Holden Appoints A New Chief Of Staff

Willie Armstrong, a former chief of staff for two Assembly members as well as a member of former President Obama’s diplomatic team, has been named chief of staff for Assembly Member Chris Holden. Courtesy photo

Assembly Member Chris Holden has named a new chief of staff.

Holden, whose 41st District includes South Pasadena, has hired Willie Armstrong for the top position, to replace the retiring Robbin Lewis-Coaxum.

Lewis-Coaxum had served in the role since Holden’s election in 2012. She is retiring after nearly 40 years in the State Assembly in various capacities.

“I am thrilled to welcome Willie Armstrong to my team,” Holden said in a news release. “His impressive professional and educational background combined with a strong commitment to public service makes him an exceptional fit for my office.”

Armstrong served 10 years in the U.S. Air Force before pursing his career in public policy in California. After Armstrong served as chief of staff for Assembly Member Anna Caballero and Assembly Member Nora Campos, then-Gov. Jerry Brown appointed him as Undersecretary for State and Consumer Services Agency in 2011.

In 2014, President Obama appointed Armstrong as a U.S. diplomat, working as a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Accra, Ghana. He also served on the Yemen Task Force, where he helped evacuate Americans out of Yemen. Prior to his arrival to Holden’s office, he was the Legislative Services Bureau Director for California Franchise Tax Board.

Armstrong also holds multiple degrees, including a Doctor of Education from California State University of Sacramento, a Master in Public Administration from Harvard, a Master in Administration Management from Bowie State University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maryland University College. He is originally from New Madrid, Mo.

Lewis-Coaxum spent nearly 40 years with the California State Assembly as a chief consultant, chief of staff, legislative director and program director for the Assembly Fellowship Program. She started her career as an intern for Gov. Brown during his first term in 1975. She also served on the board for the Bob Moretti Scholarship Foundation and Leadership California.

“Robbin’s leadership and expertise made a positive impact not just to my office, but also to the thousands of people she worked with in the Capitol Building, including hundreds of Assembly Fellows who are now serving the public,” said Holden. “We will certainly miss her incite, knowledge, and expertise.”