Mike Herald, Western Center’s Director of Policy Advocacy, has been a leading advocate for poor families and individuals for more than 20 years. A nationally recognized and honored expert on public benefits and state budget matters, Mike is the advocacy voice for California’s poor in the state’s annual budget negotiations. He is widely quoted in national and regional press and frequently appears on television and radio news programs, when poverty issues emerge. Increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, eliminating the ban on public benefits for persons with felony convictions, restoring driver’s licenses for 150,000 Californians, and increasing CalWORKs and SSI grants for California’s poorest residents are among the policy victories Mike has helped secure. Prior to joining Western Center in 2003, Mike served as the Executive Director of Housing California, the statewide coalition of affordable housing advocates and as the Deputy Director for Legislative and External Affairs at the CA Department of Housing and Community Development. Mike is a lawyer and a native Californian, whose passion for justice permeates his life. He also serves as a mentor for the Women’s Policy Institute and as a board member for Friends Outside, which helps incarcerated individuals and their families and children.