interest litigator, Los Angeles
“It has been said that no one is irreplaceable, and as a rule, that is true. But there is always an exception to the rule and that exception is Emily Francke. Her dedication to CalAware, passion for open government, and ability to make everything work under all circumstances is immeasurable. We will miss her, but our loss will be the nursing profession’s gain.”
– Donna Frye, CalAware Vice-President and former member of the San Diego City Council (2001 – 2010)
“As CalAware faced voices of censorship, obstructionism and darkness all about, nurse anesthetist-to-be Emily Francke kept us all breathing and the organization alive and functioning. Her good spirits applied to all, including us old ink-stained wretches. Emily always had the right instincts, the right skills and the drive to help members as well as protect and nurture the organization.”
– Tim Crews, CalAware Secretary-Treasurer and editor and publisher of the twice weekly Sacramento Valley Mirror
“Emily has been the backbone of Californians Aware since its inception. CalAware’s accomplishments would not have been possible without her. While someone might follow in her footsteps, they could never fill her shoes.”
– Kelly Aviles, CalAware Vice-President for Open Government Compliance and attorney specializing governmental transparency, LaVerne
“Emily has been integral to helping pass some of the strongest open government laws in the country. While her departure from CalAware is a loss to all Californians, I am certain she will return to play an equally important role in our state by helping those in medical need.”
– Adam Keigwin, CalAware Director and Chief of Staff for California Senator Leland Yee (San Francisco)
“What a long strange trip it’s been and we are fortunate to have had Emily along for the ride. Her tenacity and ‘can do’ attitude made a real difference, no matter what the challenge. From audits of government agencies to monitoring the laws and the lawmakers who would destroy transparency for the sake of security or their own vested interests; Emily has been was a force for good. CalAware and by extension, the people of California, owe her a debt of gratitude.”
– J.W. August, Director and President Emeritus of CalAware, and managing editor for 10News with KGTV, San Diego
“The contribution that Emily Francke has made to open government in California cannot be overstated. Her attention to the necessary details of running an effective and vigilant watchdog group like CalAware has kept all of us in line and respectful of our common commitment and our differing perspectives. Emily now goes on to fulfill her professional goals knowing we will all miss her but wish her every success.”
– Julie Hayward Biggs, CalAware Director, and partner, Burke, Williams & Sorenson LLP
“Emily’s passion and commitment to open government and truth-telling is inspiring. I have found her simply dazzling to watch. Our loss will be a great gain to all those patients and practitioners who encounter her in her next professional life. Good luck, Emily! And please come home some day to California.”
– Marjie Lundstrom, CalAware Director and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist at the Sacramento Bee
“Terry passed along his zeal and enthusiasm to Emily, much to our benefit. Now her dream to become a medical professional means deferred years of further training, but she will breeze through that. We wish her every future success.”
– Dale Smith, CalAware Director and public relations consultant, Auburn